Director of Global Business Information
Invacare speeds the monthly close with SAS® Financial Management
The Ohio-based leader in the manufacture and distribution of home and long-term care medical products has grown through acquisition – gradually increasing its footprint to cover 80 countries around the world. Rolling up all the monthly financial data was a challenge – until Invacare chose SAS® Financial Management. Within nine months of implementation, the company had recouped its investment. Today, finance staffers are free to analyze data – rather than scramble to compile it.
With $1.7 billion in revenue, Invacare is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of products such as motorized wheelchairs and oxygen supplies. As the publicly traded company grew through acquisition, it ended up with 34 separate ERP systems. "The month-end close for us was extremely laborious,'' explains Greg Rossiter, Director of Global Business Information. "There were a lot of late-night crisis phone calls and emergency emails.''
For us, the best part of SAS is the flexibility and the capability. It meets our needs and helps us go where we want to go. SAS Professional Services expertise and professionals contributed to the success of the project.
Choosing SAS Financial Management
SAS Financial Management provides a comprehensive solution for enterprise planning, budgeting, consolidation and reporting. Prior to selecting SAS, Invacare officials say 100 or more spreadsheets were emailed from all four corners of the globe in the last four days of the month. "Lots of phone calls, ad hoc spreadsheets, just very crazy communication,'' says Chief Information Officer David Mewes. Sometimes sets of numbers conflicted with each other, and errors could creep in. There was also lag because of the need to sync up reports.
Invacare evaluated three solutions. “We particularly like how SAS combines consolidation, reporting, budgeting and planning in one product. Its integration with our business systems is superior. And, the price is competitive,” Mewes says. “It wasn’t just the product,’’ notes Rossiter, “but the approach of the SAS team. We really enjoyed working with them.”
Gaining value from SAS
The monthly close of business is much smoother these days, notes Rossiter. But more importantly, finance staffers are spending more than half their time analyzing the results rather than the previous approach that involved spending 80 percent of their time simply scrambling to collect data. "It has absolutely cut down on errors, missed keystrokes, things like that,'' notes Mewes. And it has made financial data much more transparent to those in the company that need to see it. "We make a change once and everybody sees the result at the same time,'' Rossiter explains. "It's much more trustworthy.''
In addition, Rossiter and Mewes were pleased that it only took about nine months to realize a return on the company’s investment. “That is unusual for the sort of software investments we make in that they tend to take a lot longer to return our investment,’’ Rossiter says. “Some of our IT people think this is the fastest payback of any solution we’ve installed."
"For us, the best part of SAS is the flexibility and the capability. It meets our needs and helps us go where we want to go. We still haven't tapped all of the value that's in SAS," Rossiter notes.
Impressed with SAS Financial Management, the company chose SAS to provide a global master data management (MDM) solution. With more than 830,000 active items in its separate ERP systems, Invacare wants to better understand what is available to sell in various global markets. In some cases, the data on identical products is duplicated in several ERP systems around the world – and classified in unique ways with different terminology. This can lead to confusion and countless hours of redundant analysis.
MDM and material data classification technology are being used to drive the first phase of Invacare's MDM project. The company plans to create a master product data hub by integrating disparate product data from its 34 ERP systems, de-duplicating and standardizing data classifications – and enhancing the data around its vast product set.
"We selected SAS based on the quality and capabilities of the technology, but the most important advantage we've realized thus far is the incredible experience of working with the SAS team,'' explains Rossiter. By improving and integrating its ERP systems, the global finance team using SAS Financial Management will have access to more granular reporting than what is currently available.