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1) Specify the complete PATH for your script.
2) check if your script is an executable file
You were correct. It was the $PATH issue. In case if anyone has the problem as I did, the solution to fix it is you need to specify the path in your .bashrc (at least for me) where your "pre_reduction" script lies in (this is the key part, as I didn't know pre_reduction was a script).
So for my case, this script was residing in a directory called
/apps/65cmoslib/$DKROOT/bin ($DKROOT will be different for everyone, just think of it as your design kit directory place holder)
Therefore on my .bashrc, I included
PATH=other cadence path:$PATH
and after that, I recreated my library and created new layout cell view. Then PEX started working.
Hopefully this helps !