Oatly talks about its agile driver-based process for budgeting and forecasting

Oatly is a rapidly expanding company with operations in more than 20 countries on three continents. The company is headquartered in Malmö, Sweden, where one of its factories is located. Oatly sells to large retail chains and individual customers and generates revenue in a variety of currencies.

Effective governance and management are key priorities for Oatly as a fast-growing global company, and its planning processes must keep pace with business and market developments.

Budget owners are now more engaged and can monitor results more effectively
Henrik Svensson, Head of Commercial Controlling

Challenge

Daniel Lagerholm, Manager Business Control at Oatly, says:

“Like many other organisations, we used Excel to draw up our budgets and forecasts. This led to a labour-intensive process that was difficult to oversee.

The traditional budget process had become too cumbersome for Oatly, and the company’s rapid expansion made it vital to be able to create forecasts and scenarios based on a range of variables.

“It was no longer enough for us to update budgets and forecasts only once a year. We needed an agile approach that would enable us to work with different drivers and rolling 12 forecasts. We also needed a more transparent budget process.”

Lagerholm adds that he and his colleague Henrik Svensson, Head of Commercial Controlling, recognised the challenge of setting up a new system support solution without knowing how the business would be structured in the future.

Summary:

  • A laborious process and a tight budget
  • Difficult to monitor budget work progress

Solution

“Hypergene carried out a proof of concept, which gave us the confidence we needed,” Lagerholm says.

Hypergene implemented a solution for staff and financial planning and forecasting on a monthly, quarterly, annual, and multi-year basis. The new solution handles drivers such as products, volumes, and currencies, and allows data to be broken down according to variables such as company, item, and cost centre.

Oatly, like other organisations, has business systems and data warehouses from which Hypergene can extract source data. Since there was no history of the most recent products or customers in Oatly’s existing systems, it was essential to be able to feed data into the new system. There was also a requirement for certain reporting processes to continue sharing data from existing systems, so Hypergene was set up to enable both retrieval from the data warehouse and the addition of new data.

Summary: 

  • Hypergene's Budgeting & Forecasting Solution

Results

The new budgeting and forecasting solution enable Oatly to streamline the way it works. Both Lagerholm and Svensson appreciate the solution’s greater flexibility and the ability work with rolling 12 forecasts. It is also much easier to see how changes in resources and the market affect the company’s performance. The solution is more transparent and has contributed to decentralisation. Staff who need to contribute to the budget process can easily enter information into the system themselves.

“Budget owners are now more engaged and can monitor results more effectively," Svensson says.

He adds that Hypergene’s flexibility enables Oatly to work in an iterative manner and made it possible to add new products and customers to the system during the short implementation period. It’s a straightforward process that Oatly’s system owners can administer themselves.

Summary: 

  • A solution that supports agile working methods
  • Increased commitment from budget owners
  • A more transparent budget process