Three core elements of the Group’s internal management system
The Group’s planning, management and monitoring activities focus on optimizing the central performance indicators described above. The core elements of the Group’s internal management system are:
- Group planning
- Group-wide, IT-enabled financial reporting
- Investment controlling
Regular update of Group planning
Group planning takes the form of rolling planning over a three-year horizon. It is prepared each year as part of the Group-wide budget process taking into account the current business situation.
Based on the Managing Board’s targets, the distribution companies prepare complete earnings and investment budgets for their respective sales markets or business units. A similar planning model is used for trade net working capital. Taking this as a basis, the development and sourcing units derive medium-term capacity planning. The planning of the business units is centrally tested for plausibility and aggregated into overall corporate planning.
Annual planning is updated at regular intervals to factor in the actual development of business and the existing opportunities and risks in order to allow a forecast of the consolidated earnings that can be expected in the current year. Based on the expected development of cash flow, the Group’s Treasury department prepares a monthly liquidity forecast. This permits early recognition of financial risks and the adoption of measures concerning financing and investment requirements. In addition, liquidity planning differentiated by currency is used as a basis for currency hedging, among other things. Report on Risks and Opportunities, Financial Risks
Group-wide reporting focuses on analysis of early indicators
The Managing Board and management of Group subsidiaries are informed about the development of business operations through standardized, IT-enabled reports of varying granularity. This reporting system is supplemented by ad hoc analyses as necessary. Actual data compiled by the Group-wide reporting system are compared against budget data each month. Deviations from target must be explained and planned countermeasures presented. Developments with a material impact on the Group’s earnings have to be immediately reported to the Managing Board. In addition, particular attention is paid to the analysis of early indicators deemed suitable for obtaining an indication of the future development of business. In this context, order intake, the performance of the replenishment business and retail comp store sales are analyzed at least on a weekly basis. In addition, benchmarking against relevant competitors is performed at regular intervals.
Investment controlling secures Group’s profitability targets
Investment controlling appraises planned and realized investment projects with respect to their contribution to the Group’s profitability targets. This ensures that projects are only launched if a positive contribution to increasing the Group’s value performance can be expected. In addition, subsequent analyses are conducted at regular intervals to verify the profitability of projects that have already been realized. Appropriate countermeasures are taken in the event of deviations from the profitability targets originally set.