Finance Transformation at Pella

By Kayla Flanders and Tammy Norton
January 23, 2024
Season 5, Episode 10

In this episode of the Business Excelleration® – How has Pella, one of the nation’s premier manufacturers of windows and doors, transformed its finance operations, creating one source of truth for budgeting, forecasting and more? A success story with Pella Director of Finance Kayla Flanders and The Hackett Group Principal Tammy Norton of our OneStream practice.

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s “Business Excelleration Podcast,” where week after week we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Tammy Norton, principal in the Digital Enablement OneStream practice at The Hackett Group. Today’s episode will discuss Pella, one of the nation’s premium manufacturers of windows and doors, and how they have transformed their finance operations through OneStream Software and The Hackett Group. Tammy is joined by the Pella Director of Finance Kayla Flanders.

To begin, Kayla starts off by sharing that 2025 is the 100th year of business for Pella, and they have set lofty goals to double the size of the business by then. They couldn’t support that business objective in the appropriate way and selected OneStream technology platform to develop these new business processes around their goal. Pella met with The Hackett Group to create a multiyear road map for a complete enterprise transformation project enabled by the finance team. Pella had previously used HFM 10 years before this journey started, but noticed it became slow and bogged down. They wanted to increase speed and effectiveness, and then define what success looked like for them. OneStream came out on top because of the ability of the technology to be used as a platform, with the flexibility and capability to continue to develop and solve future business problems through multiple solutions within the tool.

Next, Tammy and Kayla discuss Pella’s goal to have all data mastered and funneled through a single data lake. All data flows in there except for minor ad hoc, and getting data mastered with data dictionaries was really important. They have clean data coming in, and they feed into the lake for other purposes as well. During Phase 1, there were some growing pains, and even though the team was really excited about OneStream, change is always hard. They were heavy users of the old tools, so they had to work through that change, but the tools and training led by The Hackett Group and OneStream accelerated the speed of acceptance. Seeing the report times down from four to six hours to only 40 minutes got the team very excited and made the transition feel more seamless.

They discuss having the data in one place, which creates only one version of the truth. Kayla states that this is critical when you have multiple finance teams with multiple lines of business. Some teams would get different answers with the data, which creates a credibility challenge. Having the data in one place creates a common hierarchy, and they all speak the same language, which reduces error and risk for reports. They also now have an enhanced level of confidence in data provided and the speed with it.

In Phase 2, there were additional workstreams adding to the OneStream footprint. Kayla says Phase 2 is so exciting to continue to build capabilities and enhance existing processes. They are able to have multiple forecast cycles, which provides more flexibility to the team to make better business decisions. They also have better analytics with standard monthly reporting as well. Kayla states that she wouldn’t do anything differently if she could go through these phases again.

It is amazing to see how far they’ve come and all the capabilities they have now. Pella has been really successful. They couldn’t not have gone any faster, and it wasn’t too much for the team. She does, however, recommend keeping the transformation and the business separate since the business can’t stop because of the transformation process.

In closing, Pella is looking ahead and integrating sensible machine learning in the OneStream footprint. They want to leverage the investment they made, and continue to improve accuracy and outcomes.

Time stamps:

0:49 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Tammy Norton.

1:37 – How OneStream has helped with high-level strategic objectives.

2:41 – The process of choosing OneStream.

5:20 – Tammy’s perspective on data in the OneStream system.

7:02 – The journey and growing pains in the new OneStream system.

8:44 – One version of the truth.

10:22 – How has the Phase 2 process been going with additional workstreams added to the OneStream footprint?

12:00 – If you were to do these phases again, would you do anything differently?

13:59 – Looking ahead at integrating sensible machine learning in the OneStream footprint.