Swissport is the world’s largest provider of ground and cargo handling services in the aviation industry, moving more than 4 million tons of cargo a year in 48 countries. But as Kim Lanham, the director of FP&A for Swissport North America, found out, the U.S.-based operation had room for improvement in how it moved and managed financial data.

“I started at Swissport in February of 2015 and when I got there they said, ‘You are going to be consolidating 2,000 spreadsheets come budget season that summer,’” Lanham told me at our Host Analytics World conference last May. “And I said, ‘Oh no, no, no, no.’”

With that, Lanham embarked on a journey to transform budgeting, consolidation and reporting processes at her new employer. After evaluating several solutions, Swissport selected Host Analytics to modernize from labor-intensive Excel-based processes.

I spent about an hour with Kim to learn how Swissport uses Host Analytics. Here are a few of my key takeaways.

A Two-Phase Implementation
Previously, Swissport struggled with about 2,000 spreadsheets, roughly two for each of its 1,000 cost centers. That meant a bottom-up view with no practical way to aggregate the data. “It was pivot table or bust,” Lanham said.

After choosing Host Analytics in summer 2015, Swissport took a two-phase approach. First, it loaded ERP data into Host Analytics for budget reporting, gaining decision-making insights not possible with spreadsheets. Next, Swissport built out budget templates and began doing forecasting, including reporting on forecasts vs. actuals.

“Now that we’re in Host, we have that detailed level of data but we also have a higher-level perspective across the business,” Lanham said. And Swissport gained new trending analytics, important because of huge seasonality in the business: “Our executives were ecstatic they could look at trends year over year.”

Transformational Insights for Finance and Operations
Swissport now has breakthrough capabilities to make informed, data-driven financial and operational decisions. By incorporating both financial and operational data into Host Analytics, Swissport can see how operational KPIs are driving financial results.

“It’s just opened up a world of possibilities and decision-making that was never even dreamt of. It allows us to make better business decisions because we can compare and contrast different locations, divisions, and regions, which we couldn’t do before,” Lanham said.

“It really has changed the direction of our business and how we’re able to manage our performance,” she added. “Now anything our executive team asks for we’ve got at our fingertips. It’s been fantastic.”

Ease of Use Drives Wide Adoption
Exceptional ease of use has sped adoption across a diverse 130 users, spanning finance, accounting, the centralized operations team, general managers at airports, and even cargo ramp supervisors. Some financial power users log in daily and conduct deep data dives. Operational personnel examine how revenue stacks up against operational metrics, identifying areas for improvement.

“Host Analytics is intuitive and user friendly — it’s proven that over and over again,” Lanham said. “Anyone at any level of financial acumen can use Host to get the job done.”

New Features and Customer Support
Lanham has been especially impressed by the Host Analytics customer support team. For instance, the team noticed Swissport’s heavy workloads and proactively offered to modify the Host instance to optimize performance. “We’ve been really impressed with how Host has kept up with our needs, even before we knew we needed it,” she said.

And she’s delighted with new features rolling out regularly. “We’re excited every quarter when a new feature set is introduced,” Lanham said. “Since we went live, Host has launched new features that just continually add value to our decision-making ability.”

To learn more about the Swissport story, check out a brief video of my discussion with Kim.

Watch Video

25 responses to “Swissport Gains Transformational Insights to Optimize Finance and Operations”

  1. Ali says:

    Agree with ease of adoption and usability. Organizations converting from Excel based platform will instantly see a value in ease of bottoms up budgeting.

  2. Han Shih says:

    The scenario comparison in all dimensions is a major plus from Host Analytics. Also agree with the superb and continuous support.

  3. Lauren Mazzone says:

    Host has completely transformed our organization as well. Instead of spending our time crunching away in excel, most of our reports are automated in the system. We are now free to spend our time actually analyzing the data.

  4. Nicole Murtha says:

    I thought it very interesting to read about the amazing transformation from excel based planning and forecasting to host analytics. It is great that this was able to save time and overall increase profitability for the company.

  5. Edward Mitchell says:

    My father always said, “It is important to have the right tools for a job.”

  6. Kate says:

    “Now anything our executive team asks for we’ve got at our fingertips. It’s been fantastic.” This is my main take away, it makes models so easy to copy and change.

  7. Nikola O says:

    It is intereseting that across different industries, we (finance proffesionals) solve for same problems with same tools.

  8. Jamie says:

    Agree with ease of adoption and usability. Teams who previously used offline models will see an immediate impact and increase in productivity

  9. Rahul says:

    It’s interesting that Host can successfully cater to finance professionals across various industries.

  10. Chris Knight says:

    Reading about Swissport is like reading about my own employer except a few years ahead of us. I keep saying what makes the difference between Host analytics and other providers is the relationship from implementation to production. I spent my entire career doing various implementations of ERP and business intelligence tools and this is my first partner I’ve had.

  11. Megan says:

    Entirely agree with this comment! There is no way someone wouldn’t see value added when converting from Excel models.

  12. andrea says:

    The ease of use is crucial to widespread adoption and ultimate success. Companies can waste a lot of money on products that are not adopted or successful due to not being user friendly.

  13. Jea Dane says:

    Ease of use for our managers was definitely one of the deciding factors in going with Host.

  14. Cindy Beggs says:

    Host allows for greater efficiency in our budgeting/planning process.

  15. Lanny says:

    We implemented Host in 2 steps, started off with reporting and then rolled out the forecasting and budgeting piece. Besides the user friendly platform, it has given us so much more flexibility in forecasting (to name one thing), which helped the reporting, and essentially aided our major YE decisions.

  16. Caitlin says:

    Host has done it again! They took a company with substantial excel worksheets and consolidated with ease to help Swissport be more efficient with there time and resources. For any size company to know that your time is spent analyzing the numbers instead of trying to just put anything in by deadline is key to having a great forecast for the future.

  17. Pam says:

    When we made the switch to Host, we saw a big difference in the amount of time being spent on budgeting, actualizing and also a reduction in errors.

  18. Tina says:

    Using Host has helped my team to record and report as needed. The fact that anyone on our team can access as needed to see updates or make changes and to look back through past years is helpful in seeing trends and using data to make projections for similar situations.

  19. Jeremy Zhao says:

    It’s so important to have aggregated data easily assessible to leadership so they can make business decisions with the best available information. Variance and YoY trends are staples in any decision-making process. It’s impressive that there are 130 users across the platform!

  20. Samia Blende says:

    Host is a real time saver, which gives us more time to spend on analyzing the data, because most of our reports now are being made automatically on the system.

  21. David Cannon says:

    I agree with Jamie.

  22. Zach says:

    the continued updating of features sounds great!

  23. Nikita Javeri says:

    Host has helped us as well! The customer service has been great

  24. Monica Erin says:

    I agree that Host has helped to provide both detailed information for analysis as well as the high level view needed for reporting

  25. Hunter Scrivner says:

    Host has tremendously helped Pinterest scale.

Andrew Sevillia is a seasoned high-tech customer marketing veteran with more than 10 years of experience. As the director of customer advocacy at Host Analytics, he is responsible for leading the customer reference and advocacy program to generate awareness by creating customer success evidence, building the sales pipeline, and growing revenue for the company.

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