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Price Protection Billing System
Marketing Analytics with Aprimo
Business Continuity Planning
Business Analysis for SAP Migration

Price Protection Billing System

Owl Creek's client is a worldwide distributor, with hundreds of suppliers and thousands of customers. Because of the nature of the industry that it operates in, price changes initiated by suppliers can have a major effect on the distributor's profitability. To protect against frequent or short-notice price changes, the distributor has negotiated contracts with its vendors requiring several weeks advance notice for price changes, and imposing penalties if the advance notice requirement is not met. However, the contract terms vary slightly from supplier to supplier.


Owl Creek's client performed this billing using a spreadsheet-based process, with dozens of manual steps and input required from 5 separate, unconnected IT systems. Since this billing was an input to the month-end close process, and supporting data was not available until the last day of the month, there was extreme pressure on staff to complete the calculations in a very short window of time. The client's challenge was to track the contract terms for each supplier, and find a way to automatically generate the billing each month within the available window of time.


Owl Creek evaluated the people, systems, and organization, and worked closely with the client staff to design a solution that would meet the project goal and be maintainable by the client's staff. The solution involves creating a centralized database in Microsoft SQL Server, with intranet-based data-entry screens to allow end users to record contract terms for each vendor.


Owl Creek worked closely with client staff to understand the manual steps used to prepare the billing, and reviewed contract language from several suppliers in order to understand the billing rules. The heart of the solution is an algorithm to calculate a billing amount for each item which has undergone a price change, using business rules derived from the supplier contracts and implemented in SQL code by Owl Creek's project lead.


The solution also includes scheduled data integrations using the Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) ETL tool, collecting data from diverse sources such as an Oracle data warehouse, IBM mainframe running OS/390, and other SQL Server instances.