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Looking to streamline manufacturer processing of special pricing requests that come in from VARs and resellers, CMR has rolled out a new Web-based tool to automate what has largely been a manual process in many organizations.

The maker of solutions for managing trade promotion, point of sale and inventory reporting for manufacturers and distributors said that the Web-based tool can give manufacturers a better handle on when to award special pricing.

“We started building this a few years ago when we walked into a vendor office and saw a desk filled with fax machines receiving special pricing requests,” said Del Heles, CEO and founder of the San Diego-based CMR. “Most companies don’t’ really have any tools to manage this. It’s a paper nightmare.”

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The information collected through this and other tools from CMR can help manufacturers determine how deep a discount to offer, whether it makes sense to do a counter offer, and other similar pricing issues, Heles said.

Manufacturers also can look at whether they are getting a high number of special pricing requests for certain products, or monitor what size deals they are giving special pricing on, according to Heles.

“The new module lets manufacturers decide what products they can offer special prices on and then they can track whether the transaction actually takes place,” he said.

For example, he said, manufacturers can see the discount that it took to sell a particular product, and may conclude from that that the product was priced incorrectly to begin with. And following that, it can help protect companies from the inventory problems that hit some parts of the industry in 2001 and 2002.

“Cisco got stung with $3 billion of excess inventory then,” Heles said. “Companies are looking at being a little more proactive in analyzing where inventory levels are, and whether they have to provide special pricing to get inventory moving in the channel. There’s a lot more business analytics going through companies than there was a few years ago.”

CMR announced the tool on April 25. The Special Pricing Authorization channel management application is available now and can be accessed from any Web browser, CMR said.