One of the initial peculiarities of the project rose out of the difficulties inherent in the Aptar Pricing process. Aptar transfers the volatility of the commodities (such as aluminum, nickel, resins) that make up the product to most of its customers using the official market index as a reference base. Each customer has a different agreement with Aptar based on specific market index and different transfer frequencies, which in turn have different deferral periods. This process is known as the Commodity Pass-Through Process.
Considering numerous variables, sales personnel then manage very complex Excel files calculating the price to be applied by customer. The finance department receives those files for approval before customer service can issue the invoice.
The weaknesses of this process were evident:
- Numerous and complex spreadsheets involved a considerable workload for many people and introduced the possibility of errors
- Pricing conditions were entered manually into SAP by customer service
- Control and audit trail on this process was manual and not automated
In the end, the manual pricing calculation and input, the complexity of managing a more frequent pass-through process, and no automated audit trail created chaos and complexity within the overall process management, leading to mistakes in calculations, lost margins, and staffing overload.
Aptar turned to Vistex because it needed a robust and embedded solution. They chose SAP Data Maintenance Pricing by Vistex because it offers a lean solution with a high level of automation and is embedded with SAP for ease of integration. Their objectives were clear:
- Automation: by optimizing their staffing and workflow throughout the globe, they consolidated spreadsheets, documents, and pdf files into a single system via guided procedures
- Visibility: by managing the commodities costs, they would have a finer measurement of the NET impact on the margin
- Speed and accuracy: by requiring real-time reporting and granular data for each customer and material combination, they would have clear insights and the ability to plan for the future
Now, due to the relationship between Aptar and Vistex, multiple systems are easily combined into an integrated, fully-audited system; and real-time reporting offers detailed and personalized data on each partner and product combination, leading to greater margins and lower risk of loss. The project has been launched in EMEA for “closure” divisions, with a plan in place to roll out the solution in additional regions and “pump” divisions in the future. This single source of truth solution with intelligent, automated price maintenance and calculation has delivered margin improvement with a higher frequency in pass-through pricing management on the automation side, and audit-trail processes, reliable reporting, and an easy-to-maintain platform on the business-value side. Just an indication of what can happen when you make sure it all adds up.