TMS steel mill services is aligned for the future

 

Summary: TMS International is the world’s leading provider of on-site industrial steel mill services, with clients in 17 countries and a history that spans 90 years. The company needed to update its financial consolidation and reporting system, improving efficiency, insight and future flexibility. Grant Thornton tailored a team to design and implement a OneStream financial platform, collaborating with TMS to smoothly align and transition the company’s massive volume of financial data and processes. With the new platform in place, the company’s financial close processes are now 25% more efficient and intuitive interfaces offer deeper insights with ad hoc reports and the flexibility to expand in the future.

 

Scenario

 

The field of manufacturing is undergoing a fundamental change, expanding its fundamental power to create a range of new services, products and technologies.

 

TMS International is the world’s leading provider of on-site industrial steel mill services. Its people, services, technology and equipment are embedded with clients in 17 countries and connected to their global network of raw materials. TMS empowers steel mills 24 hours a day, and it’s serving clients for 90 years.

 

TMS needed to update its financial consolidation and reporting system. While the functionality was adequate for today, it lacked adaptability. However, the company also needed to minimize any transition impact on current users and daily operations. It could not afford an abrupt change to an unfamiliar interface, and sought an implementation partner to help ensure the close processes in the new tool would succeed — while also taking advantage of the tool’s new capabilities. 

TMS was attracted to OneStream as a solution provider, based on the product’s reputation and its intuitive features and functionality. Plus, TMS saw that OneStream could do more.

 

“They were keen on expanding capabilities for budgeting, forecasting and other analytics, like predictive modeling for site and machine maintenance,” said Grant Thornton Technology Modernization Experienced Manager Michael Soukup. “They wanted to have a roadmap or a pathway to get there.”

 

Approach

 

“Once they learned about OneStream, they realized it's a platform — not just a tool,” Soukup said. The company was very interested in a platform for future capabilities, but it needed a partner for a smooth transition.

 

“Our expertise in OneStream meant that we could quickly present them with a look and feel for the new interface,” Soukup said. “We quickly gave them the look and feel of the new app, so we could iterate during the design and early build. We could quickly say, ‘This is what you specified, and this is what it means,” and then tweak based feedback.”

 

The Grant Thornton Technology Modernization service and OneStream practice tailored a team to collaborate with TMS, helping to ensure understanding and efficiency. “Culturally, I think our team was a great fit with TMS,” Soukup said. “That was important. We were able to adapt to their culture and find some synergies pretty quickly.” Those synergies helped the teams work closely for success. “With their core team, we had a really integrated approach to build and test. We were considerate about their time, but brought them in as early and often as was appropriate. The people who will own the tool at the end of the day got a sense of ownership early. That played a big role in giving comfort to the end users.”

 

The Grant Thornton team also worked behind the scenes to enable the transition and ensure that the new platform would have all the data and functionality the TMS team needed. “We had to rework some metadata. There are fundamental architecture differences between the old solution and the new platform — it was not a lift-and-shift,” Soukup said. As a long-established global company, TMS had a massive archive of data to transition. That process can be complex and time-consuming for these implementations, especially if you want to ensure the data is ready to fuel advanced insight on the new platform. After the team moved over core metadata, it refined the data to match the company’s current business model and the platform’s new capabilities. “We put their data onto a platform that’s more user-friendly, efficient and has leading capabilities. They can drill down into the data and more effectively interrogate it in a more intuitive way. The new tool provides a workflow capability that guides users through the monthly close process in a way that lets you include more checks and balances.”

 

The Grant Thornton team delivered three primary functions:

  • Discovery: Scoped the project, aligned the chart of accounts and defined a detailed implementation plan with a timeline and dependencies
  • Implementation: Implemented the TMS Consolidations solution, including:
    • Developed process standards based on best practices to ensure OneStream replaced legacy processes, including an application design to support the detailed chart of accounts and accounting
    • Created more than 30 workflow profiles
    • Established an automated load solution for the close process, using a distributed batch harvesting process that certifies and loads operating unit trial balance data with confirmation rules to allow easy visibility to data quality controls
  • Archival: Developed a means for TMS to store 12 years of archived data, including journals and calculated accounts 

“We helped them make this change, and positioned them to grow, with flexibility in the platform so they can keep getting the most out of it,” Soukup said.

 

Results

 

Now, TMS has a platform that empowers greater efficiency and results in financial analysis. Users can complete financial processes with less manual effort and have more autonomy over their reporting. The improved ad hoc reporting capabilities even extend to executives, who can use the intuitive OneStream interface to yield insights on demand.

 

“From the C-suite down, they get hands-on data — and they want to have access to that data,” Soukup said. “The ad hoc reporting that we configured for OneStream has been very well received. With executives, the biggest win is the guided reporting we configured for them. It helps them get to the answers they need in a guided and intuitive fashion, rather than hunting and pecking through the data.”

 

For TMS, the new OneStream platform is delivering ROI across the five parameters of cost, time, accuracy, insights and flexibility.

 

 

The OneStream ROI

  • Cost: The team’s quick and collaborative implementation meant that TMS was able to terminate their former system’s licenses earlier than anticipated.
  • Time: More efficient financial processes require approximately 25% fewer hours for financial close.
  • Accuracy: Refined metadata, validated processes, additional controls and better reporting yield a more trustworthy close process, improving accuracy.
  • Insight: New capabilities to drill into and uncover underlying details provides a more powerful and intuitive process to uncover data quality issues, enhancing insights.
  • Flexibility: The unified platform moved financial consolidation out of an on-premise solution, allowing cloud storage and computational solutions that provide a foundation for expansion into additional business processes, onboarding acquisitions and adapting to other future changes.

“Now, they have better insight, much more efficient workflows and much more scalability,” Soukup said. “We replaced what they needed to replace, but did so in a way that they can grow in the platform without any rework.”

 

 

Aligned for the future

 

TMS is now implementing a new ERP solution, and its OneStream implementation is ready to integrate. “We built flexibility in our model to allow integration and provided training and thought leadership on things they should consider for the new ERP chart of account," Soukup said. That flexibility and guidance have helped TMS streamline its ERP implementation. “We’ve heard that, so far, it's been a very uneventful transition to the new ERP in terms of loading data into their consolidations tool.”

 

“Down the line, tax and treasury can benefit from the reworked data in the new solution,” Soukup said. “It wasn't bad data before, but now the data is aligned to an updated entity hierarchy. They're able to provide data with a legal entity structure from which those two groups can start some of their reporting.”

 

The company can also use the platform to empower its asset management, planning for equipment usage, maintenance, retirement and more. “Today, they're using complex spreadsheet-based models,” Soukup said. “They're grounded in significant, long-term, trusted expertise within their company. They have tenured employees in the space.” However, the new platform could help the company adapt for new employees or equipment, maintaining its capability to anticipate asset needs. “It's steel mill services. It's already a harsh process on equipment, and then the environment can play a big role in that. Getting a better handle on trends and modeling could save them significantly when it comes to planned maintenance. There is the ability to adjust maintenance and replacement schedules based on driver-based modeling, and useful life estimates.”

 
 

 

TMS can even develop more powerful enterprise planning, and the company is planning a second phase of the project to develop OneStream budgeting and forecasting capabilities. “They have flexibility in the application to build out detailed planning and budgeting in a way that could automatically integrate with or automatically align with actuals from the consolidations project,” Soukup said. “They have not put planning in place yet, but when they do so, we've set up the tool and the metadata to allow them to do that at a few different levels, depending on what they decide. They can set up planning that’s more summarized, or more detailed, without having to change or rework their consolidation solution.”

 

With a smooth transition to its new financial analysis platform, TMS has aligned for future needs, growth and opportunities.

 
 

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