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DCS: How to use your data to make smarter deals with Enable

DCS GROUP UK is the official distributor for P&G, Gillette, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, J&J, SC Johnson, Cussons and many more household names. A UK Top 250 privately owned company, founded by Denys C Shortt OBE in 1994, DCS now has annual sales of £267m and employs 320 people. Since it’s naissance the company has sold over £2 billion in health and beauty products including £15m sales of Enliven, DCS’ own brand.

We recently spoke to Charlotte Clay, Commercial Finance Manager at DCS to discuss how DCS have used Enable to make smarter deals.

Where were you storing your data previously?

Charlotte explains, “Historically, we’ve used big spreadsheets that slowly sort of ground to a halt when you tried to open them. They’re very monotonous in terms of having to constantly update them and carry the risk of human error. As there was lots of data stored in lots of different spreadsheets that took a lot of time to amalgamate together.”

Enable provides one version of the truth

Charlotte says, “Having one central spreadsheet made it hard for other teams across the business to access. Since we’ve had a rebate management tool, we’ve found visibility and accessibility across multiple teams, whether that be the commercial sales, finance teams, has improved a lot and we’re all looking at that one set of data. Also, now we don’t have to worry about version control, allowing a focus on using real time data to make great decisions.”

Enable has improved our visibility and auditability

Charlotte explains, “Rather than looking at income that’s available from our suppliers, we actually use Enable to look at the spend of our customers, how we can drive growth and our total liability for rebates. So, understanding how much we have paid out so far versus what we’ve got accrued in the system, and making sure that we’re then at month end recognizing the right liability at the right time. This is important in terms of hitting all the correct touch points from both an audit decision making and visibility perspective.”

How was data shared previously?

Charlotte says, “There was a real mix, you’d have some that would go off and do their own calculations and documents were open to interpretation so, there was loads of different approaches and therefore loads of different methods. Since using Enable we’ve found you’ve got that transparency, but also that sort of consistency in the way that we approach data and the way that we share it. We’ve found it’s made future negotiations much easier to do because everyone’s used to using the same format. It gets rid of ambiguity and really tightens up our rebate management process.”

Enable has helped us focus on analysis 

Charlotte says, “Previously the focus was on calculating the rebate due to the complexity. Since we’ve had Enable it’s taken that away, so our sales team have the freedom to drive more value adding activity rather than crunching numbers. We’re able to focus on analyzing the data to driven better behavior.”

The impact of implementing Enable

Charlotte explains, “Now we’ve got all that data in one place. It’s now a few simple clicks rather than pull that spreadsheet, add that spreadsheet together, have a look what it was. It’s just all there in one central place, and we’re all reading from that same sort of standardized data. There’s no manual input that just gets done at the beginning of the deal and then at the end of the year. Now we can understand how deals are developing over the year. It’s real time data so rather than waiting for that month end report, you can literally go in real time and see how your customer is performing and in what area and what supplier against what brand – it’s fantastic. What’s really enlightening is forecasting our spend. Rather than trying to understand in the moment what you’re spending, you can start to forecast exactly where your money is going in, compare to what happened last year to see if you can redeploy it to drive further growth.”

Charlotte further explains, “We also found our old rebate management process could sometimes require IT support. With Enable it allowed us to manage the process in our own department and freed up IT resource.”