Business Products Giant Implements PROS Big Data Solutions to Outperform
Customer Success Study
Business Products Giant Implements PROS
Big Data Solutions to Outperform
Unlock Your Data • Unleash Your Sales
• Multi-billion dollar business products wholesaler
• Distributes 40,000+ products to thousands of
companies in the U.S. and Canada.
• Managing pricing changes and reflecting those
changes in each of its customer contracts.
• PROS Pricing Dashboards and Charts.
• 100 users and more than 200 dealers.
• Identified millions in revenue in first 25 days.
• Dealers have been able to grow sales by five percent
and profits by more than 100 basis point.
A leading business products wholesaler
in North America was on a mission.
The multi-billion dollar company
distributes more than 40,000 business
products to thousands of independent
companies around the US and Canada.
These resellers range from small ‘mom
and pop’ stores to large sophisticated
dealers that sell everything from
consumable office supplies, furniture
and electronics, to cleaning and
breakroom supplies. The company has
a long history of ensuring the highest
quality products and services to its
resellers. So it’s no wonder that to
grow in one of the toughest economic
climates in years, and turn around
seven years of declining margins,
company executives wanted to
implement a pricing strategy that would
deliver the best prices for its customers
as well its own bottom line.
“We wanted a pricing solution to
provide us with insight into our data
– about our customers, our products
and our markets,” says one company
executive. “We needed greater
visibility into margins and the ability
to react quickly to pricing changes.
We also wanted to provide those
same capabilities to our top dealers,
something that they wouldn’t have been
able to afford on their own.”
“We knew PROS had the technology and best practices
to support a pricing strategy that could improve profits
and margins,” says a company executive. “In fact, we
identified millions in revenue improvements within the
first 25 days.”
Given the sheer multitude of product
offerings from a wide variety of
vendors, one of the biggest challenges
the company faced was keeping up
with pricing changes and reflecting
those changes in each of its customer
contracts. Processes were fairly manual,
relying on custom-coded spreadsheets,
which made it difficult to analyze
prices and set them in a timely fashion.
Ultimately, execs wanted to answer this
question: Are we setting the best prices,
and how do we know?
These were the company’s key pricing
• Establish a single system for managing
• Formulate strategies that drive pricing
• Become more nimble in executing
price changes in the field.
• Analyze historical data to determine
how to price more competitively.
• Uncover pricing improvement
• Adhere to pricing constraints across all
products and contracts.
• Minimize pricing errors due to faulty
The Business Challenge
The wholesaler looked to PROS revenue
and cost best practices based on nearly
three decades of pricing leadership to
help turn the company’s pricing situation
around. A phased implementation
approach provided the greatest ROI
in the shortest amount of time, and
enabled the company to grow at its
PHASE 1: Provide Transparency
into Current Systems and
Visibility into Performance
First, the company implemented PROS
pricing dashboards and charts to
more than 100 users, including sales
reps, divisional VPs, merchandising
employees, pricing teams and
executives. This enabled them to
analyze key operational data to identify
margin improvement opportunities.
“Before the install was completed, we
had tremendous insight into our data
that we never had before,” says the
company executive. “We were able to
quickly do analysis on a vast amount of
data to identify and explain historical
trends, the impact of market dynamics
and pricing anomalies,” he adds.
In fact, the company identified millions
in revenue improvements within the first
25 days. This included unearthing a
very large rebate of $360,000 that was
mistakenly sent to a customer, as well as
identifying products priced below cost
and fixing process breakdowns.
Similarly, they rolled out the solution to
their top dealers, enabling them to gain
insight into how they could improve
pricing. “We created a new online tool
for them powered by PROS,” says the
executive. When dealers send sales
data into the online tool, they now get
reports that tell them which products
customers are buying and how much
margin they are actually making on
each transaction. And because the tool
also collects information on hundreds
of other dealers, it provides extensive
market intelligence that allows an
individual dealer to compare pricing
and performance against other peers in
“So far, 200 dealers are using this and
the most successful have been able to
grow sales by five percent and profits
by more than 100 basis points,” says
the executive. “With the PROS pricing
tool, dealers are able to sell against
competitive pressures from the big
box stores and maintain a profitable
business by setting more profitable
prices without excessive discounting.”
AT A GLANCE
Phase 1 included the installation of
pricing dashboards and analytics that
enabled the company to:
• Measure the impact and effectiveness
of their pricing policies.
• Eliminate multiple, disconnected
spreadsheets that make it nearly
impossible to effectively analyze
whether prices are profitable.
• Develop better corporate reporting on
• Incorporate guidance on floor, target
and expert prices to analyze the
impact of price changes on revenue
• Know precisely how their customers
and products are performing against
profitability, growth and market share
• See how customers compare with
one another and which products are
making or losing money.
• Model the financial impact of price
changes before they make them.
THE PROS SOLUTION
“We were able to quickly do analysis on a vast amount of
data to identify and explain historical trends.”
PHASE 2: Manage the
Pricing Process Price More
Next, the company expanded its pricing
capabilities to ensure the division’s
eight-member pricing team could define
company-wide pricing strategies that
aligned with corporate objectives of
profitability, market share and asset
utilization. PROS enabled the company
to create a pricing strategy around each
of its customer contracts and manage
“With all of our prices in one place, our
team was able to set and change prices
quickly to keep up with cost volatilities
and changes in policies,” says the
company executive. “We were able to
enact strategies to achieve our goals
for each product on each contract,” he
What’s more, by looking inside its
operational data, the company has
changed the way it prices. PROS helped
the company realize it needed to grow
the number and variety of contracts to
achieve greater pricing differentiation,
which has increased profit margins.
AT A GLANCE
Phase 2 included additional pricing
capabilities, which enabled the
• Gain greater control and accuracy
over the pricing process by
centralizing all information about their
products, customers, segments, costs,
prices, margin goals and competitive
• Set rules-based guidelines and
thresholds for every product segment.
• Quickly and accurately update prices
for millions of SKUs at one time.
• Have clear visibility into how changes
in cost should affect prices.
• Deploy greater levels of auditing
Leveraging Big Data for Bigger
Performance (OR The Results)
PROS software leverages the
operational and transactional data, and
transforms it into invaluable knowledge.
Prior to implementing PROS, this
company was using spreadsheets
to price. With more than 40,000
products on more than 1000 contracts,
ensuring that correct margins were
being achieved for each product on
each contract was a difficult, manual
process. With PROS, the company has
consistent data to back up those prices
and the rationale aligns with their
strategy to achieve specific margins. If a
price comes out that looks suspect, they
immediately know that the source data
is wrong, so they have a quick way to
“In addition, the company has the right
rules and regulations in place so that all
red and black pens are priced the same
and go through the same approval
process,” he adds. “They can focus
on doing more analysis, rather than
manually loading in prices.”
While fulfilling the company’s
immediate needs to quickly identify
margin improvement opportunities and
centralized prices, these solutions also
provide the flexibility this company
needs for future growth and expansion.
“PROS provided us with technology
that was configurable to our needs,”
says the company spokesperson. “This
will enable us to continue to grow our
What’s more, by choosing PROS, the
company has invested in a partnership
toward pricing excellence.
“PROS has the best pricing capabilities
that I’ve seen and upgrades have been
accomplished literally within a day.
PROS has made us successful to this
point and will continue to make us
successful for a long time.”
“PROS provided us with technology that was
configurable to our needs,” says the company
spokesperson. “This will enable us to continue to grow
our pricing processes.”
In today’s highly volatile and competitive business world,
companies must be smarter, faster and more agile than ever
before. The companies that understand how to leverage their
big data with advanced pricing science are able to turn this
tremendous, yet often hidden asset into real pricing power.
Call PROS today to find out how we
can help you outperform.