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CMR’s Automated Special Pricing Authorization Tool Accelerates Swire Coca-Cola’s Responsiveness to Channel Partners
Computer Market research’s special pricing authorization tool is a critical strategic tool used by many manufacturers’ distribution sales organization throughout the world.
special pricing consideration is traditionally granted to manufacturers’ most loyal and strategically important channel partners and customers who need to reduce their overall bills of materials. Special pricing strategies are also used to meet competition, move finished inventory from warehouses and expand a vendor’s market share.
We needed to upgrade our pricing tool to a more modern technology, and CMR was able to customize their Special Pricing Authorization tool to meet our complex channel requirements. They provide us with excellent support services and a much better user experience for our sales team.”
Teresa Martinez, Senior Analyst, Swire Coca-Cola
About Swire Coca-Cola
Headquartered in Hong Kong, Swire is an international conglomerate with a wide range of commercial activities. In 1978, the company expanded its Asia-based soft drink business by purchasing the franchise rights for Coca-Cola bottling in Salt Lake City. Over the years, the company continued to acquire surrounding franchised bottlers and distributors, and is now the fourth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the USA, serving ten western states.
Today, the company’s US-based bottling operation is called Swire Coca-Cola, USA, and it operates two production facilities and 27 distribution centers. In 2008, Swire Coca-Cola was Beverage Industry’s Bottler of the Year. It produces and distributes many other beverages in addition to Coca-Cola, including bottled and enhanced water, energy and sports drinks, juices, teas, and mixers.
One of the challenges facing Swire Coca-Cola was an increasing need for a more efficient and flexible way to authorize special pricing requests from their sales force. Their previous application was out of date and no longer had support for upgrades. In 2009, Swire Coca-Cola selected CMR to update their special pricing request process, and provide long-term support services.
“CMR’s technology and support have been invaluable to us,” explained Teresa Martinez, Senior Programmer/Analyst at Swire Coca-Cola. “Whenever we need customizations or enhancements, CMR is excellent at responding to our needs, and the modifications are quickly moved into production.”
Faster Request Authorizations
CMR’s Special Pricing Request tool is known at Swire Coca-Cola as the Pricing Authorization Tool (PAT), a highly-customized implementation. Coca-Cola salespeople log into the Swire-branded CMR web module and enter special pricing requests for customers within their territories. Requests include special pricing for holiday promotions, sports events promotions, or weekly specials offered by supermarket chains.
The system automatically creates an email containing the details of the special pricing request, and the message is sent to an authorizing manager or executive. The authorizer can approve, disapprove, or modify the request by clicking on a hyperlink within the email, without having to log into the full application.
“Since we started using our CMR-powered Pricing Authorization Tool,” Martinez said, “we’ve been able to push pricing requests through much faster and, in turn, increase our field sales.”
As one would expect, Swire Coca-Cola has a massive database of customers, locations, products, and pricing information that requires frequent updates. CMR implemented a method of data interchange to simplify the update process and provide salespeople with the most current information. Swire now submits changes to the CMR host system by uploading files to a secure FTP site. The following day, CMR pushes the updated information back to Swire’s data center.
“We frequently update our customer and pricing data,” Martinez added. “Thanks to our daily data exchange with CMR, we know both systems are in sync, and our sales teams have the latest information.”
Swire Coca-Cola has chosen to perform data interchanges on a daily basis, but CMR’s flexible Special Pricing Authorization tool allows for updates at any interval – even hourly updates – if a client wants tighter synchronization.
Reporting and Mobility
CMR built a powerful reporting feature to run within the Swire Coca-Cola application. Based on client-defined parameters, data can easily be pulled and configured into a number of different reporting formats, such as PDF or Excel. CMR also designed custom pricing letters. Once the special pricing request has been approved, a detailed PDF letter is generated for the salesperson to present to the customer.
Another significant enhancement to Swire Coca-Cola’s special pricing request process is a mobile view of the request. The authorizer can receive an email request on their smartphone or tablet that directs them to a mobile view of the request form. This view displays a simplified image of all data required to approve, deny, or modify the request. The authorizer no longer needs to be sitting at a computer to authorize special pricing requests.
If an authorizer is on vacation (or otherwise unavailable to receive and approve the email request), CMR’s tool automatically delegates the approval to the next preselected authorizing executive. The mobile view allows requests to appear wherever an authorizer has email access, thus increasing approval flexibility and improving turnaround time.
“Channel management is critical in our industry,” Martinez added. “CMR’s Special Pricing Request Module allows us to optimize our pricing schedules to remain competitive. They really understand channel management, pricing, and all of the complexities of product distribution.”