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Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) handles the storage and transshipment of containers. The new, entirely automated, container terminal on Maasvlakte 2 was recently inaugurated. This changed the information need of the organization. The new planning solution rapidly provided reliable figures to both the business and the shareholders.

Anaplan – RWG

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Anaplan at RWG

Enrico Douwens, Finance Director at Rotterdam World Gateway (RWG) tells us: “With the inauguration of the container terminal we transitioned from a start-up into an operational organization. Previously, planning and budgeting wasn’t very complicated; during the building phase a budget is agreed upon beforehand. We only had to monitor and control the budget, something we were able to do in Excel. This was fine for the construction budget, but not for the regular reporting needs.”

“RWG’s wish was a single, united and user-friendly solution. “I wanted one data source in which you set up your budget and forecasts as well as report the actual financial results. At the same time, the budget holders can also analyze their actuals,” Enrico says.

Ownership of the figures

Allowing the budget holders access to the figures had two objectives. “We want to provide the budget holders with the information they need, and stimulate them to check the figures on a regular basis instead of, traditionally, only once a month.” “It is important that the budget holders take ownership of the figures,” tells Enno van Kampen, consultant at Finext Performance Management and closely involved in the
implementation of the new solution.

Another objective focused on security. Enrico: “Security is vital in our organization. It is in our DNA that we want to ensure nobody behaves unsafely. This includes that nobody acts in a financially unsafe manner. After all, we are responsible for the return on investment.”

“I wanted one data source in which you set up your budget and forecasts as well as report the actuals”

Holistic Approach

RWG opted for Anaplan. What tipped the scale were the look and feel of Anaplan. “We wanted to stay away from front-ends based on spreadsheets, because there is a lot of aversion among non-financials towards Excel,” Enrico says.

This offers all stakeholders the same, up-to-date insight, and the e-mailing of versions back and forth becomes a thing of the past.”

Efficient and reliable

Anaplan is 100% cloud-based. We deliberately opted for the cloud, Enrico tells us. “Our IT-department is very busy optimizing the terminal, which is, of course, something I completely understand. In turn, however, I wanted to reduce the dependence on IT.” He is very satisfied with the transfer to the cloud. “The performance and the load times are good, and the reliability as well.” “I am confident that Anaplan secures
his cloud thoroughly. It would be naive to think that the system would be more secure if we would do things in-house.”

“With all information in one place, it turned out we could hire one controller less than we initially planned”

The results of the new solution are very well received by RWG. “Anaplan helps to keep the finance team lean and mean,” Enrico says. “Every month, we supply many different reports to the banks and our shareholders; each bank or shareholder requires a tailor-made report according to their own specifications. These specifications are all modelled in Anaplan, so there is no manual work involved. With all information in one place, it turned out we could hire one controller less than we initially planned. The new solution enhances efficiency and reliability.”

Sales data and revenue mix

Both finance and the budget holders are positive about the new process in Anaplan. “We have automated as much information as possible, and we have simplified the data entry side,” Enno says. Enrico: “Even though the budget holders had to get used to the fact that they themselves had to work with the figures, they are pleased they can view the actuals and their budget at a detailed level. It increases insight and facilitates their tasks.

Besides loading and unloading containers RWG also offers the storage of containers and related services. Examples are prescanning
the containers for customs and providing electricity for cold storage containers. “We want to know the margins of all these additional services as well. This allows us to make the sales data and the revenue mix truly transparent.”

Introducing harmony

An important principle during the implementation was to make the models as user friendly as possible. This led to a wellconsidered decision to make the look and feel of all budget models as similar as possible. “If you have seen one, you have seen them all.” This approach helps the budget holders to efficiently determine all revenues and expenses. 

Another example of introducing harmony is related to staff planning. “Our staff planning is extremely simple; we ensure that all current employees are in the system, and that the number of job openings corresponds with the organogram. The only thing that remains to be done by the budget holders is indicate when they expect the job openings will be filled, and when there are salary increases expected. Everything else is calculated in detail by the model,” Enrico explains.

“For the end-user it is very simple indeed. However, there is a complex model at work in the background,” Enno explains. Going forward, RWG wants to expand its human resource planning further with items such as lease cars and training costs. “This offers not only insight in the wage costs, but also in the total salary bill of a position, which helps when assessing whether or not to resort to outsourcing.”

A new way to report

Enrico already envisions the future steps. “The traditional way is to compare actuals with budget, after which the differences are explained. However, if the number of containers changes significantly, the budget is no longer correct

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