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Pricedex Solution Vision White Paper

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Pricedex Solution Vision White Paper Powered By Docstoc
					  This White Paper is provided by Pricedex Software Inc. for the purposes of understanding and identifying
  'gaps' in Business systems that can be addressed by Pricedex applications and tools. It is provided for
  information purposes only to the reader, and is intended to stimulate discussion as to identifying workflow
  gaps and bottlenecks that can be resolved using Pricedex solutions. Not all companies face exactly the same
  issues, nor do they operate with exactly the same workflows. Generally speaking, workflows are industry
  specific, and tend to vary even within similar industrial sectors, based upon business practices and the
  adoption of technology. The following 'Solution Vision' is a fact-based fictional compendium of issues
  identified within Pricedex' customer base, and the Pricedex solutions deployed.



Solution Vision for Enterprise Product Data Management and Dissemination



               Pricedex™ Builder is an innovative database application designed to manage the
               complex relationships between product costs, prices, and a wide variety of related product
               information. Because Pricedex is database independent, the data results generated
               smoothly bolt into existing business systems and processes, without complex integration
               and custom code dependency. Pricedex is a premier Product Data Management solution,
               designed specifically to fill the gaps within business and marketing systems, and permits
               the elimination of redundant data input, while ensuring the integrity and synchronization of
               product information across the enterprise.

               With a Pricedex solution, corporations can now ensure that accurate and timely data is
               available to manufacturing, inventory, and order entry systems via the Pricedex Master
               Price database. In addition, the Master Price database can be utilized to significantly
               automate updates to product information for quotation and configuration systems, sales
               force automation applications, as well as catalog and price list publications.

               In summary, Pricedex becomes the central repository within an organization for all
               aspects of product information, including graphics management, and in doing so,
               generates a significant return on investment by:

                            -    Reducing and eliminating redundant and duplicated processes;

                            -    Ensuring accurate product information populates the various business
                                 systems, significantly reducing billing errors;

                            -    Eliminating costly and time consuming pre-press proofing and creative
                                 cycles for publications;

                            -    Accelerating the ‘time-to-market’ for new products and price changes.




  Pricedex™ is a Registered Trademark of Pricedex Software Inc.
  Microsoft Internet Explorer™ and Excel™ are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
  Crystal Reports™ is a registered trademark of Seagate Software Inc.
  Impromptu™ is a registered trademark of Cognos, Incorporated.
Problem Overview


         It is assumed that IT is implementing a new Business System solution within the division on a
corporate Intranet, and is retiring the legacy system. This represents a significant change in the
corporation’s business practices and processes. An Intranet solution provides for both a wide
deployment without significant resource overhead implications, as well as secure, central, server-based
business information.
          While IT is implementing an elegant, network solution for its business requirements, there are
a significant number of important processes which have not been able to be incorporated within the
business system solution, and are at risk of becoming ‘detached’ from the main business systems.
         One of the key applications on the legacy system is a COBOL based Pricing and Quotation
system previously developed and presently maintained by IT. The new business system application
does not provide the functionality of the home-grown pricing application, and after a process review
which identifies the options of a custom code solution and an off-the-shelf solution to the problem, the
integrator recommends that IT seek a third party solution to integrate with the new business system.
       Pricedex Software Inc. intends to address the identified gaps, in a Pricedex Builder solution
designed to parallel the business Intranet solution.



Key Identified Gaps

                          -           Supplier Costs The legacy system had a series of routines
                               developed to import the various data sets of part costing from major
                               suppliers.     The procedures, and negotiations with suppliers' IT
                               departments to establish data import mapping procedures was
                               cumbersome. The new business system requires a complete set of new
                               mapping procedures. A further complication is the fact that the legacy
                               system stored all supplier parts, whether used in production or not. The
                               corporation continues to require this data for custom production work,
                               which occurs from time to time. The new business system is incapable
                               of accomodating supplier part data without the assignment of a corporate
                               part number. Our desired solution is to create a part number only when
                               an order requiring such a part is processed, yet we need this information
                               for quote and configuration purposes. This desired functionality will leave
                               a significant gap when the legacy system is retired.

                          -    en Quoting The functionality provided by the legacy system, which is
                               presently accessed by approximately 50 persons working in three
                               different working sections, has an identified workaround within the new
                               business system. This workaround, however, is perceived to be
                               cumbersome, as it requires the creation of a ‘dummy’ order type, and the
                               ‘dumping’ of the raw data into a quotation form for manual manipulation.
                               The issue regarding this process revolves around the need to create part




Pricedex™ is a Registered Trademark of Pricedex Software Inc.
Microsoft Internet Explorer™ and Excel™ are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
Crystal Reports™ is a registered trademark of Seagate Software Inc.
Impromptu™ is a registered trademark of Cognos, Incorporated.
                             numbers, prices, etc. for quotation purposes within the business system,
                             which is resource intensive. At present, there are an estimated 250
                             quotations daily, of which perhaps 10% would be converted to orders.
                             This proposed workaround process would require the storage and
                             maintenance of significant amounts of redundant data within the
                             business system, and not provide the existing functionality of the legacy
                             system.

                         -   Price Calculations Because corporate pricing does not necessarily
                             have any direct correlation to Corporate Base Cost, the requirement to
                             create a ‘pseudo’ BOM (Bill of Material) and manually calculate price
                             adders for quotation purposes cannot be supported within the new
                             business system. This identified functionality of the legacy system will
                             not exist after its termination.

                         -   Tiered Pricing Two tiered pricing (unit/quantity pricing) lookups for the
                             purposes of auto pricing are not supported by the new business system.
                             This identified functionality of the legacy system will not exist after its
                             termination.

                         -   Pricing Structure The existing Pricing Structure, which supports a
                             tabular view (easily viewed columnar pricing) of tiered pricing, is not
                             supported by the new business system. This identified functionality of the
                             legacy system will not exist after its termination.

                         -   Commodities Pricing The desired functionality of queried lookups to
                             establish the Monthly Base Price and Surcharge factor for commodities
                             used in the assembly of customer orders (i.e. precious metals) is not
                             supported by the new business system. This functionality is desirable to
                             have to support both Order Entry and Invoicing.

d Gaps




Pricedex™ is a Registered Trademark of Pricedex Software Inc.
Microsoft Internet Explorer™ and Excel™ are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
Crystal Reports™ is a registered trademark of Seagate Software Inc.
Impromptu™ is a registered trademark of Cognos, Incorporated.
Pricedex Solution Vision


        A solution Vision for IT

        Product Cost Administration (Supplier Cost Price List , Product Costing, Commodity
        Pricing, Product Information Maintenance)
            Pricedex Builder

                The vision would be to deploy a Client-Server version of the Pricedex Builder pricing
        engine to all parties responsible for the product costing (Finance) and product marketing
        (Product Manager) personnel. This would permit and satisfy the requirement for the central
        administration of base costing, and part numbering functions that have been identified within
        IT.
                 Scripted procedures would be created to receive the existing Major Supplier cost files,
        and active parts would be 'tagged' for export to the new business system, in the required data
        mapping structure. Inactive parts could either be 'stripped' from the import, or 'warehoused' for
        future reference and lookup.
               Scripted procedures would be created to generate export data sets to a Microsoft
        SQL Server™ database (replacement for the legacy system Master Price Database).
                 Scripted procedures would also be created to either retrieve commodity costing from
        an outside source (via Internet), or from an internal resource (via network), on a regular, batch
        basis, with the ability to query on demand. This functionality would satisfy the requirement for
        establishing both the monthly Commodity Base Cost, and the Commodity Surcharge for the
        quotation and order entry systems.

        A Solution Vision for Product Management and Product Pricing

        Pricing Administration (Quoting, Price Calculation, Tiered Pricing)
        Pricedex Explorer Web
                 Utilizing the Master Price Database generated on Microsoft SQL Server, Pricedex
        Software Inc. envisages the development of a corporate Intranet-based ‘homepage’ that
        provides a browser-based lookup of all part costing and product information utilizing the
        Pricedex Explorer Web solution. This will enable authorized personnel to perform direct
        queries to an up-to-date base cost price list, for performing quotations.
                  Two data sets would be available to end-users: The Master Cost Database, for
        performing lookups for new quotations and ‘pseudo BOMs’; and the Master Customer
        Database, which would provide users with all the relevant prices specific to customer contract
        pricing, including surcharges, tiered pricing, customer and corporate part numbers, etc.
                Web-based templates would be developed, as required, for ‘pseudo BOMs’ and for
        Quotation Forms, for use by the Customer Service Group representatives.
                 Within the web pages, views can be easily configured to provide ‘spreadsheet like’
        tables of pricing information to accommodate tiered pricing, etc. Users utilizing Microsoft
        Internet Explorer would be able to 'copy and paste' sections or all of the tables directly into
        spreadsheet and other Windows applications.


Pricedex™ is a Registered Trademark of Pricedex Software Inc.
Microsoft Internet Explorer™ and Excel™ are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
Crystal Reports™ is a registered trademark of Seagate Software Inc.
Impromptu™ is a registered trademark of Cognos, Incorporated.
                 In addition, utilizing the powerful reporting features of Pricedex Builder, spreadsheet
        reports can be created and made available for distribution by downloading from the corporate
        home page for other users.
               Lookups, searches and queries will be able to be performed by Customer/Contract
        name, Customer/Corporate Part Number, and Order Quantity. Result sets can be copied to
        Windows-based spreadsheets or word processors for further administrative purposes.


        Pricedex Explorer Desktop
                  For further flexibility in the use of Pricedex-generated information, Pricedex Explorer
        Desktop is a powerful, windows-based tool that provides an ‘Explorer-like’ tree and folder
        view of an entire price book. Additionally, single or multiple searches can be performed across
        the price book, for individual or groups of parts, and the ensuing result set can be copied
        directly into Windows-based applications such as word processors and spreadsheets. The
        Explorer concept is an ideal means of distributing secure and accurate price data—to remote
        sites or users who do not have Intranet access; to customers; and to Customer Service Group
        personnel and other personnel who have need to manipulate the information.
                  Using pre-configured settings and templates, Pricedex Explorer and the data can be
        distributed with pre-configured views, partial product information, and even price expiry date
        warnings.

        A Solution Vision for Marketing and Sales

        Master Price List/Price Book/Catalog Publication
        Pricedex Publishing Module
                  It is understood that, at present, the corporation produces an Annual Price Book.
        Pricedex proposes to automate the pre-press processes of the Price Book, by integrating
        Pricedex-generated information with a database publishing engine. Given the variety of
        publishing media that is being demanded of marketing departments today, Pricedex is
        prepared to recommend a publishing engine that will simultaneously produce print-ready, web,
        and Portable Document Format (PDF) price books. The additional benefit of such a solution is
        that, in our experience, we have found that the frequency of publication increases, rather than
        decreases, with an automated solution such as the one being proposed. In the context of
        Web-based and CD-ROM based catalogs, the desire to keep information current is easily
        handled in a one or two step process.
                 It would also be possible, in the context of such a solution, to also provide Contract
        Pricing Lists to customers, field personnel, etc., at the stroke of a key. This is a significant
        component to quality Customer Relationship Management.
                 The process of automating the Price Book publication would entail the set up of
        structured document templates by Pricedex, which could be easily maintained and modified by
        corporate personnel. The Pricedex Builder Pricing Engine manages all the document


        structures, and graphics for publication, creating an environment whereby Price Books and
        Catalogs can be created on demand, and on-the-fly.
                 In addition, by utilizing specific Customer Profile information (i.e. contract terms,
        shipping region), sections of the master book specific to the customer may be created at the
        touch of a button.



Pricedex™ is a Registered Trademark of Pricedex Software Inc.
Microsoft Internet Explorer™ and Excel™ are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
Crystal Reports™ is a registered trademark of Seagate Software Inc.
Impromptu™ is a registered trademark of Cognos, Incorporated.
        Change Tracking Module
                 An additional and very powerful feature of the Pricedex solution is the ability to
        configure the reporting to publish a “Changes Only” document. The benefit to corporate
        personnel, and customers, of being able to review changes only, and to make adjustments to
        their respective systems and processes without having to do a full review of the Master Price
        Book, will yield immense time saving results.
                This is accomplished by activating the Pricedex Change Tracking module.
        Essentially, the change tracking module compares a current price list against a snapshot of a
        previous price list, and produces a publishable report of all elements which have incurred a
        change, addition or deletion since the previous publication.
                 Further benefits of the Change Tracking Module include the ability, using conventional
        decision support tools such as Crystal Reports™, Impromptu™, or Excel™, of producing
        reports providing analysis of price volatility, etc., over a predetermined period of time.


        Localization Module
                  The demand on the Marketing Department to produce foreign currency and foreign
        language price lists for new markets has been steadily increasing. By activating the Pricedex
        Localization Module, currency exchange rules can be implemented to the existing publication
        document structures, thereby effectively producing an identical price book in local currencies,
        for use by distributor channels and customers alike. In addition, 'Smart Rounding' rules can be
        applied at the localization level, to ensure that converted pricing is expressed in 'market
        acceptable' terms. Uplift rules to pricing may also be factored at the localization level, to
        provide buffer to currency fluctuations and to ensure the desired longevity of the price list.
        Local language product descriptions can be developed in any Windows-supported character
        set, referred to in the localization profile, and drawn upon in the new publication to replace the
        domestic product descriptions, if desired.
                In essence, localized versions of the Price List publication can be published
        simultaneously with domestic price lists, using the same document structure, and maintaining
        the same 'look and feel' of the original, while addressing the needs of foreign channels and
        customers.
                  This can be achieved without impact to conventional business financial systems,
        which, conventionally, operate on a 'base currency' basis. Alternatively, should there be multi-
        currency requirements within the business financial systems; currency localization rules can be
        applied to 'cloned' price lists within the main Pricedex application, and export data sets can be
        developed to update business systems, while maintaining the desired document structure and
        profile for foreign price list publications.




Pricedex™ is a Registered Trademark of Pricedex Software Inc.
Microsoft Internet Explorer™ and Excel™ are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
Crystal Reports™ is a registered trademark of Seagate Software Inc.
Impromptu™ is a registered trademark of Cognos, Incorporated.

				
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