As a global leader in exhaust systems manufacturing—with warehouses and production facilities in China, India and the U.S.—Active Exhaust Corp. has a lot of financial data to manage. For Business Analyst Kevin Shivnauth and Director of Corporate Development Avo Koulakian, having an up-to-date view of each entity’s financial position at their fingertips is crucial. They need to be able to pull accurate reports on demand so management can respond quickly to evolving demand for products.
But prior to implementing Vena, efficient reporting across business units was impossible for Kevin and Avo. They weren't agile. In those days, financial data would come to them in emails and offline spreadsheets from each international entity. Manual data consolidation caused a lot of serious headaches.
“Reporting was extremely challenging,” recalls Kevin. “Sometimes the information wouldn’t be presented in the same currency, or even in the same language. I’d have to go into these disparate spreadsheets, pull out the numbers I needed and spend a lot of time trying to line it up nicely in a consolidated P&L.”
With so much of their time spent organizing and validating financials, Kevin and Avo didn’t have much bandwidth left for analysis. Reports would be out of date almost immediately after they were sent to leadership, which made it tough to base business decisions quickly off a reliable measure of key metrics—such as material margins, working capital by entity and more.
“That was one of the biggest challenges we had,” says Avo. “We spent more time pulling numbers together rather than analyzing them and understanding the business.”
Having worked together previously at another company using Vena, Kevin and Avo recommended the platform to CFO Steve Webb and committed to fast-tracking Active Exhaust’s transformation. Their goals for the project were simple: Standardize reporting across international entities and deliver consistent, accurate and timely financial data.
Vena’s Complete Planning Platform made consolidated reporting easy thanks to the comfort and flexibility of an intuitive Excel interface—a key component of the Vena Growth Engine. Now Kevin and Avo use the same standard template to manage income statements, balance sheets and cash flows for each business unit. And the power of a central database integrated directly with their ERP (SYSPRO) has eliminated the need to key in data manually.
“I’m able to take our international trial balances and store everything in the cloud with Vena,” says Kevin. “It means I can pull any report really easily now instead of copying and pasting from emails.”
Also, since their reporting templates are mapped directly to their Vena database, budgets, forecasts and actuals are available at the touch of a button. If leaders want to hone in on a specific metric to guide decision making on demand, everything they need is right there in Vena. And with everyone working from the same connected data model, it’s easier to align stakeholders when the business needs to adapt quickly when faced with unexpected events.
“You need to be able to shift with agility in finance, and Vena makes that very easy,” says Kevin. “If I want to take our forecasts and apply different sensitivity metrics to them, I’m able to do that quickly.”
Active Exhaust’s greatest benefit with Vena has been improved collaboration between the finance team and international business units. With one source of truth for company-wide reporting and analysis, international leaders are more involved in the company’s growth journey and are making smarter, more data-driven business decisions.
“We’re providing meaningful information so our global entities can do their jobs better,” says Avo. “We have a lot of shifting demand for products, and Vena will give them more insight into that.”
The time savings with Vena have been another big win. Instead of working through dozens of time-consuming reports each month, Kevin and Avo have automated the monthly cycle and built a “self-service” model for data analysis with Vena. That means anyone across the business can generate reports on demand and gather the insights they need without compromising data integrity.
“The time savings with Vena are huge,” says Avo. “We’re spending less time preparing the numbers and more time actually analyzing and understanding the business.”
As Active Exhaust continues to evolve, Kevin and Avo are looking to expand Vena’s use case beyond just financial reporting. For them, that’s the beauty of a Complete Planning Platform. They’ll always have the ability to drive growth through on-demand, data-driven analysis—and international data silos will never be an issue again.
“Building off of the foundation we built for reporting, we’ve already started toying with HR planning, pricing and inventory management in Vena,” says Kevin. “There are endless possibilities with Vena, and I think that goes to show just how powerful the platform really is.”