Manufacturing & Distribution Pricing Consultant: Fortune 500 & PE-Backed Turnarounds

Over the past decade, I’ve led four strategic pricing transformations at manufacturers and nation-wide distributors as a pricing director and pricing consultant. These have generally been on behalf of a private equity owner who is interested in increasing the value of their investment. The typical impact of a well-managed pricing transformation program is a 100 bps – 300 bps lift in margin plus additional gains from better sales team focus, marketing, product strategy, and customer service.

As a pricing expert, it is my job to examine the various components of your business operations and pricing strategy to identify where value is being lost. This is balanced with an assessment of the difficulty of addressing that leak. Is it due to a system setting, in which case my team and I can easily fix it? Or is it harder people or strategy issue which will require us to work together to change your culture?

There’s not shortage of pricing experts on the market; here’s what sets me apart:

  • Deep Analytics Expertise: I’m the former corporate head of data science for a Fortune 500 distributor and have led pricing analysis at three other companies. This includes extensive pricing optimization experience, building pricing model tools, and customer profitability analytics.
  • Everything Isn’t Statistics: My key point of difference relative to software companies and analytics wizards. Many pricing issues cannot be solved by math alone: automating dysfunctional processes and policies will only increase the mess and cost you sales in the market. I specialize in getting to root causes: even if they lie across departmental boundaries and require some deep thinking on pricing theory to address.
  • Commercial Perspective: I’ve held every major commercial role over the course of my career: sales, marketing, buyer, product manager, and pricing desk. This helps me see around corners.
  • Competitive Intelligence Background: I started my career in competitive intelligence and learned the value of outside-in perspective. We will make a deep study of your competitors, customer demand patterns, market dynamics, and channel partners.
  • Sustainable Processes: anyone can do anything for a short period. I excel at making the right path the only path for your organization. For example, you should fully recover any price increase and pad your margins – do you? Any pricing change represents an opportunity to clean up past mistakes – do you take advantage of this? I have extensive experience closing these gaps.

Beyond the above, I have extensive experience working with private equity firm clients. If you recently purchased a company and need a consultation on the pricing opportunity, I can help. The same goes for pre-purchase assessment – pull me into due diligence. The sooner we can evaluate management’s pricing decisions, the more accurate your financial modeling will be. I’ve been there, done that. Just ask.

Note: we are not currently taking expert witness assignments due to travel restrictions. Call me if you need a referral to other expert providers.

Typical Approach

My first question is always to the CEO: “Are you serious about change?”

A pricing transformation is not a dinner party. Success will require notable changes in processes, policies, and organizational culture. We’re going to need the support of the CEO to make this work.

Seriously, there are easier ways to please your board. Ask about the strategic planning side of our offering. We can get them off your back without the disruption of a high impact pricing initiative.

Moving on, we’re going to want to assess:

  • Current pricing process & any relevant IT platforms
  • Typical pricing structure and delegation of authority
  • Current pricing guidance and how it is determined
  • Current product lines and perceived value from customers
  • Your current market share, customer loyalty, and strategy for maximizing profits. This can have a significant effect on which goals we choose to pursue (one size doesn’t fit all)
  • Any current work on customer profitability & profit margin data.
  • Assessment of sales team culture, incentives, and leadership

This is as much a culture change as it is a policy, systems, and process shift. A successful pricing transformation involves a shift in values.

A key output of this process is what I refer to as the pricing decision model. We’re going to explore the current and potential states of how a pricing decision occurs in your business, in terms of both the flow of information and potential controls. This often yields immediate and actionable insights.

Impact Beyond Pricing

There’s a reason we advocate a broad minded approach to pricing optimization. There are so many ways you can optimize one part of the pricing process at the expense of the rest. This is a common pitfall with pricing software companies and analytics-only consultant teams.

Point of fact, your shareholders probably don’t care about price. They care about revenue, margin, profit, and return on investment. There are numerous ways to find the optimal price of a single item. The big gains come from the following questions:

  • Where do we want to be aggressive vs. harvest extra profits?
  • What is the correct mix of products to maximize customer LTV?
  • For that matter, what are the right customers to pursue?
  • Thinking even broader, what are the right products / markets?

It is a critical to understand if you are pricing in an environment of customer scarcity or prospect abundance. It is critical to understand how product flows between different layers of the market.

The same logic applies to identifying capacity constraints. Sometimes you need to run the machine on low value business to drive scale. Our approach seeks to understand these dynamics and relate them to your overall strategy for maximizing your profits.

The same logic applies to identifying capacity constraints. Sometimes you need to run the machine on low value business to drive scale. Our approach seeks to understand these dynamics and relate them to your overall strategy for maximizing your profits.

Getting these larger decisions about pricing and related strategies can have a huge impact on the growth and profitability of your business. For example, a recent big win occurred with a client who business was split between four product tiers. Profit per ton ranged between $100 and $600+, capping out at over $2500 for one small product family. Our strategy was simple – and marketing focused – while we certainly attempted to push price increases, the real upside came from unlocking barriers to growing the most profitable two product lines!

Talent Development / Cleanup / Sustainable Change

Our goal is to rebuild the company’s pricing strategy so that it can be internally managed. Our goal is to build pricing capability and let you take it from there, setting a process of continuous improvement in place.

Talent is a key element of capability. Our goal is help you recruit and develop a pricing analyst and internal pricing expertise to handle the longer term administration of the process and policies we leave you. This helps you because it converts the consulting fees (hourly rate) you would otherwise pay a senior pricing consultant into a regular salary employee position that is more affordable.

Along the same lines, we will likely need to clean up any profitability distortions due to transfer pricing. Most transfer pricing issues can be resolved at the policy level by comparison with competitive pricing. These distortions can affect other elements of our optimization work.

We may or may not implement transaction controls.This is a common concern many potential client executive have expressed. At a minimum, we believe good reporting can provide the insight you need to police activity. Where necessary, we will work with your IT team to implement stronger measures (preventing fee overrides or linking your financial services group into your pricing systems to act as one team).

My Specific Industry Experience:

  • Janitorial Supplies Distribution (extensive experience, including corporate strategy roles)
  • Janitorial Supplies Manufacturing (former head of product management)
  • Packaging Distribution (including corporate strategy & competitive intelligence)
  • Food Service Disposables / Paper (napkins, consumables, food packaging)
  • Grocery Distribution (Mapped channel economics as CPG Brand Manager)
  • Printing Paper / Office Products
  • Building Materials (specifically fence materials)

Past Commercial Leadership Roles:

Mix of pricing and commercial experience, generally retained as a pricing expert operating as an internal pricing strategy consultant. However, I possess equivalent depth as a sales leader and product executive with P&L oversight & sales responsibility. Career includes positions as:

  • Head of Product Management & Retail Strategy – $250 MM CPG Manufacturer
  • Corporate Strategy Executive / Head of Data Science – Fortune 500 distributor (paper, packaging, and janitorial supplies; also led analytics & competitive intelligence teams)
  • Corporate Head of Pricing & Analytics – national distributor of paper, packaging, and janitorial supplies owned by Bain Capital
  • GE Trained Six Sigma Black Belt & Client Marketing Leader

Solution Delivery Expertise

Capabilities supported by a strong IT background, with extensive experience in sales process automation & digital marketing. Veteran project director and vendor manager. Adept at leading pricing consultants and managing software vendors.

Key Principles Of My Work As A Pricing Expert

  • The biggest commercial gains only come when you rethink the business
  • 80 / 20 – Focus on doing only a few things but execute flawlessly
  • Effective change leadership is an efficiency game (Engineering FTW!)
  • Eliminate complexity and opacity to accelerate progress
  • Automation is the key to sustainability
  • You get what you inspect
  • Pricing impact is the goal.

I’ve written about customer profitability and yield management.

The Rest of The Package

Beyond pricing, I can bring deep expertise in strategic business development to your team. Background includes valuation, financial modeling, competitive intelligence, mergers and acquisitions strategy, post-merger integration, strategic partnerships, and corporate restructuring. Extensive experience handling C-level and Board of Directors clients.

If you’re still intrigued, drop me a line at and we can discuss.