TFE Sutter Home

Planning Time Reduced from Months to Minutes with Budget Loader

Customer Profile

Started in 1947 by brothers John and Mario Trinchero in St. Helena, California, Trinchero Family Estates (TFE) is now the 4th largest winery in the U.S., with 10,000 acres of vineyards throughout California. TFE offers a growing premium portfolio of more than 22 wine brands, including Sutter Home, one of the best-selling wine brands in the U.S., and Ménage a Trois Red, a best-selling red wine. TFE sells to a growing distributor base across the U.S. and internationally.


After upgrading SAP, TFE began using COPA for the first time. Large volumes of budget data were loaded into SAP manually, and any changes made to sales or customer information were also made manually. Calculations and planning layouts were cumbersome and time-consuming. It took up to two months just to clean up the numbers and upload the data, severely delaying the yearly budgeting process.

“We were having difficulty loading our cost data and some of our other volume data into COPA,” says Dale Hopkins, Senior IT Manager, Business Process. “If there were a lot of SKUs, it took a lot of time for the calculations to process within COPA, going between planning versions. If we had to make changes, sometimes the calculations could take up to two days to process.”

“Budget Loader allows us to get large volumes of data into SAP quickly, look at our calculations and then easily make additional modifications.”
– Dale Hopkins, Senior IT Manager, Business Process


After seeing Z Option’s Budget Loader at an SAP Financials conference, Hopkins was intrigued. “I could see the value of the product and the time we would save on the budget planning cycle,” he recalls. After evaluating the product with TFE’s controller and planning analyst, Budget Loader was purchased.

Once discovered, Hopkins says that he “didn’t consider anything else. We were pretty impressed right up front. It was easy to use and I knew Budget Loader would improve our planning processes all the way down to customer and SKU.”
At first, TFE had very large spreadsheets which took a long time to process. Over time, they have modified processes to help expedite the data, and all exports now go to one spreadsheet. Cost and volume data is pulled out of SAP into a Cognos planning tool, manipulated, and once approved, exported into Excel then loaded into SAP. Royalty information and expense items are loaded into a Budget Loader template, as well.


Easy Interface with COPA: According to Hopkins, “Budget Loader really helped expedite loading the volume and any related expenses and populate those fields into the COPA tables directly, without having to go through the time-consuming detailed calculations.”

Simplified Entries: Budget Loader helps by breaking an entry down into fewer line items. Testing reveals any issues and pinpoints which line item needs to be fixed. “They were not easily locatable or fixable just using the SAP screens. Now, if the pricing is wrong, it can be fixed quickly,” Hopkins says.

Quick and Easy Corrections: Through Budget Loader, data is analyzed and issues corrected quickly. Customer and pricing data is loaded into one plan version and cost calculations to another plan version. “Budget Loader speeded up the changes we needed to make,” Hopkins reports.


Fast Data Loading: TFE does planning in SAP once per year, and data is loaded by month, by customer, and by product. “In all, it takes about 10-15 minutes to load more than 15,000 lines of data,” Hopkins says.

“Budget Loader has reduced our processing time by 80 percent. We know we can make changes and get them back into SAP in a much more timely fashion.”
– Dale Hopkins, Senior IT Manager, Business Process

Business Benefits

“Fast and easy processes are the new normal,” says Hopkins. The KE30 reports allow them to see changes and resolve issues quickly. “Budget Loader saves our Planning Analyst a lot of time, allowing her to deal with more complicated tasks,” Hopkins concludes.

Budget Loader also helps the company analyze a plan and provide it to their executive level more quickly. “We get visibility sooner and we are able to make the changes faster,” Hopkins says. “That alone has been the biggest win for us.”

“It has reduced our budget planning time by two to three months,” Hopkins reports. “Our planning is now completed before the end of the fiscal year. The freed-up time allows us to manage other areas besides planning.”

“I’ve always been impressed – not only with the product itself but the Z Option staff who support it,” Hopkins continues. “The product is good value and has saved us a lot of time and money over the years.”

He adds, “I can’t even imagine doing our budget planning without Budget Loader. The manual process was very painful for the analysts – to the point that they considered going outside of SAP to do our planning. Budget Loader allowed us to continue to use the SAP planning solution.”


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