Last week in Barcelona, something very exciting and inspirational happened: 100+ pricing professionals met, for the third year in a row (first year in Copenhagen, second in Amsterdam) to discuss, share, and network about their passion: pricing. There were some new faces (myself included) and some old (or rather, familiar) ones that gathered for what Harry Macdivitt, this year’s chairman, dubs as “the friendly conference”. And the result was fantastic. Here are the main reasons why:
As some of the presentations pointed out (in particular the opening keynote from Stephan Liozu) there is a lot of change coming to the manufacturing industry. Big changes that many call even disruption (this can be a positive): B2B e-commerce, Internet of Things, Additive Manufacturing, Drones, Advanced Robotics… And pricing has its role to play in helping organizations transition and tackle this. All of these disruptions will mean organizations will get closer to their customers. On the flipside, customers will now look for true value in what they are investing their money in. Hence the need for a value-based (pricing/selling) approach. Which leads to another change: the role of pricing itself. At the event, we saw a wide variety of pricing function set ups: some had pricing linked to Finance and reporting directly to the CFO, some were part of the marketing division, while others were directly linked to the product business units. The role of pricing is still in its infancy, and the legion of pricing officers still small, but it is growing and its role needs to be defined, and truly professionalized.
The event would not have been a success without its contributors. And it boasts a lot. First, a diverse (both in terms of geography and industry sector) advisory board, who can be counted on to pinpoint the pains of the industry in order to develop a great program, and who can also be counted on to help and overcome last minute (don’t they always happen) potential disasters. Then the speaker line-up. It’s not easy to speak at a conference full of peers. But all the speakers at this year’s MPEC performed spectacularly well. They shared their pains and their experiences so that participants would get true value out of each presentation. Third, the sponsors. It’s impossible to get an event done like this, in such a venue and such a city, with such networking activities, without the support of sponsors. But beyond the pure financial and logistical help, the partners at this year’s event really showed they are true experts in the field of pricing. That is due to the fact that, as stated above, Change is coming, and with Change, manufacturing organizations will need pricing software in order to help them collect data, set metrics, and analyze customer preferences, competitor prices lists, their own price lists across regions, fluctuations in currencies etc… Excel simply doesn’t work anymore. And then, there were Harry Macdivitt and Stephan Liozu. Both used their wisdom and their humor (and Stephan his red pants) to help us deliver a great event in such an easy and comfortable manner. So thank you.
MPEC is a peculiar event in that it truly brings a community together. In a way, it is an “easy” event to run in the sense that all participants are there not only to learn, but contribute themselves. The boundary between speaker and delegate is very thin, sometimes even nonexistent. Everyone is an expert because everyone has an open mind, is willing to learn, and has something to share. The perfect ingredients for a great conference with intense educational features and relaxed but insightful networking activities. And I think it truly showed onsite.
So, all in all, thank you to all that attended MPEC 2015 for making it a great event. And it wouldn’t be fair to end this note without a special remark for my now ex-colleague Goran Cvetanovski, who is to blame for the great agenda he put together this year. All the more pressure on me for 2016.
Until then, cheers.