Kimberly-Clark opts for Anaplan over Workday for predictive workforce planning

The tissue manufacturer turned to Anaplan’s cloud-based solution for workforce planning despite being an existing Workday customer, and is already seeing demand for its predictive capabilities across the business


Kimberly-Clark, the company which manufactures a huge amount of paper-based consumer products, including the Kleenex and Huggies brands, turned to Anaplan over rival Workday when it wanted a simple headcount two years ago, and has since expanded into more predictive workforce planning.

Now that its models are in place on the Anaplan platform the company is able to better project retirements and employee churn, and the tool is already being eyed up by other departments like finance and supply chain for its powerful capabilities.

© @KCCCorp
© @KCCCorp

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At Anaplan's Hub conference in San Francisco this week Jim Miranda, manager of global workforce planning and analytics at Kimberly-Clark, told Computerworld UK that he turned to the tool around two years ago when he was tasked with giving the chief financial officer (CFO) an accurate headcount following the spin-off of what is now Halyard Health.

Before Anaplan, Miranda had to contend with departmental headcount being stuck either in Excel spreadsheets or even on paper. "We had one group in Chicago that I will never forget. They had their personnel plan in a spiral notebook and I was like: 'can I at least get a photocopy?' I mean how am I supposed to aggregate this data across the organisation if it is in a notebook?" So Miranda was tasked with aggregating all of this data into a single model within Anaplan.

Anaplan vs Workday

Kimberly-Clark initially adopted Anaplan in its Russian unit back in 2013 for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and it was soon adopted enterprise-wide for the same purpose, meaning Miranda inherited the tool when he joined.

When asked why he didn’t use fellow cloud SaaS vendor Workday’s own workforce planning capabilities, considering Kimberly-Clark was an existing customer of Workday’s core HR system, Miranda said: "We looked at the Workday tool, because they profess to have the capability", but that it "wasn’t ready for prime time and is still not".

So Miranda ended up opting for Anaplan because "we found from a truly planning and forecasting perspective, Anaplan was the one tool which was flexible enough to do what we needed, and frankly it was cost-effective."

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He added: "For me, Workday has done a very good job at what they do but I think in a lot of ways they have become unfocused on their core differentiators and are trying to incorporate all of these things in order to be a one-stop shop. Workday was started by the old PeopleSoft folks and I think they have got into that PeopleSoft habit of trying to be all things to all people."

Kimberly-Clark also has recently implemented Workday Recruiting, a move Miranda is clearly not a huge fan of. "From my perspective, I will tell you that we went from Taleo, which is absolutely best-in-class, to Workday which we can suffer through and make work," he said.

Use cases

Kimberly-Clark has expanded the way it uses Anaplan over the past few years now that the core model is in place, and one thing the tool helped with was more accurately predicting retirement risk in the United States.

"Our average retirement age for a skilled worker is 60.1 years, something like 70 percent of our skilled tradesmen are over age 55, so within five years 70 percent of that workforce is going to go away, which was a scary number," Miranda said.

"What we have been able to do with Anaplan is building predictive models that tell us not just that somewhere in this five-year window people are going to retire but take data from past retirements and profiles to identify that this specific person's risk of retirement is 37 percent this year and will be 48 percent next year."

This gives operations the chance to better identify who they will need to replace in the short term.

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Kimberly-Clark has also been able to clean up the open positions across the whole business after Anaplan allowed them to better audit their headcount.

Miranda explained: "Kimberly-Clark has 45,000 employees and the first time we added open positions to our model we had 19,000. We looked at that and said no way do we have 65,000 needed positions, so something is not right."

That led to a data clean up which did away with 16,000 of those open positions, which "has sped up the Workday system and people now have confidence that positions are actually open and not just noise in the system," Miranda said.

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