How Combining Pricing and Rebate Management Fuels Growth and Efficiencies for B Braun
Founded in the 1800s in Germany as a pharmacy, B. Braun has grown into an international pharmaceutical manufacturer. They are a market leader in infusion therapy and pain management, with $7.3 billion in sales globally and 63,000 employees in 64 countries.
Kevin Morris, Associate Director of Pricing and Analytics at B. Braun, recently joined us to discuss how combining pricing and rebate management fuels growth and efficiencies for his team.
Taking B Braun to the Next Level with PROS and Enable
During his 20 year tenure at B. Braun, Kevin has experienced numerous growth sprints. Now, the company is at the precipice of another high growth period. When asked about what the overarching goal is of using both best-in-class profit optimization software PROS and rebate management software Enable, Kevin says, "The end goal of the project with PROs and Enable was to get a handle on how to present best offerings through RFP and other avenues to our biggest and most valuable customers. That's a key metric in healthcare too, providing value to patient outcomes. So, it's very important to us as well.”
Kevin continues, “Paramount to us is having the right tools to create the most engaging proposals for our customers and improving operational excellence and patient experience.”
Kevin knew that operations in this area had to be updated to address the needs of the healthcare networks, their patients and their own organizational efficiency, especially during the challenging supply reality of a post-COVID-19 world. He says, “Despite those challenges, we've been able to leverage these solutions in a short period of time to see immediate results.”
Manual Workflow and Human Intervention
Before they formed a mutually beneficial relationship with PROS and Enable, Kevin’s team would maintain all their pricing and rebate files manually and kept a searchable PDF database. They would scan the RFP documents and search for them manually. He found there was “a lot of manual data work involved, involving Excel spreadsheets and taking data from one system to another. We also had to build custom, homegrown dashboards which required lots of time from talented, very smart people.”
Originally their workflow included a sales rep entering an opportunity and then Kevin’s team would pick it up and then pass it over to the sales ops and finance teams. Then it would eventually go over to marketing and strategy teams followed by contracting legal and then execution. This accumulated into a lot of human intervention and different ways of managing the process. The team ended up with a lot of variability in their offerings, and sometimes his team was not even aware of what was transpiring.
Kevin states, “I think putting these tools in place puts a specific workflow behind our RFPs. Not only does this increase our speed to market and also our pricing transparency, but it allows us to have a full handle on everything happening around pricing and incentives, and it creates a lot of focus.”
“By sending people through a specific workflow, tasks get done in a way where key stakeholders are always looped in, and everyone's aware and having efficient discussions. I don't want a very talented, highly educated team grinding through Excel spreadsheets all day. I want them focused on strategy work and these efficiencies allow my team to do that.”
Driving Efficiencies for B. Braun
For the B. Braun team tackling pricing RFPs, often strategy discussions that already used a lot of executive time would create additional meetings. These discussions were incredibly time-consuming for the team, and drilling down to a conclusion would be difficult, resulting in slower processes and decision making.
By using PROS and Enable, the team has been able to streamline their meetings and decision making. Referring to a recent meeting, Kevin says, “We were able to cut a full hour meeting down to six minutes and have it fully concluded within that time. We're seeing about 10X meeting efficiency, too, which is a great quality of life improvement. Then we can focus on the pricing and RFP work and not focus so much on the meetings. Everyone is saving more time.”
Tools to Inform Better Negotiations
B. Braun needed data and facts to inform their negotiations, allowing them to have the tools for success and remain competitive in this difficult marketplace. Kevin says, “We've had success over time, but I would say it was at a high operational cost to us. One negotiation lasted around 26 hours. Our business partner had some of these tools and we did not. So, I feel as though if we had these tools in place from the start, the negotiation would've experienced a lot of efficiencies along the way, mutual agreements, and probably an overall improved relationship from the get-go.”
Kevin continues, “When you have multi-year contracts, I think another advantage to having these efficient systems is that you can always go back and see what you did and why you did it. When you have structure, it becomes easier to track these things down.”
From $450 Million To $4 Billion — Continued Growth Over the Long Term
B. Braun recognizes that incentivizing their products’ portfolio growth across the enterprise is paramount. When Kevin came on board, they were at $450 million. Now they're looking to increase to $4 billion over the next few years.
Referring to renewing a lot of those contracts, Kevin says, “We needed the tools to be able to build an engaging proposal, to enhance both the patient outcomes and the operational excellence for both B. Braun and our partners in the healthcare marketplace.”
Seeing Real Value Before Going Live
Even before B. Braun when live with the tools PROS and Enable offers, they were able to see real value. He says, “Even during the testing phase, we saw that the results were so incredible and made so much sense for both us and our end customers, that we thought we can even use this during the testing phase. We were also able to get some very good feedback from our customers.”
B. Braun has also seen a 4X RFP response time improvement and has received positive feedback from their internal stakeholders and external customers regarding pricing transparency. He says, “There have been several situations on calls with our customers where I anticipate a bunch of questions about the pricing and instead they're like, "Well, it made sense", and so that was been very positive.”
I think that once you get a feel for how this works, you'll never want to go back. That's for sure. I would never go back; I saw the quality-of-life improvements out there on the horizon for myself and my team.