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April 28th, 2021 (Updated 05/26/2021) | 4 min. read

7-month Pricing Turnaround for Biggest Nylon 66 Producer

Ascend Performance Materials is a global leader in the production of high-quality chemicals, fibers and plastics used to make safer vehicles, cleaner energy, better medical devices and smarter appliances. It is the world’s largest fully integrated producer of Nylon 66, commonly used in consumer and industrial applications (carpet, textiles, apparel) and automotive components (airbags, cooling systems, “under the hood” parts).

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Ascend has 3,500 employees and contractors working across multiple sales and technology offices and manufacturing facilities around the world and a technology center in the United States.

Though only formed in 2009, Ascend’s facilities have been production sites and centers of innovation for Nylon 66 and its intermediate chemicals for more than 60 years.

Pricing Tool Didn’t Support Processes

Ascend’s CPQ functionalities with their previous pricing solution were customized for their basic quoting requirements. While it had proved useful, the system was lacking functionalities that were crucial to their processes. So they started looking for more comprehensive system that would keep up with all of their pricing needs.

The key pricing processes at Ascend are spot pricing (which is when prices are established on a regular basis and orders fulfilled along those prices) and contract pricing (which leans on long-term price agreements).

The pricing team was, therefore, looking for a solution that would:

  • eradicate the many time-consuming manual operations related to managing spot pricing (the previous pricing solution required a lot of IT coding to create new formulas)
  • replace rigid contract maintenance with a seamless and flexible automated process
  • deliver superior analytics for better clarity and insights

 

Automated Processes and Full Visibility

Pricefx provided Ascend with a complete pricing solution to help them better manage their contract and spot pricing through a much better user interface, to improve productivity with automated processes, and to make smarter pricing decisions based on accurate and insightful analytics.

The PriceAnalyzer module gives the team:

  • custom dashboards specific to Ascend, including Orders without Pricing, Contract Tracker and Min/Max volume tracker
  • full visibility into inline analytics during quote generation
  • the ability to run a waterfall analysis to see margin leakage for specific materials, and how discounts, rebates and variable costs affect margins

The QuoteConfigurator module has enhanced processes by:

  • streamlining their quoting process
  • reducing turnaround time for approval and customer responses
  • increasing accuracy and reducing human error through automated processes
  • reducing the learning curve by being connected with their familiar MS Dynamics CRM

The Pricefx PromotionManager module:

  • automates their contract pricing process
  • makes it easier to manage all of their contracts in one place
  • makes Formula Pricing for their contracts easy to maintain with a flexible formula engine that uses market publications (i.e., IHS Markit) for index pricing, which is over 50% of their pricing needs

Pricefx Delivers a Bespoke Solution with Excellent Time-to-Value

In just seven months, Ascend was able to move its entire pricing process to Pricefx.

  • Ease of use vs. the old pricing solution (more user-friendly, better guideline pricing, historical pricing, integration with SAP)
  • Pricefx was able to implement a solution that meets the full spectrum of Ascend’s pricing needs, while also adding specific customized requirements such as LTL, fuel surcharge, quote override indication, price/volume boundaries and the generation of forecasted price records.
  • Thanks to its enhanced integration to MS Dynamics, not only did Pricefx shorten the learning curve, but rollout and adoption of the solution was much smoother.
  • With JSON push and retrieval, Pricefx seamlessly integrates with SAP, allowing for price condition records to be easily pushed to and from their ERP system.
  • Pricefx delivered full visibility to 40 daily active users and 75 weekly active users, which has already improved the efficiency of contract and spot pricing.
  • The new multi-level approval workflow allows for transparency between sales reps and all levels of approvers. It takes away any price “surprises” and enables approvers to fully analyze price requests and focus on protecting margins.
  • Processes have been streamlined, strengthened and automated, which has also improved accuracy and reduced human error.