REVIEWER: Karen Conway, director of global product planning and pricing for Molex.
BACKGROUND: Molex is the world's second-largest manufacturer of electronic, electrical and fiber optic interconnection products and systems. We also make a variety of switches and application tooling. As a one-source supplier, we assure worldwide coordination of our resources to meet our customers' needs globally, regionally and locally. Molex employs 28,000 people and has development centers, manufacturing facilities and sales offices on five continents. We have been one of the fastest-growing companies in our industry since we opened our doors in 1938. My primary responsibilities are setting our global product pricing strategy, monitoring its effectiveness and making adjustments to optimize profit as well as revenue. Key facets of my efforts are understanding our pricing effectiveness and communicating that information to the right people (global pricing managers, senior management and the field) in a timely fashion so that they can take action.
PLATFORMS: Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Oracle database.
PROBLEM SOLVED: We were faced with multiple challenges in disseminating the right information in the appropriate manner to enable the correct people to identify and address pricing-related issues. First, the process was very time-consuming, involving the manual manipulation of data in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. I was spending nearly one week per month on that effort. Second, the information was delivered as a bundle of spreadsheets. As such, it was difficult to identify the real anomalies in the one-page tabular summary report and subsequently difficult to drill into and understand the causal relationships in the supporting detail. As a result, utilization was low despite the significant time spent each month in preparing the report. ADVIZOR addressed these challenges by automating the data manipulation process (reducing my one-week effort to a few hours each month).
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: I use ADVIZOR Analyst to conduct my own one-off analyses for on-the-spot ad hoc questions that I might receive from our regions such as: What percentage of quotes have a price band? What is the effect of market pressure on my pricing across products in various lifecycles (custom, commodity, etc.) and across manufacturing sites? How does one region compare with other regions with respect to gross margin and price band ineffectiveness? Dashboards with more narrow views of the data will eventually be rolled out to the field to enable them to understand the effect of their pricing decisions. Primary benefits include improved productivity through process automation and higher utilization of our pricing information.
STRENGTHS: One core strength of the product is that it is very easy to use on multiple fronts. Absolutely no programming or scripting is required throughout the entire process. Another core strength of ADVIZOR is that it provides rich information that was previously buried in our spreadsheets. In effect, ADVIZOR enables normal business users to become power users.
WEAKNESSES: As with any new software, there is a learning curve, although ADVIZOR has been very helpful with providing support and assistance. However, once people see the analytical power they can achieve with this tool, they become much more open to taking on the learning curve.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected ADVIZOR over other options because it was the one product that could not only dramatically reduce my own monthly effort in pulling our pricing information together, but it could also provide richer, more intuitive access to the information by more people throughout the organization.
DELIVERABLES: The primary deliverable is to finally be able to manage data analysis in the most effective manner. Additionally, I can now quickly identify relationships and trends that could not be observed in a time-effective manner with our previous methods of analysis.
VENDOR SUPPORT: ADVIZOR Solutions provided us with very effective consulting and technical support throughout the pre- and post-implementation process.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is still in the early stages, and it may be difficult to find documentation for some of the newer mathematical functions. Fortunately, much of the functionality is fairly intuitive and straightforward after a little training.
ADVIZOR Solutions, Inc.
1333 Butterfield Road
Downers Grove, IL 60515
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