Case: Fiskars

    Profitable product portfolio

    under complexity and growth

    Background

    Established in 1649, Fiskars is one of the oldest companies in Finland. The company is focused on providing high-quality consumer goods, and its products are present in people's everyday lives – at home, in the garden, and outdoors. Fiskars is well-known for its many iconic products and has them available in more than 100 countries.

    Today Fiskars is experiencing strong demand for its brands and products and has started multiple initiatives to capture these growth opportunities. One of the initiatives was to improve how the product portfolio is managed across life cycles, functions and geographies. This initiative was approached business area by business area, with the plan to create scalable processes and tools for all the business areas to use.

    Setting the bar high

    Fiskars’ product portfolio consists of several thousand products across a wide range of well-known brands, and to ensure fulfilling their customers’ evolving needs they launch hundreds of new products every year. Operating such a wide and dynamic product portfolio requires high investments, both in terms of money and time.

    Fiskars wants to manage its product portfolio proactively, as a part of regular ongoing work and utilize a broad set of actions throughout the product life-cycle. This ambition sets the bar high for portfolio management, as it requires agile collaboration and coordination across several functions.

    Right tools for product portfolio management

    Complexity in product portfolio management is best fought with simple enough tools that bring clarity and enable fact-based decisions. Proactive product portfolio management requires efficient practices so that time can be utilized in making decisions and executing actions, instead of simply operating process practicalities.

    The efficiency was reached by

    1. Using one set of numbers with information beyond the gross margin.
    2. Combining P&L statement profitability information with inventory data.
    3. Setting clear targets to product portfolio based on targets that had been communicated to investors.
    4. Building a flexible and user-friendly tool that enabled assessing product portfolio performance and investments e.g. on different levels of product hierarchy.

    Numbers never capture the whole story behind the product portfolio performance, especially in a brand-driven business, like Fiskars'. Analytics findings were not intended to provide ultimate conclusions on needed actions. Instead, they were used as a starting point to validate whether the findings genuinely required corrective actions, or if there was another rationale for accepting the seemingly low performance of some parts of the portfolio.

    For the portfolio areas that were confirmed to require actions, it was important to have a wide range of alternative actions before having to consider the most conclusive option, ramp-down. For example value engineering, pricing and the possibility to increase volumes were used as other options for ramp-downs.

    "Capacent's tool for product portfolio management provides a more realistic picture of our product portfolio. Before the project, we followed mainly gross margin. Now we have more information available, and the tool has also brought inventory visibility that didn't exist earlier."  

    Sari Somerkallio
    Vice President, Business Finance at Fiskars

    Future-proofing results

    The tool provided by Capacent has increased transparency for Fiskars to highlight what part of the product portfolio is delivering the required return. Among the benefits, Fiskars has achieved with this tool and working method include:

    • Fast process to cover the entire product portfolio and focus time on actions and results.
    • Better ability to choose from a broad set of corrective actions across functions and track their progress.
    • Ensuring that investments into availability (e.g. inventories) are profitable.
    • Up-to-date, aligned and user-friendly visibility to portfolio performance on different levels of the product hierarchy.

    The agile and fact-based cooperation between all the stakeholders at Fiskars opens up now multiple opportunities to enhance portfolio performance throughout the product life-cycle. In addition, Fiskars is also now better prepared to execute growth plans with a competitive and profitable product portfolio.

    Fiskars is now planning on developing the tool even further and utilizing its use to cover all the business areas to support an even broader range of decision-making in the future. The project with Capacent provided the required capabilities for Fiskars to continue the development work that was started together.

    All too many companies consider product portfolio management...

    ...as a finance-driven clean-up activity that focuses on reactive ramp-downs. Quick-fix cleanups are easy to force through in an organization to a certain extent. But they leave a large grey area of products that have questionable performance, but which don’t quite qualify for blunt ramp-downs.

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