“It is a flexible, robust, and deployable tool that requires little training effort.”
- Eugenio Pauperio, Chief Information Officer
When businesses grow and prosper, financial systems need to grow with them. For Cimpor, a large cement manufacturing and marketing group based in Portugal, a series of global acquisitions meant that it outgrew its fragmented, spreadsheet-based budgeting and planning system. Migrating to Quantrix Modeler offered the company the flexibility and integration it needed to centralize and control its growing business.
Cimpor is a public company that operates in three continents and eight countries: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Egypt, and South Africa. With 75 companies in Portugal and 44 companies in other locations, Cimpor manufactures and markets cement, hydraulic lime, concrete and aggregates, precast concrete, and dry mortars with an installed capacity of 24 million tons per year.
The company has been growing rapidly, in part due to multiple acquisitions. While its financial budgeting and planning systems are not extremely complex, the process of integrating all of the reports, systems and information from multiple divisions in multiple countries was fragmented and difficult to control. The company wanted to become more flexible, to be able to adjust more rapidly to market conditions in a diversity of cultures and currencies, and to centralize control over its various divisions and business units. One of Cimpor’s corporate objectives was to develop a central services company to help the company better manage its acquisitions, centralize services, and position the company to take advantage of its size and strength to compete for new business. Consolidating its financial systems was an important part of that process.
Cimpor uses SAP as a global accounting solution for its transactional needs, but relied upon spreadsheets for budgeting and planning. “SAP’s ERP product is a perfect match for our transactional needs and for our strategy of centralization of our data center in Lisbon,” says Eugenio Pauperio, the CIO of Cimpor. “But when it comes to budgeting, things are quite different.”
With its rapid growth, it realized that its spreadsheets were not dynamic enough to gather information, consolidate data, and provide overall reporting for its changing and growing business. “Our Excel- based scheme became difficult to maintain because of the multiple connections between files,” says Pauperio. “It was inflexible, and difficult to add new products and business areas, and we could not centralize it across all countries.”
Cimpor collected data on its business operations in more than 80 Excel spreadsheets, and gathering the information needed to develop overall company reports from them took days. The company tried consolidating the spreadsheets into five, covering each product line and region, but found the files were too large to handle in Excel.
Cimpor decided to search for a new tool that would offer the flexibility it needed to create integrated models, while also being easy to learn and use. “We needed a highly centralized tool that was very interactive, and that could simulate our complex industrial processes within the budgeting process,” says Pauperio.
Cimpor considered SAP’s budgeting product, but realized that while the solution would help the company develop structure, it would not be as flexible and dynamic as it required, and would require a lengthy deployment, integration, and training process. Cimpor discovered Quantrix Modeler, a financial modeling software package developed by the Portland, Maine-based Quantrix.
Quantrix Modeler is a desktop financial modeling software application that goes beyond traditional spreadsheet technology to enable professionals to model business and financial questions in greater depth and from multiple perspectives while improving productivity, accuracy, and auditability. Through intuitive architecture and a powerful, multi-dimensional calculation engine, Quantrix enables users to explore multiple dimensions simultaneously, define formulas with words rather than coordinates, and easily explore new scenarios without rewriting or restructuring models.
“We decided to use Quantrix to make a prototype simulating a plant,” says Pauperio. “After changing our ‘mental model’ we managed to feel the power of the Quantrix approach for data organization.”
Cimpor was impressed with the flexibility and dynamic capabilities of the Quantrix models, and the company made a board-level decision to deploy Quantrix to the rest of the Cimpor world.”
In addition to the ease of integrating data, Pauperio appreciates the increased reliability of the Quantrix Modeler. Because formulas reside outside of the cell, it’s easy to track the meaning of numbers and data. “There are far fewer relations within the files, so it’s easier to catch any errors,” says Pauperio. “The models are more reliable, and confidence is important in this kind of work.”
One benefit of the Quantrix approach is that Cimpor will be able to take advantage of the enterprise-level data it gathers in its SAP application at the desktop level. With the newest version of Quantrix, Cimpor’s financial team will be able to pull data from its SAP database and easily use, change, and manipulate it at the desktop level with ease. Unlike Excel, Quantrix models are multi-dimensional, which insures that Cimpor can view the data by division, country, product line, or any other aspect quickly and easily without creating multiple models. It also can add new divisions and product lines faster and with more confidence than in Excel due to Quantrix’s intuitive structure. “In Excel, we would have to adapt everything, but in Quantrix, we work with the concepts. It’s a huge difference between the two tools,” says Pauperio.
“Quantrix was the best solution for Cimpor,” says Pauperio. “It is a flexible, robust, and deployable tool that requires little training effort.” Pauperio now needs to spend less time gathering, checking, and organizing data, and now can focus on the business. “I can set parameters and have a balance sheet, P&L statement, treasury, and sales metrics quickly, easily, and with confidence. Quantrix frees up my time so that I can analyze the data.”