The European Pricing Platform – Connecting Pricing People are an independent industry organisation, based in Belgium, dedicated to promoting pricing excellence across Europe. On Oct. 27, PROS served as a key sponsor of the ePP’s Manufacturing PricingFuel Day, along with Deloitte, at an all-day event in Munich.
There was a real buzz of excitement and anticipation as the delegates and sponsors concentrated in the reception area. Delegates travelled from Norway, Sweden, the UK, Germany and Holland. As one told me “pricing is a dark art shrouded in both mystery and confusion.” It seemed the common denominator from a participant perspective was the quest for knowledge and education. Where do you start? What does pricing excellence look like? Is anyone really doing pricing excellence? The delegate anticipation was tangible, with everyone keen to better understand how to become profit hunters through pricing excellence.
Professor Oliver Roll, who has a vast background in pricing, served as host for the day. He is professor for international marketing and price management at the University of Applied Sciences in Osnabruck, Germany.
The keynote presentation was delivered by Wolfgang Krueger who heads marketing at Merck, a multi-billion dollar chemical corporation. With more than 45 years of service with Merck, Wolfgang presented a fascinating insight as to best pricing practices at his company, including overcoming cultural, technology and process challenges when deploying a pricing excellence strategy. His 45-minute presentation seemed to last only five minutes; however, the session reached a fevered pitch when the host requested questions from the delegates. Wolfgang was literally bombarded with questions from the floor. The questions came fast and furious from delegates, many of whom represented Europe’s leading corporations. As I observed the spirited interactions, the feeling I had was similar to early days of the Internet revolution – the desire, excitement and business necessity to engender change.
There were several additional customer best-practice presentations notably from Novozymes, a Danish bio-tech corporation. Again the fast and furious post-presentation debate with delegates was the highlight. Clearly there was a massive hunger to understand more and learn what pricing excellence means; what it does; and what it could possibly do for a business.
Like all conferences, the real business of the day was conducted over lunch and post-conference drinks. The presenters from Novozymes were holding court with delegates, who literally queued to catch some time and share some of the pricing Kool-Aid magic. Quite telling was the fact that as the afternoon session was starting, the buffet lunch had remained mainly untouched, with delegates deeply engrossed in their pricing conversations.
In closing what was a momentous day, Professor Roll thanked the delegates, the sponsors and most of all the customers for presenting. In a final comment Professor Roll stated:
“It was really a great day. One of the best conferences that I have ever attended.
The atmosphere and the quality of the speakers were just extraordinary.”
For what was the first ePP event I have attended, I left, impressed, amused, fascinated and positive. Pricing clearly is gaining momentum as a business issue in Europe. The companies that “get pricing” are reaping the benefits.