Anaplan & Twelve: Leading the Way to a Smarter Supply Chain

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BY: AUSTIN Pittman, Advisory Services Consultant at TWELVE CONSULTING GROUP

Once a Visionary, Now a Leader

Gartner announced last month that Anaplan’s Connected Planning Platform (NYSE: PLAN) has officially become a “Leader” in their published ranking of software tools for S&OP – Sales and Operations Planning – a discipline that marries predicted and actual sales with the activities needed to produce and deliver what was sold to customers. This means that Anaplan’s team has a strong and complete vision for the future in Supply Chain Management and has the ability to execute on that vision. For leaders considering moving to a next-generation cloud planning platform, this is great news. Anaplan is now recognized as a Leader in the key areas of Finance, Sales Performance Management and Supply Chain.  

Twelve has long understood Anaplan’s outsized value in Supply Chain & Operations, delivering over 33 projects in Commercial Planning resulting in reduced planning cycles, lowered inventory and warehousing costs and better collaboration across functions and even among strategic partners. Now, we’ve taken it to the next level. We’ve built a specialized team designed to help our customers build more integrated, connected supply chains with Anaplan.


Magic Quadrants Mean Business

Gartner is a company that, among other things, assesses and ranks enterprise software based on their vision and ability to execute in a given category (for example, S&OP). The matrix that results is called a Magic Quadrant. It’s an assessment that leaders across the world trust and utilize to make important buying decisions. Anaplan’s recent movement into a Leader position means that it has both the scale of vision, and the strong ability to execute, to be a great option for enterprise supply chain teams at scale.

Twelve Builds an All-Star Team

Twelve Consulting Group is the most experienced and expert Anaplan Partner in the ecosystem: we’ve completed over 300 projects for nearly 100 clients. What we’ve realized though is that with Anaplan’s broad capabilities, creating specialized teams can deliver uncommon value. To that end, we’ve been hard at work developing a group focused solely on supply chain management and operations. Twelve’s partners tapped Jordan Hardy, a chemical engineer-turned-Anaplan Solution Architect, to build and lead this special group. She is now a Managing Consultant in our Minneapolis Headquarters with a team of experienced Anaplan Consultants and Solution Architects.

How Did We Build the Team?

Over the last several years, we’ve experienced dramatically increased demand for Anaplan by supply chain leaders. It’s clear that the platform not only has strong technical and operational capabilities, but is price competitive and has the ability to move beyond supply chain, making it an attractive option. As demand has grown, so has our experience, expertise, and finally, our first function-specific team.

Recruitment for our Supply Chain team starts the same as every other Twelve function: rigorous interviews for both culture fit and technical capability. In this case, we also seek diverse backgrounds with supply chain experience from across industries and in differing functional roles to ensure our perspective is both broad and deep. Most importantly, we seek problem solvers and tinkerers. People who stay up late to figure out logistical ‘puzzles’ and who come in early to try to break their own solutions.


What Have they Done?

Our Supply Chain team has tackled over 30 Anaplan projects, mostly focused on Commercial Planning. They have improved demand forecasts, created advanced Statistical Forecasting models, and enhanced the connections between sales, marketing, demand planning, supply planning, and finance teams. They have reduced inventory costs, reduced warehousing costs, and cut many days off of planning cycle times. Our Supply Chain team has better connected our customers with their key partners and promoted real-time data sharing through technology. And last, but not least, they have allowed industry experts at many of our clients to elevate their own performance: to focus not only on the production of plans and cleansing of data, but to tackle high-level analyses and chase big problems.

Why Does this Matter for our Clients?

The result for our clients: an innovative, knowledgeable, and proven team of Anaplan experts who also excel in Supply Chain concepts and practice. We’ve taken exceptional people, brought them through Twelve’s rigorous proprietary training program, and thrown them into some of the toughest challenges we can find. Jordan and her team continue to grow, innovate, and deliver excellent results for Twelve’s clients.  

Jordan’s team would love to help you tackle your own Supply Chain Management challenges – it’s what they do. From demand planning, to supply planning, inventory management, trade promotions, cost organization, to end-to-end S&OP, we are ready to be your partner. To start a conversation, please e-mail us at or fill out a contact form.

Employee Spotlight: Pete Amundson

Pete Amundson joined the Twelve team this September as Head of Delivery. While Pete may be new to Twelve, he is no stranger to the ecosystem - he was a leader in the Anaplan Customer Success Organization for four years.  As Head of Delivery, Pete’s role is balancing Twelve’s people, customers, culture, and business fundamentals through focusing on customer health, people development, utilization, employee engagement, and hiring (yes! we are growing!!). All of this on top of being a new dad as of October 2018 and making the move from Wisconsin to Minnesota in December 2018, Pete is surely not bored either!  Read on to learn about my conversation with Pete.

Employee Spotlight: Jordan Hardy

Driven, problem solver, collaborative, team player, and dedicated are just a few words that describe Jordan Hardy who is one of Twelve’s first five employees and a respected leader both inside and outside of Twelve.  Jordan graduated from the University of Iowa, where she was a member of the Division 1 gymnastics team (go gym hawks!!) while earning a degree in engineering.  After college, she took a role as a sales engineer at a large organization, and learned that she wanted to be a part of a company that had a great culture, where she could make a difference and grow and develop her career – which is why she took the leap to join Twelve!  Over the past 4 years Jordan has been a part of the growth of both Twelve and Anaplan – and has been instrumental to the success in many of Twelve’s largest commercial planning customers.  Jordan’s passion for growing and developing people, solving complicated challenges, making her clients happy and giving back to the community is evident.  I had the pleasure to talk to her about her career growth, the changes she has been a part of at Twelve and what she is focused on today!

Transform with Twelve – Why Every Project Should Begin with Advisory Services

Transform with Twelve – Why every project should begin with Advisory Services

Business Transformation is no small undertaking. Whether you are navigating the organizational matrix, developing a roadmap, communicating the vision, establishing timelines, etc. there is a litany of issues that can prevent transformation success. Twelve Consulting Group has built an Advisory Services practice for this very purpose. Twelve Advisory Services combines broad Anaplan and technology expertise with experience leading transformation as a trusted partner at organizations of all sizes.

Why ZBB Now

Tom Trachtman, Senior Consultant


In the most recent Twelve Consulting Group blog post we outlined why zero-based-budgeting (ZBB) is a challenge. The idea of budgeting from the ground up, across an organization is daunting. Though ZBB may be laborious there is no better time than now to implement zero based budgeting. Why?

The scrutiny of public companies by investors is at an all time high.

Ever since the 2008 financial crisis there has been increasing pressure to return cash to shareholders. This scrutiny is exemplified by a different news story each day regarding investors taking an activist role in public companies. Activist investors can be a costly distraction to companies (It is estimated the P&G spent $35M in a 2016 proxy fight with activists WSJ), and the best way to keep investors at bay is an efficient cost structure enabling strong shareholder returns and visibility.  To that end, companies are constantly seeking how to better manage their costs and eliminate unproductive spend for which there is no better tool than zero based budgeting.

Your competition has implemented zero based budgeting and seen dramatic results.

Companies large and small have implemented zero based budgeting and are recognizing annual savings as a result. For example, it is estimated that Kraft Heinz is saving $280M annually through their ZBB initiative WSJ 2. No business wants to be the laggard of their industry. As more and more companies implement zero based budgeting, and reap the year over year cost savings, a traditional “annual inflation” budgeting process is not only an obsolete practice, but also detrimental to your success.  

New Technologies are eliminating the historical pains for zero-based budgeting.

The concept of zero based budgeting is intimidating, as it requires a large number of stakeholders navigating the organizational matrix etc. Recognizing these obstacles, leading technology companies, such as Anaplan, are making the process easier than ever before. Cloud based platforms can enable real time consolidation, eliminate off-line reconciliation and allow a wide user base to operate in the system concurrently.  The ZBB accelerator developed by Twelve Consulting Group leverages Anaplan’s cloud based platform to create a seamless and turnkey process for every budgeting cycle and tracking variances to actual spend throughout the year.

The time to implement zero based budgeting is now. To learn more about how Twelve Consulting Group and Anaplan can help you build a zero based budgeting tool in as little as 90 days, please contact Kelly Phillips ( or schedule time with our team at

Four Reasons Why ZBB is Hard (And Why Anaplan Can Help!)

Henry Raether, Consultant


In a mature organization, superfluous costs can easily hide from view, eroding both profits and opportunities for growth. Traditional budgeting involves applying a modest increase to last year’s budget and closing the books. At its worst, this practice leads departments to spend 100% of their budgets to avoid “losing” dollars.

In response, cost-conscious businesses - especially those in highly competitive, mature markets and low-margin industries - are increasingly turning to a new take on the decades-old practice of Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB) to manage costs more strategically. In contrast to traditional budgeting, which is focused on incremental spending, ZBB is part of a broad effort to reduce costs from the bottom and strategically reinvest the savings. Cloud-based planning technologies enable this “new ZBB” practice, which has demonstrated dramatic results and impressive cost savings.

But, it’s still really hard to do…

Kraft-Heinz, one of 3G Capital’s primary investment “projects,” recently began saving an estimated $280 million annually by infusing ZBB into their operating culture (WSJ). However, despite this and other success stories, cost cutting and ZBB remain difficult and often unpopular (many finance professionals still carry wounds from the burn-the-furniture campaigns of corporate past).

Yes, ZBB is hard, but new technologies are alleviating old pains, making the practice more feasible and less obtrusive than ever. Below, Twelve Consulting Group has compiled 4 critical challenges to implementing Zero-Based Budgeting and how technologies like Anaplan can help.

1.    Building an organization-wide budget from Zero – Starting from zero can be arduous and time consuming; but the exercise of understanding costs and what drives them from a unit volume and price basis can be well worth the upside. Such a herculean task as budgeting from zero, for many businesses, means resetting thousands of spreadsheets each time the “price X quantity” equations for constructing the budget are updated. Therefore, completing the budget can take many months and cause too many nights and weekends of additional work for finance departments.

a.     Anaplan eliminates the need for consolidation or 'spreadsheet resets.' As a cloud-based platform, logic is developed in one place and is applied across all users in real-time. This can save months of work and wasted productivity per year, and reduce the ‘morale drop’ consistent with historic ZBB practices.

2.    Sharing information across a huge user base – Budgeting at the ground level means involving employees across every region, department, and office – if operating in spreadsheets, this is a surefire recipe for critical errors. In fact, though about 90% of users think their spreadsheets are error-free, as many as 90% of spreadsheets contain critical errors (remember Fannie Mac?).

a.     Anaplan supports massive scale, allowing concurrent use along with dynamic, real-time editing, reporting, and error detection. Anaplan also eliminates the need for the saving, versioning, sending, and consolidating process most finance professionals perform in spreadsheets. Data is live, collaborative, and can be accessed from anywhere, all in the cloud.

3.    Facilitating conversations (backed by data) across an organization - How do you slice data across tens of cost types and tens or hundreds of organizations, such that any budget owner can make sense of her data? How can we facilitate the communication necessary in a matrixed accountability structure?

a.     Anaplan is multi-dimensional. This means that costs can be viewed from the lowest level of detail to the highest executive level in a single click. It also means that individuals accountable for 1) Budget centers and 2) cost types can view the same cost data from a different lens in real-time to ensure that all points of view are understood and backed by facts.

4.    Connected, Real-Time Forecasting – Now that you have a highly detailed budgeting process, how do you compare actuals, run forecasts, and execute what-if scenarios? Connected planning using big data can be a nightmare in traditional spreadsheets.

a.     Anaplan seamlessly connects many data sources to produce live reporting and forecasting. This can mean comparing the organization’s budget to monthly actuals, comparing actuals to targets, and understanding the impact of current expenditures to the annual forecast, all in real-time. This connectivity enables leaders to make better decisions, faster.

Anaplan's potential to drive transformation is still being discovered, and the tool is being adopted by progressive organizations around the world. As industries are rapidly disrupted and redefined, companies seeking to retain a competitive advantage will continue to seek out revolutionary solutions to old challenges.

For more information and to access our ZBB White Paper, join us for a live Webinar on July 19th: Fueling Growth with Driver-Based Budgeting! Register here.

To learn more about how Twelve Consulting Group and Anaplan can help you execute Zero-Based Budgeting at your organization, reach out to Kelly Phillips (, or schedule 1–on-1 time with our team at

Partner Spotlight: John Wihtol

Partner Spotlight: John Wihtol

Once an early employee and head of Anaplan’s Special Operations unit, which was deployed to solve key clients’ issues, John Wihtol has spent the last several years helping to build a culture of excellence as a Partner and Solution Architect at Twelve Consulting Group. We are lucky to have him. Besides possessing a talent for rapidly processing vast amounts of information, he is a skilled mentor to Twelvers and a trusted advisor to clients on the arduous path to data-driven decision making.

Growing With A Growing Company

Growing With A Growing Company

To put it bluntly, I got very lucky. The opportunity to work at Twelve Consulting Group did not result from years of preparation or educational background, but instead from the right connections in my network, the willingness of Jill King to bring me onboard as the first employee and the happenstance that I was looking for a career change. It was a fortuitous combination of different events that brought me to Twelve, and I haven’t looked back.