Berlin Packaging is the world’s largest supplier of hybrid packaging based in Chicago, USA. In EMEA, the business started in 2016 with the acquisition of Bruni Glass, a company with more than 40 years of experience in the supply of high-quality glass packaging for wine, food and home fragrance products. Since then, the company’s presence in Europe has expanded through several strategic acquisitions leading to the creation of Berlin Packaging EMEA, now present in 12 countries, with 1,200 employees and headquarters in Italy. Berlin Packaging EMEA generated €1 billion in revenue in 2021. For more information, please visit BerlinPackaging.com.
“Before implementing OneStream, we used obsolete systems and very manual processes for the consolidation and financial reporting at the Berlin Packaging Group. With the solid organic and inorganic growth of the Group in the last two years, this process was no longer sustainable, and we decided to switch to OneStream.”
—Roberta Ripanti, Director, EMEA Accounting, Tax & Consolidation Manager, Berlin Packaging
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Berlin Packaging’s initial situation was characterized by a fragmented set of different ERP systems used by the various legal entities acquired by the group. The consolidation procedure was carried out by customizing AS/400, the ERP system of some group companies. This manual process was very cumbersome, handled partly through AS/400 and partly through output in Excel®. Reporting was also done manually through Excel and notes to financial statements were handled offline in Word. The significant amount of manual skill involved a high risk of error and made data reconciliation difficult.
The situation soon became unsustainable for the company, which had the following needs:
• Improvement and increased efficiency of processes and systems in all areas.
• A single environment in which to upload all the data from the different ERPs.
• Management of consolidation processes in compliance with Italian GAAP (ITA GAAP) and US GAAP (US GAAP).
• Integrated management and statutory reporting.\
• Integration of Notes tables and automation of the same.
In summary, what Berlin Packaging needed was less manual work and consistent data, constantly updated in real time directly from the system.
When choosing a product, Berlin Packaging evaluated a number of vendors, including Oracle’s cloud solution, but the evaluation revealed that OneStream better fulfilled the customer’s main requirements for flexibility and innovation. The features examined were: reputation, interface, cloud technology, support, scalability, customization and price. Let’s look at them in detail.
The most important factor was that the tool had a good reputation. OneStream was already widely used in the United States and Berlin Packaging had already received a variety of positive feedback from contacts in other American companies, which led the company to consider it a reliable system.
The intuitiveness of the interface was undoubtedly another decisive factor. The requirement was that it would be easy to understand, so that all new users from acquired companies would be able to use the solution from day one without any problems.
Other key elements for the group were implementation and support. The company’s implementation partner, Avvale, supported them all the way from the design phase, which was essential especially for the sub-consolidated European area, where it is necessary to comply with more stringent regulations than in the United States. Avvale continues to provide ongoing support, with which the customer is very satisfied.
Berlin Packaging also considers OneStream’s scalability a key factor, enabling the platform to grow with the company. In addition, the Group required a high level of customization, especially with regard to ITA GAAP and US GAAP accounting standards, which OneStream is able to deliver. This was particularly important for the Italian branch, which has to deal with a European consolidated financial statement for approximately 45 legal entities, with all the related complexities in terms of the regulations to be observed.
Lastly, cloud-based technology was an important element, in addition to the price, which was rated in line with major competitors.
The implementation of OneStream enabled, first and foremost, the simplification of the consolidated budget process, which was one of the customer’s top priorities. The creation of a new process was preceded by a fairly structured analysis phase due to the need to produce consolidated financial statements that comply with ITA GAAP and US GAAP, while seeking to ensure a single data loading activity.
Another improvement that OneStream delivered was the extensibility feature: this is a native feature of OneStream that allows dimensions to be expanded to different levels of detail in business units, scenarios and project phases. Thanks to this feature, it is possible to have a single chart of accounts with different granularity levels to meet the reporting needs of different scenarios (draft and final financial statements) and different companies that naturally have diverse reporting needs.
In addition, through the use of Sturnis365, the narrative reporting and disclosure management application, Berlin Packaging has been able to automate the production of notes to financial statements. Data is retrieved directly from the system in real time so any changes are incorporated into the tables, and all Excel data is then dynamically integrated into the Word document. In addition, notes to financial statements are collaborative so that numerous people can access the document at the same time; for example, reviewers or translators for the purposes of English translation. Having access to a document that is constantly updated in real time removes the possibility of errors being introduced through the manual process of sending a document numerous times to numerous people.
The scalability of the OneStream platform lends itself particularly well to possible future developments. The next steps involve, primarily, a specific cash flow structure calculated at individual company level and consolidated financial statement in view of US GAAP, which is in its initial stages, and account reconciliation, budget and forecasting processes that are already underway.
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