Since the 1980s, TNT has always been at the forefront of activity-based costing. However, over the years, its Business Analytics team, headquartered in Hoofddorp (the Netherlands), realized that their homegrown cost and performance management software needed more than a facelift to cope with the complexity of a fast-growing environment. The system, based on a mainframe, was no longer up to industry standards from an IT point of view (the total cost of ownership could definitely be lower) as well from a business point of view (data quality and refinement could be improved).
In other words, TNT wanted an easy-to-manage solution that enables to drill down on cost for every activity, every department, every product and every customer. On top of better insights into profitability, the company needed a tax compliance module that best fits its international environment.
After less than 9 months, this wish came true. Impressive volumes of data – remember more than 3 million consignments every month – were moved from the mainframe to an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution called Acorn Performance Analyzer – a market leader in the profitability and cost management space. The overall data processing time was reduced by 40 per cent.
“In the end, it all comes down to the quality and knowledge of the people. In this regard, we were not disappointed by delaware”, Anwar Mirza, Global Head of Data Governance at TNT.
Anwar Mirza, Financial System Director at TNT at the time of the migration, acknowledges that the choice of delaware as lead partner on the project was the right decision: “In the end, the success of such a strategic project, at the crossroads of IT and Finance, depends on the quality and knowledge of the people. I have to say that we were not disappointed with the skills and flexibility of the delaware consultants. We were even given the choice to set up the right competence mix within the team that we have been happy to work with.”
Now Global Head of Data Governance at TNT, Anwar Mirza realizes how the 8-week preparation period, during which data quality was clearly emphasized as a key success factor, was the right approach. “Based on the good old principle of ‘garbage in, garbage out’, delaware helped us determine data quality requirements and, more importantly, get senior sponsorship and make sure that we had key business people available upfront.” Together with delaware, TNT defined individually-tailored work packages for key users to ensure data ownership and stewardship were tackled correctly.
“This 8-week period, in which we were able to get the involvement of the key business people, has been key to a successful rollout of the software solution in less than 7 months. We managed to build strong bridges between technology and finance experts,” adds Jos Gilissen, the delaware project manager.
To sum up, TNT looks back with satisfaction on how delaware fulfilled its role of lead partner, managing expertise on the business side within TNT with cost management and IT skills from delaware (as well as from other IT partners and the software vendor).
As a result, hundreds of employees at TNT now have a much better view on costs, productivity per product and per customer, as well as on transfer pricing in the different countries. In this regard, the new solution is one of the main contributors to a better product pricing strategy. The investment has paid off significantly, both in operational and financial terms.