Celebrating its 40th year in business, Augusta Sportswear today sells more than 800 styles of activewear for teams, coaches, and athletes of all ages. Selling through a massive distribution network, such as this, leaves a lot for the Augusta Sportwear finance team to track in order to accurately measure performance. Until Host Analytics, Excel was the only tool they had.
"We were using an old system that was very manual and prone to errors,” said Mark Brown, Augusta Sportswear Director of Financial Planning and Analysis. “We wasted a lot of time on activities that didn’t add value.”
Running Hard, but no Finish Line in Sight
In the apparel business, wasted time can have a multiplying effect. Brands that are expected to do well could miss and set an apparel line back a few months, for example. In Brown’s case, losing time also meant losing opportunities to dig deeper into the general and administrative expenses that impact Augusta Sportswear’s bottom line. Workforce data was a particular problem.
Brown said his team would spend hours reviewing and manually correcting spreadsheets because so much Selling, General & Administrative Expenses (SG&A) data had to be stitched together from different spreadsheets into a consolidated whole. Errors and formatting issues obscured insights. “We had to work hard just to get a handle on the basic cost of healthcare and benefits for the workforce,” he added.
Teaming Up With the Business
After a competitive review that included Adaptive Insights, Inc. (formerly Adaptive Planning), Brown’s team chose Host Analytics for its cloud-based EPM platform. The benefits began to accrue almost immediately.
“Our entire process became smoother as we automated work we’d been doing in spreadsheets for years,” Brown said. “We’re now able to pull reporting as we need it, and that’s really freed up our team to be more interactive with the rest of the operations.”
In particular, Brown said his team is now using time to meet with department heads and address problems and seize opportunities. “We’ve been able to embed with the sales and marketing teams and actually be their finance partner.”
Augusta Sportswear and Host Analytics Cloud EPM: A Winning Partnership
Having the flexibility of cloud-based EPM from Host Analytics has made a difference in what Brown and his team can bring to strategic discussions with department heads and upper management. “We had some complex models we were trying to address in our cash flow. The Host Analytics team was very creative in the implementation process and how to maximize the use of the system,” Brown says.
And today, roughly two years after first implementing the cloud EPM platform from Host Analytics, Brown said he sees Host Analytics as being as much a partner to his team as the finance team is to Augusta Sportwear’s operations. “For our company, this was a big expense and the Host Analytics team understood that — they’ve been just as committed to our success as we are,” Brown concluded.