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Surviving supply chain turmoil: pricing management in the age of disruption

Wed, Nov 11, 2020

In the era of pandemic, agile pricing teams are ditching manual processes and embracing the complexity of modern supply chains...

To say that 2020 has been a year of disruption might be something of an understatement. And it's ongoing.

As the Covid-19 virus has swept across the globe, the economic turmoil is as clear as the human cost. From factory shutdowns to sweeping trade restrictions, less planes in the air to less space on cargo ships, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything, and global supply chains are among those paying the price.

Now, experts are forecasting major stock shortages and retailers are naming plunging stock levels as “the number one challenge” they are facing over the coming months, as supply chains buckle under the pandemic stress, and the run-on effects are felt by society at large.

For shoppers it all spells inconvenience, but for retailers, distributors and manufacturers, unstable supply chains spell something worse: economic risk. If nothing else, Covid-19 has exposed this risk and shown us just how vulnerable international supply chains are in the global age.

With uncertainty the new normal, competition high and margins smaller than ever, the pressure is on managers, CFOs, and CTOs to truly master their pricing, promotions and rebate strategies.

Supply chain strategy and the ability to execute are the keys to success in a post-Covid world.

So, what's the hold up?

The rising demand for pricing flexibility is exposing the true cost of legacy systems.

Working remotely? You may have found yourself forced to adopt hastily-planned stop-gap measures to support process approvals. Manual approvals and spreadsheets shared over email have replaced proper processes.

And the legacy systems still in operation on-premise are often not much better. Manually intensive, error prone - or simply too slow to reflect the changing state of the market - out of date pricing software is seeing opportunities lost, along with time and money.

In the current economy, supply chain agility and resilience is not just a nice to have, but a need.

New technology

In times of change, agility equals resilience. Luckily, businesses everywhere know they have to work smarter and are actively seeking out ways to do so. Are you keeping up?

Real-time benefits in the cloud

Increasingly, pricing managers are looking to flexible cloud-based approaches to inform their decision-making and better manage revenue across the supply chain.

And there are clear advantages to cloud-based pricing: from instantaneous price calculations to instant pricing changes across multiple sales channels, to faster, more-informed decision-making.

Hyper-flexible cloud-based pricing functionality also lets pricing managers:

  • Adjust purchase or sales prices in seconds
  • See bottom line margin at the time of transaction
  • Centralise price management and price execution for any sales channel
  • Provide more compelling incentives for volume-based purchases
  • Predict rebate revenue or expense before the transactions have occurred 
  • Grow margin and keep customers happier

Centralise and manage pricing

For virtual workers struggling with make-shift systems and processes, cloud-based pricing can offer a solution.

A single, centralised pricing system bridges the gap between physically separated colleagues, establishing better workflows, and creating a single source pricing truth that is available across the whole team.

Similarly, when pricing processes require a high degree of manual data entry, the risk of incorrect data entering the process increases. A cloud platform can automate much of this data entry, minimising input errors and allowing spreadsheet-centric processes to be (thankfully) retired.

And for those exploring eCommerce opportunities, cloud-based pricing can support that new channel, bringing instant, complex, dynamic pricing to your offering - without additional administration demands.

Embrace complexity

Modern/agile pricing managers need to embrace the complexities of modern supply chains - not just survive them.

Short term interruption of supply chains isn’t going anywhere and neither is disruption in general.

So what better moment to recognise the shortcomings of current purchasing systems and processes? What better moment to reduce dependence on single suppliers, or look anew at the advantages offered by modern pricing tech?

It’s time to ditch those manual processes and legacy systems and embrace the complexity of modern supply chains.

Want to grow supply chain agility? Your business isn’t alone. Explore how to increase flexibility, speed and margin visibility – we've put together a helpful ebook for businesses like yours.

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About Flintfox

At Flintfox, we have over 30 years of global experience in helping businesses master their supply chain. Learn more about Flintfox pricing and rebate software built to power manufacturing, distribution and retail enterprises.