NovaTech Automation provides specialized automation and engineering solutions for electric utilities, processing plants and other essential industries.
These technological solutions enable NovaTech’s customers to supply everyday basics for millions of people around the world in fields including energy, pharmaceuticals, transportation, and food and beverages.
NovaTech, headquartered in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, uses Datarails to make its budgeting process more efficient and improve its reporting capabilities and data transparency.
By improving its transparency and reporting, NovaTech has implemented more data-driven pricing, which has saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And by improving its budgeting and reporting efficiency, the technology company saves four weeks a year in labor productivity – two weeks on the annual budgeting process and eight hours a month on financial reporting.
The problem: Labor-intensive budgeting process and lack of reporting capabilities
When NovaTech Automation began searching for a solution, it had two main problems it was trying to solve: an extremely labor-intensive budgeting process and a lack of reporting capabilities that would ensure the executives and managers had full visibility into the company’s financials and non-financial KPIs.
The budgeting process required a lot of back-and-forth between the finance team and the rest of the company, as well as extensive manual data entry.
In other words, the automation solution provider for essential industries needed a more automated solution for its own essential tasks.
“Now there’s a single version of what’s really happening.”—BJ Weil, SVP of Finance and Administration
Describing the time-consuming budget process in place at the time, NovaTech’s senior vice president of finance and administration, BJ Weil, explained:
“I would email spreadsheets to the department managers. They would fill in their information, they would email it back. I would then manually type it into a central database, roll that up into a consolidated budget, and then report on it. If there are any discrepancies, I’d have to go back and find those. And then with that consolidated budget, then we’d decide if that was okay or not. If not, then we’d go back to the very beginning and start the process all over again.”
“And through that process,” said Weil, “there were so many pieces of data that I would manually enter over and over and over again.”
An FP&A solution, not just a budgeting tool
As NovaTech was looking at solutions for streamlining the budgeting process, Weil discovered that the company actually needed more than a budgeting tool. It needed an FP&A solution that enabled reporting on all the company’s most crucial KPIs.
“As we were evaluating solutions, I knew that we needed to make our budget process better – but that was really just the entry point for us,” said Weil. “The next step was we needed a mature financial planning and analysis solution.”
NovaTech found that solution with Datarails.
“We saw that with Datarails, it could do the budget piece, but it allowed us to do so much more,” said Weil. “So we were able to report on all of our KPIs, our on-time delivery performance, our margin performance, all of those things. So that’s really what made us select Datarails and see that it’s our solution for now – and as we grow into the future.”
“I would definitely recommend Datarails to anyone looking to up their game from a simple Excel… to really understand what’s happening behind the numbers.”—BJ Weil, SVP of Finance and Administration
‘The No. 1 thing is the Excel integration’
One of the things Weil likes best about Datarails is being able to continue living and working in Excel, just as he’s done for the past two decades.
“There are a lot of things I love about Datarails, but probably the No. 1 thing is the Excel integration – being able to write formulas within Excel that pull data directly to it, and then being able to have an Excel file and submit it directly to Datarails,” said Weil.
“The value of Datarails working directly with Excel is I live in Excel,” he said. “I have lived in Excel for 20 years. And so I don’t have to leave that native environment that I know and love.”
“I would definitely recommend Datarails to anyone looking to up their game from a simple Excel ad hoc standpoint to wanting something more, something that’s going to give them the ability to drill down, to really understand what’s happening behind the numbers,” said Weil.
The impact: Saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, increasing profitability
NovaTech has improved its transparency and reporting capabilities with Datarails, leading to more strategic and informed pricing that enabled the technology company to maintain its margins despite inflation – ultimating saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“The impact that Datarails has had on our company, on NovaTech, has been the ability to create transparency within the organization,” said Weil. “So now we can have the same information visible to our CEO and on our production floor. Now there’s a single version of what’s really happening.”
That transparency made it possible for NovaTech to conduct a historical analysis of price points for their products and individual product components, as well as forward-looking projections.
“Pricing new options allowed us to maintain our margins in an inflationary environment, saving us hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Weil.
“Once we were able to bring transparency to all of our options, from a part number within a product family to cost, list price, customers, discounts, we were able to more accurately price new options, which then increase revenue and ultimately increase profitability,” he said.
It was Datarails that made it possible to access all the data points needed to make those strategic pricing decisions, said Weil.
“Before Datarails, we would not have been able to bring all of those various pieces of data together,” he said. “But now we can.”
“Once we were able to bring transparency to all of our options… we were able to more accurately price new options, which then increase revenue and ultimately increase profitability.”—BJ Weil, SVP of Finance and Administration
Saving 4 weeks a year on budgeting and financial reporting
In addition to saving money, NovaTech was also able to save four weeks a year in labor productivity with Datarails: two weeks a year on the budgeting process and one day a month – an additional two weeks a year – on monthly reporting.
Using Datarails has made NovaTech’s annual budgeting process much faster and more automated.
“Now that we’ve moved to Datarails, we save roughly 80 hours,” said Weil about the budgeting process. “We can do our consolidations, our rollups and our full review all at once. So our time is spent actually reviewing the rollups and the actual budget, and not the actual data entry piece anymore.”
NovaTech also saves an additional six to eight hours a month on its financial reporting.
“On a monthly basis, we save anywhere from six to eight hours on the actual reporting side, because the system generates the reports automatically,” said Weil.
Expanding our idea of what’s possible
NovaTech’s newfound transparency has also shifted the mindset within the company, prompting employees on the finance team as well as other departments to dig into what data they need to make the best decisions possible – not just what data they currently have available.
“Since we’ve started using Datarails,” said Weil, “we’re more willing to ask questions because we think more in the realm of what’s possible within understanding information, rather than, ‘Oh, this is what we have available, so we have to make a decision based on what I see.’
“Now our team is more willing to ask: ‘What’s possible? What information can I get in order to make this decision?’”