Hako Ground & Garden is the Nordic leader on the market for machines for the maintenance of indoor and outdoor surfaces. Let’s hear their story about how we renewed their pricing tools.
End of the road
Almost every pricing team uses Microsoft Excel in some part of the product pricing process. Over the years, these spreadsheets have become more like applications and central tools for price management. As a result, someone is responsible for maintaining the pricing rules and other internal parts of the spreadsheet, while others ‘enjoy’ using it or seeing the results. This model is quite efficient in the short term, but in the long term, it lacks continuity, and continuous improvements to the pricing process are impossible. Hako wanted to avoid the risks of this process, and to rethink their approach, they contracted Koivu to help them to take the next step after Excel.
Excel is the world’s most used data exchange ‘protocol’ between companies, and Hako also receives all their supplier data and prices as spreadsheets and CSV files. In practice, this means thousands of rows of pure data together with visually formatted supplier price book pages. From these sources, it’s difficult to see the actual net change of information compared to the last round of updates. Additionally, inflation is peaking, and supplier price changes come at an increasing pace.
Hako’s price book is a massive spreadsheet with over 200 pages. They’ve built it manually using an Excel-only approach. In addition to normal supplier products, it also includes configurable products, some spare parts, and special management for new and EOL products. The pricing sequence contains multiple levels and produces dealer and end-customer prices with margin information.
Goals for pricing process improvements for Hako were
- Time efficiency to enable frequent changes
- Eliminate the risk of human errors to provide psychological safety
- Free up time for more strategic work to enable the next phase: what the price really should be?
- Price book (PDF) to be more dealer and sales friendly, professional look for key customers, and easy to understand
Still Excel but no Excel files
The new solution enabled the team to keep using the familiar Excel interface. This is an important factor because, from the dozens of different suppliers, most still deliver their data as spreadsheets. The team can simply import this data using copy-paste or Excel functions that match the rows. Everything else happens in the cloud – there are no more Excel files to be managed, and data is contained in the database instead.
Moving into the new system required setting up the base data, but from then on, many things became automated. For example, generating a new price book is now automated, and you can create a new price book version easily by taking the previous version as a baseline. Centrally managed price modifiers ensure that no pricing errors go unnoticed. Additionally, you can easily compare prices, margins, and costs to make sure that the pricing is aligned.
Advancing from the Excel-only pricing approach to the cloud-based pricing system helps Hako to produce more competitive prices. The frequency of price changes has been increased without extra resources, and the pricing can be better optimized to meet new market conditions, such as rising inflation. Accurate pricing also benefits customers.