To enable growth by acquisition, Freedom Powersports needed to ensure it was optimizing the profitability of its retail assets—but time-consuming monthly close processes left little time for analysis.
Freedom Powersports worked with IBM Services to replace its manual, spreadsheet-based consolidation process with an efficient workflow supported by Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud.
Up to 5 dayscut from month-end closing cycle, making more time for value-added analysis
66%faster month-end data analysis, enabling more responsive decision-making
4xmore monthly inventory reports, helping optimize resource utilization and drive sales
Business challenge story
Preparing for growth
Since 2012, Freedom Powersports has grown into the second-largest powersport dealer in the USA, offering motorcycles, utility vehicles, watercraft and more to customers in three states. Acquisition has been a key enabler of this growth, and the company is looking for opportunities to increase its retail footprint.
Tom Zelewski, Chief Finance Officer at Freedom Powersports, begins: “The dynamics of the powersports market makes acquisition the most effective route to grow our business—and we’re on the lookout for stores that complement our brands and locations. To lay a solid foundation for that future expansion, we wanted to ensure our existing retail investments were delivering the expected returns.”
Freedom Powersports knew its month-end close was a valuable opportunity to gain insight into profitability. In the past, the company had to generate a general ledger report for each of its 14 retail stores and consolidate the data in a large, complex spreadsheet—a time-consuming process. It often took Freedom Powersports until the 15th day of the month to close its books, leaving little time left to analyze the data before the next cycle began.
“Because we were bringing in retail data that was already consolidated, we couldn’t use our month-end report to explore our profitability along dimensions such as store, category and brand,” continues Zelewski. “We knew this data was essential to understanding the drivers of financial performance across the business. More granular reporting would also enable us to answer questions such as: ‘which are our most profitable brands?’, ‘which categories are growing the fastest?’ and ‘which stores are performing less well than we expect?’”
Freedom Powersports was confident that an enterprise performance management platform would offer deeper insight into the profitability of its stores. The new approach would also enable the company to harness its historical sales data to determine the likely financial performance of potential acquisitions, strengthening its decision-making process.
Gaining new insights
To enhance its approach to financial reporting, Freedom Powersports selected Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud, part of Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud.
“The Oracle solution delivered on all of our key requirements, and we were particularly impressed by how fast and easy it was to create new views of our data,” recalls Zelewski. “By embracing the cloud model, we avoid the need to invest in infrastructure, management and maintenance. In fact, if we’d decided to move forward with an on-premises deployment instead, we estimate the higher costs involved would have required us to delay our project by another three years.”
To accelerate its deployment, Freedom Powersports engaged a team of expert consultants from IBM Services.
“We’re an action-oriented company, and we set ourselves a short deadline for the implementation,” Zelewski explains. “From the outset, it was clear the IBM Services team possessed the technical expertise and industry experience we needed to achieve our goal. We felt IBM Services brought an approach that cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and got straight to the things that mattered. The result was a fast, agile deployment that helped us go live on time.”
Working with IBM Services, Freedom Powersports ran a discovery exercise to determine which data it needed to bring into Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud, and then mapped each field to the solution’s data model. Next, IBM Services helped structure the database and build the new reports.
“We now upload data from our general ledger systems to a central database, not a spreadsheet,” says Zelewski. “For the first time, multiple users can work with our financial data simultaneously. And because we spend less time preparing our data, we can spend more time on analytics.”
He adds: “We’re a small business, so cost is always an important consideration—and IBM Services went out of their way to be flexible to our needs. By choosing the IBM Flex Methodology for a slightly lower-touch, longer-duration deployment, we were able to reduce our costs significantly. IBM Services also did a super job with the knowledge transfer. The time they invested in training our team played a vital role in the success we’re having with the solution today.”
With Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud driving its month-end close, Freedom Powersports is uncovering the insights it needs to fuel its growth.
“With our new enterprise performance management solution, we’ve managed to cut the time spent on month-end processes significantly,” says Zelewski. “Now, we’re consistently closing on the 10th day of the month, and sometimes even five days earlier than before. Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud has definitely made an important contribution to the reduced cycle times we’re achieving.”
By reducing the time required to close its books, Freedom Powersports can invest more resources in value-added activities such as inventory management.
Zelewski comments: “Previously, we only had time to generate one report per month for our store managers. Today, we can produce highly detailed reports once a week—a four-fold increase. By equipping our managers with these insights, we’re empowering them to make smarter decisions about their inventory, improve resource utilization and drive incremental sales.”
Freedom Powersports is also using its Oracle solution to support senior decision-makers across the organization. Whereas before it took three working days to build a month-end financial report for its general and regional managers, the company can now create the report and the supporting analysis on the same day as the close—a time saving of 66 percent.
“One of the great benefits of Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud is the freedom we have to incorporate non-financial data into our analyses,” adds Zelewski. “By enriching our reports with information such as units sold per store, servicing contracts signed and lines per invoice, we’re uncovering trends that might otherwise have stayed hidden. As a result, we can start to make data-driven decisions to improve the profitability of our stores and assets. This information will be particularly important as we move into our next growth phase, as it will enable us to make more accurate predictions about the profitability of potential retail acquisitions.”
Based on its success with Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud, Freedom Powersports is looking to the future.
“When I joined the business, one of my main goals was to help raise accounting and financial reporting to a level of sophistication that would support expansion, and we’ve achieved exactly that,” concludes Zelewski. “Thanks to the Oracle solution delivered by IBM Services, we’ve sharpened our focus on operational costs, gained a clearer view of our profitability and highlighted opportunities to improve our processes—putting us on the road to growth.”
The second-largest powersport dealer in the USA, Freedom Powersports is a privately-owned company selling and servicing powersport equipment. With a range including motorcycles, boats and all-terrain vehicles, Freedom Powersports was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.
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