What do you need to enjoy playing outdoors? Well, fun and challenging outdoor toys, of course! Like a beautiful go-kart, with which you will experience a new adventure every day. That is what CEO Henk van den Berg also thought, more than 29 years ago: “It goes without saying, that we always played outdoors at my parents’ farm. At some point, the time for playing was over and I started to think about a summer job. I decided to use my holiday to build a go-kart.”
The first BERG go-kart came into being with a combination of some metal tubes, wooden planks, wheelbarrow wheels, a chain and pedals. It already sold before completion, which awakened Berg’s entrepreneurial spirit…
In the subsequent summer holiday, Berg built about 20 go-karts, which he put up for sale in the garden in front of his parents’ farm.
His hobbyist production in a shed quickly got out of hand. It was necessary to hire additional staff, in order to meet the increasing demand. Soon thereafter, a factory was started in Wekerom, the Netherlands.
These days, BERG Toys is an international company, that sells its go-karts in over 56 countries worldwide. In addition to go-karts in several types and sizes for consumers and businesses (letting, for example, recreational use on camping sites), the BERG Toys product portfolio also consists of other outdoor toys to enjoy being active, such as trampolines, wagons, walking and recumbent bikes, as well as a variety of accessories.
All products are conceived and developed in the main office in Ede, the Netherlands. BERG go-karts are available in various designs. Their sturdy and striking appearance is partially based on renowned car and tractor brands, like, for example, Ferrari, BMW, Ford, Jeep and John Deere. To achieve this, licences are obtained from the manufacturers in question, after which the go-karts get their brand image (logo, decorative trims and colours).
BERG wants as many kids as possible to actively enjoy playing outdoors, which is why the youngest among them are not forgotten. The Junior product line was developed especially with them in mind, thus ensuring that their first go-kart is ready for them at a very young age. BERG wants to contribute to the development of children worldwide, whilst focussing on their environment, which manifests itself in the company’s mission and vision.
We spoke with Ferry Roozenboom, who has been active as a business controller with Berg Toys since March 2015.
Why is a typical Dutch product like a go-kart manufactured in China?
Ferry: “That was a necessary step, to stay ahead of our competitors. They do not manufacture in the Netherlands, and therefore can deliver at lower costs. Which is why we decided in 2014 to move our entire production to China, where a number of Dutch employees work and closely supervise the production process, thus ensuring that we can continue to deliver the high quality that our customers have become accustomed to and expect from us.
We are currently working hard on optimising production, in particular packaging and shipping of our products, to ensure that they can withstand the journey to our customers.”
When it comes to go-karts, BERG Toys is the worldwide industry leader. How did you manage that?
Ferry: “The success story of our go-karts is a combination of factors. Top quality and safety are paramount, followed by an innovative and exclusive design. In addition, BERG go-karts are extremely durable. It’s not just kids that love to drive them, older people also think that they’re mighty fine. BERG Toys offers products for all age categories, resulting in a wide sales market.
The same quality, safety and durability is also found in our trampolines. They are fully coated, thus preventing corrosion. The springs are well-shielded and sturdy safety nets are included, so you can jump on them to your heart’s content.”
Operating successfully worldwide requires efficient and clear provision of internal information. How is that done at BERG Toys?
Ferry: “The ICT department of our main office has been using Dynamics AX since 2014, with support from HSO, our partner. Our US office works with QuickBooks, an online ERP environment. Where possible, business processes are processed within the ERP environment, which runs on servers located at our main office.”
How do you use Exsion?
Ferry: “Because we want to be able to create reports without having to hire consultants, we use a combination of Power Pivot and Exsion AX. Where possible, Power Pivot reports are phased out and replaced by their Exsion counterparts. This is primarily due to the performance and speed of reports made with Power Pivot. Previously, refreshment of reports was always done at night, because it was very time-consuming. Since the arrival of Exsion, it only takes a number of minutes. The majority of currently used reports are financial in nature, for example, the balance sheet and profit and loss account, as well as a debtor report per sales manager, including the number of days outstanding.”
Does this cover the internal information need, or do you also create reports that are used for other purposes?
Ferry: “All standard reports are available now. In the coming period, we will primarily work on creating reports to direct operational management. Within BERG Toys, there is a tremendous need for performance analysis at a lower level.
Think of, for example, analysis of why sales revenue is lower than expected in certain countries and/or certain periods. There is a daily need for further-detailed information that can be presented into cross-sections in several ways.
Given the increasing need for information, changes in the Dynamics AX environment are necessary. This optimisation round will also make it easier to transfer data to reports.”
How do you like working with Dynamics AX and Exsion?
Ferry: “Mastering Exsion is relatively easy. Because I gained experience with it at Bouwmaat Nederland, my previous employer, I already had a head start in creating reports. Furthermore, our ICT department is quite familiar with the database structure of Dynamics AX, due to developing Power Pivot reports.”
This case is taken from the book ‘Reporting Refreshed – Financial Experts Speak’