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“There was a better way, and we had the CPG domain expertise to build an affordable alternative to spreadsheets and enterprise software.” CPGToolBox

thesiliconreview-rick-pensa-cofounder-president-ceo-cpgtoolbox-2017Many organizations manage their plans and recurring processes in readily available office documents such as Word or Excel. As an alternative, cloud-based systems enable users to access company data from anywhere at any time over the internet offering real-time updates and built-in reporting capabilities.

The advent of conducting business in the cloud was in its infant stages when Rick Pensa saw the potential for a Software-as-a-Service Trade Promotion Management (TPM) solution.

Pensa has been working in the Consumer Packed Goods (CPG) space most of his professional life. Approximately 70% of CPG manufacturers utilize Excel spreadsheets to manually compile and track trade promotion activity, which is the second highest P&L line item. The thought of managing TPM in the cloud, no hardware or servers, real-time data and low IT overhead was the catalyst for Pensa, and his partner Mark Litherland, founding CPGToolBox.

CPGToolBox Credence is one of the leading platforms to have mastered conducting business securely in the cloud. Pensa and Litherland built the CPGToolBox Trade Planner solution on top of Salesforce’s secure infrastructure enabling the company to invest time and dollars into pure product development. Perhaps most importantly, CPGToolBox plus delivers CPG companies an agile, user-friendly cloud-based platform that costs 54% less than an on premise TPM solution. 

Service Oriented

“We release new features and functionality regularly,” says Pensa. “CPGToolBox is a service-oriented solution provider and our platform was and is built with the business user in mind. I constantly ask myself ‘how can our solution make daily job functions easier and faster for CPG executives.’ Today, CPGToolBox offers all the required functionality and business intelligence plus, speed, ease of use, scalability and cost savings.”


The company launched with CPGToolBox Trade Planner, a predictive modeling based trade promotion planning solution, trade funds management tool, and deduction management system. Many CPG companies have a separate Foodservice business that comes with its own set of unique challenges. So, CPGToolBox rolled out Contract Planner to help manufacturers manage Foodservice contracts in the cloud rather than using Excel spreadsheets. According to Pensa, it was a logical next step from a product development standpoint. CPG manufacturers can now rely on the CPGToolBox platform to quickly and easily manage both TPM and Foodservice.

Continuous Product Development

User experience is one of the most important aspects of CPGToolBox and a new modern user interface optimized for speed is on the horizon. A greatly enhanced cloning functionality was recently released so CPG manufacturers don’t have to start the annual planning process from scratch. Additionally, target management functionality to help tie a company-wide set of objectives all the way down to the product and event level has been rolled out.


GPS for TPM is another example of new functionality designed with the customer in mind. Within CPGToolBox Trade Planner, users are directed through each step of building, managing, and settling a promotion using a series of pop-up balloons and call to action buttons - without the need to change screens or stop to watch a video tutorial. It helps:

  • Accelerate user adoption and training
  • Increase knowledge retention
  • Maximize daily productivity

Global Player

The CPGToolBox platform is being utilized by CPG companies around the globe. The company has users in Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands and Canada, to name a few. CPGToolBox Trade Planner enables manufacturers to plan trade promotions in any language or currency, which is a major differentiator in the TPM space. 

Future Outlook

CPGToolBox will continue to leverage the latest technology to help sales and marketing teams in the Consumer Goods industry become savvier and more productive. As the first solution provider to build a full feature Trade Promotion Management solution on the multi-tenant cloud, Pensa and Litherland intend to be the first to use other emerging technologies such as AI - all in the pursuit of the most intuitive, cost effective tool to manage the CG industry’s estimated $800 billion in trade spending.

Meet the Ace: Rick Pensa, Co-founder, President and CEO

Rick has been in the Consumer Goods/Trade Promotion Management game for more than four decades. He held leadership positions at ConAgra Foods, Nielsen, and has worked across numerous Consumer Goods categories including Beverage, Frozen Foods, Snacks, DIY, Consumer Electronics and Sporting Goods. Rick specializes in Trade Promotion ROI Improvement, TPM software implementations and category management, to name a few. In 2010, Rick led development to build a full feature, closed loop Trade Promotion Management solution on the platform. CPGToolBox officially opened its doors in 2012 and services a client base that includes Fruit of the Loom, popchips, and Slimfast.

“A Company Founded by CPG Professionals for CPG Professionals”