Van der Erve N.V.

Now that we are collecting data directly from the source, we are confident that anything generated by BrightAnalytics is accurate.

Bart Van den Broeck, CFO of the Tomtree holding company

Daily cash flow monitoring and forecasting is now possible

The start of the corona pandemic in March 2020 signalled a period of uncertainty for Erve Europe – an international player that specialises in the manufacture of clothing with character licences & brands. What would be happening to the company’s cash flow now that both customers and suppliers were telling that they had no inkling about what to expect? It was high time for a cash flow forecasting tool.

 Bart Van den Broeck, CFO of Tomtree, the holding company that owns Erve Europe, initiates: “When the corona crisis first broke out, both our customers and suppliers were sending us warning signals that made us realise that it was becoming crucial to keep a very close eye on our cash flow. Until then, we had been planning our cash flow, but only a few times a year, with the use of Excel spreadsheets. This was a very time-consuming process, because it was still mainly done manually. We now wanted to move towards a weekly cash flow forecast to enable us to make the right decisions. That is why we went on the lookout for software.”

 

Easy automation

BrightAnalytics was recommended to Erve Europe by KBC, after which the company had a comparison of software suppliers performed by a consultant specialising in cash flow. “As soon as we had seen the demo, we knew that we wanted to go ahead with BrightAnalytics. Even though they do not have a tool that is dedicated purely to cash flow, we immediately noticed that the software was user-friendly, extremely modular and easy to configure. We knew there and then that the tool could be adapted to our circumstances, and that the step to automated cash flow was an easy one to take”, Bart says.

This last aspect was important to Erve Europe, given that the company – in sharp contrast to most other organisations – does not use budgets to prepare future forecasts. “Software often presumes that you have a budget, and that constitutes your forecast. We work differently, however. The good thing about BrightAnalytics is that it immediately told us: ‘We can do it. We will adapt.' ” 

 

Personalised cash flow statement

Now that BrightAnalytics has automated the cash planning for Erve Europe, the company only needs 2 hours to complete its reporting and analysis, whereas in the old days this would have taken a whole day. The cash flow forecasting is now also a fully integrated process. Justyna Gorna, CFO of Erve Europe goes on to say: “A personalised short- and long-term forecast was developed to our exact requirements. What’s more, we discovered that we could also generate efficient and accurate reports on other subjects, and this was giving us greater insight. The tool now also informs us about our dollar requirements – that is important, given our status as an international player – and the monthly P&L is also managed by BrightAnalytics. A ‘sales & margin list’ gives us an insight into our turnover and margins.”

Bart continues: “We would simply not have had the same level of insight without BrightAnalytics. Otherwise we would have had to involve more resources, which would make things more complex and time-consuming, and increase the risk of errors. Given that the data are now collected directly from the source, we can be confident that anything generated by BrightAnalytics is also accurate.”

The more we use the tool, the more our colleagues ask us to generate additional reports.

- Bart van den Broeck, CFO Tomtree

No IT specialist but a financial analyst

Since then, Erve Europe has gradually been implementing the tool throughout the company. Bart states: “The more we use BrightAnalytics, the more our colleagues ask us to generate additional reports. We have got the ball rolling, and it has given us lots of ideas to gain new insight. Our motto is: if we can do our work more efficiently and if we can gain deeper insight, then we must do it. And BrightAnalytics always helps us to do just this, fast and easily. Our contact person at the company is not an IT specialist but a financial analyst. That makes it so much easier to discuss things and to look for solutions. He quickly grasps what we want to achieve, and he can translate this into BrightAnalytics language.”

By the end of this year, the Tomtree holding company also aims to connect Beconnected and Beconnected Industrial, two other textile business circles, to BrightAnalytics. ”When all the business circles are connected to the package, we will be able to consolidate all our reporting. We currently only have consolidated financial accounts for the holding company. In the future, we will be able to monitor the KPIs on a daily basis from the management accounts or reports. That will be a completely new arrangement for our company. A separate dashboard for our brands and licence team and for the webshop team will finally ensure that BrightAnalytics will give our entire company multi-functional support with our daily decision-making.”

 

The benefits in a nutshell:

  • User-friendly tool
  • Modular and easy to programme
  • Carefully tuned to the company's needs and requirements
  • Saves time and reduces errors
  • Promotes efficiency and provides new insights

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This international player specialises in licensed clothing and forms part of the Erve Group (just like the other business circles Beconnected and Beconnected Industrial), and of the Tomtree holding company. BrightAnalytics has enabled Erve Europe to generate fast, efficient and automated cash flow forecasts since the start of the pandemic. And that is just the beginning…

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