We have transformed our approach to reporting—equipping us with the insights we need to shrink our costs, ensure compliance and maximise sales.
Formed in 2003 and headquartered in London, England, Jemca Car Group is a leading Lexus and Toyota dealership group serving southeast England. Offering a comprehensive range of services including car sales, servicing, repair and finance, the group is owned by Toyota Tsusho Corporation and employs more than 500 people.
Staying competitive in a challenging market
To identify new cost-efficiencies and comply with strict reporting deadlines, Jemca Car Group needed to produce highly accurate reports in just four days at the end of every month—but how?
In the wake of the global economic slowdown, downward pressure on consumer spending means that retail markets for big-ticket items are more competitive than ever. For car dealerships in the UK, the challenge is to keep operational costs as lean as possible while seizing new opportunities ahead of competitors.
“We have transformed our approach to reporting—equipping us with the insights we need to shrink our costs, ensure compliance and maximize sales.”
—Gary Brown, CFO, Jemca Car Group
These were the challenges facing Jemca Car Group, a leading dealership based in southeast England. Gary Brown, CFO at Jemca Car Group, takes up the story: “We operate many lines of business—including retail and fleet car sales, repair, servicing, spare parts, finance and more—and to keep track of our financial performance we measure more than 100 key performance indicators [KPIs] across all the departments. “On the sales side, our KPIs include units per month, profit per unit and sales per executive, while in our servicing business we need to track the number of hours we sell, the productivity of our technicians and the amount of non-chargeable time they spend each month, such as fetching vehicles from the yard. We must also keep a close watch over costs in our body shop and spare parts businesses, because if we hold stock for too long we increase our exposure to asset depreciation risk.”
He adds: “In an industry as competitive as ours, accurate forecasting and budgeting are vital. Timely, accurate reports enable management to review financial and operational results and react speedily rather than waiting until the next month, which is the typical reporting cycle in many other industries.”
Adriaan Kroh, Group Financial Controller, Jemca Car Group, continues: “In the past, our reporting processes were heavily based on manual, time-consuming reconciliation work. Because we had to spend so much time collating and preparing data from multiple separate source systems—each with thousands of account codes—it could take as long as six weeks to produce just one monthly report.
“Our parent company requires that the monthly results be submitted within just four working days of month end. To meet such a tight deadline, we realized that we needed a faster way to prepare accurate reports.”
“Working with our IBM solutions is extremely straightforward. Because maintaining our models is so simple, we can complete our annual budgeting process 40 percent faster.” —Adriaan Kroh, Group Financial Controller, Jemca Car Group.
Jemca Car Group partnered with HAYNE to build an automated, integrated budgeting and forecasting process, driven by IBM Analytics solutions—delivering rapid access to financial performance data.
The benefits achieved
Delivering accurate reports on time, every time
With an automated, integrated approach to financial and operational reporting, Jemca Car Group is achieving its goal of delivering timely monthly reports to its shareholders.
“We now perform rolling weekly forecasts in IBM Planning Analytics (powered by TM1), which means that we have a continual stream of actuals coming through to increase the accuracy of our models, and can front-load much of the work that goes into our month-end reporting,” says Brown. “Our accountants and line managers can add or modify their figures at any time before the deadline, and any changes automatically flow through to dependent data in other TM1 cubes.
“Thanks to our IBM Cognos Controller solution, we can now prepare our month-end reports substantially faster—and we’ve never missed a deadline for submitting to our parent company, despite the challenging four-day time window.” Kroh adds: “Working with our IBM solutions is extremely straightforward. Because we have adopted an integrated approach to controlling, budgeting and forecasting, we estimate that our people save around half an hour every day simply by avoiding the need to swivel between different source systems. Better still, because maintaining our models is so simple, we can complete our annual budgeting process 40 percent faster.
“We can also complete ad hoc reports on our Planning Analytics solution far faster than is possible with spreadsheets. For some auditing and compliance tasks, reporting has gone from half an hour to just minutes—enabling us to spend less time on preparing our data and more time on value-added analysis.”
By shaping an automated reporting process, Jemca Car Group can use its IBM solutions as decision-support system.
“IBM Cognos Business Intelligence enables us to surface information to our users in a fast, visual and intuitive way, which in turn enables them to make better-informed decisions,” explains Kroh. “In a challenging financial climate, it is crucial that we minimize the risk posed by depreciating assets—especially high-value assets such as cars on the dealership forecourt. With IBM Cognos Business Intelligence, we can do more than create fine-grained reports on the type, quantity and condition of our assets—we can trigger automated alerts to warn our dealerships when they are holding stock for too long, enabling them to take immediate action to drive sales and protect our profitability.”
Brown concludes: “Thanks to our IBM Analytics environment and partnership with HAYNE solutions, we have transformed our approach to reporting—equipping us with the insights we need to shrink our costs, ensure compliance and maximise sales.”
About IBM Business Analytics
IBM Business Analytics is the world leader in business intelligence and performance management solutions. It provides world-class enterprise planning and BI software and services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance.