Grafton Group plc is an international distributor of building materials to trade customers who are primarily engaged in residential repair, maintenance and improvement projects and house building.
The Group has leading regional or national market positions in the merchanting markets in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium. Grafton is also the market leader in the DIY retailing market in Ireland and is the largest manufacturer of dry mortar in Britain. Grafton trades from over 600 branches and has in the region of 11,000 employees. The Group’s origins are in Ireland where it is headquartered, managed and controlled. The Group reported revenue of £2.5 billion in 2020.
In total Grafton trades with more than 3,500 suppliers. Of these suppliers, in excess of 700 have a commercial trading agreement, which will now be managed on Enable’s rebate management platform.
What were the challenges and frustrations that first led Grafton to look for a rebate management solution?
Previously, Grafton’s trading agreements were produced in a Microsoft Excel environment which allowed for inconsistency of output depending on who was managing the deal.
The signed trading agreements were not automatically loaded into their previous rebate portal so consequently it was possible that someone would forget to upload a deal meaning that other stakeholders could not find it when they needed to. This meant precious time was lost and they were limited in their ability to restrict access to their deals which could have therefore potentially revealed a lot of sensitive information.
Also, the trading agreements that had been signed by hand and then scanned would often suffer from poor image quality and were not always legible.
A positive pre-existing relationship with Enable was a big factor in choosing Enable’s rebate management software. In addition to this, the software addressed all of the challenges that they had faced under their previous system and they were also attracted to the flexibility that it offered, in particular the ability to tailor the trading agreement design and reporting functionality to meet their specific requirements.
A big step towards becoming a digitally engaged business
Generally speaking, the response has been very positive. Those that had some reservations about having to learn a new process and get to know a new system were quickly converted to advocates of using Enable. Our Commercial Teams value the ability to see where their trading agreement proposals are in the approval workflow rather than having to chase round all involved stakeholders for an update. They also like the fact that the new agreements look clean, crisp and professional (and that they are always legible!).
Mark says: ”Everyone seems to be in agreement that the introduction of Enable’s software is a big step towards our goal of being a digitally engaged business using the best available technology.”
Benefits of Enable
As Grafton are still in the early stages of using Enable, they are yet to see all the benefits however, Mark says: “We do have one instance whereby the software has helped us to claim income that would have otherwise been missed. This was a result of Enable’s improved reporting functionality that allowed us to focus in on a particular section of all of our trading agreements so we could easily compare this to the income that had been claimed, in doing so identifying income that had been missed.”
Enable is a truly collaborative platform
Managing changes to contact details and changes of personnel has meant that they can move away from administration tasks to allowing their trading partners to manage everything themselves. Their trading partners are now able to submit turnover using a standard template and raise issues with Enable directly where necessary, which has cut down on manual errors, queries and email traffic.
Mark says: “Having a portal by which our trading partners can access their information in a central location has streamlined our communications process and improved transparency.”
Positive experience with Enable throughout
Grafton have partnered with Enable for some years now, having previously managed commercial trading on a bespoke portal powered by Enable. Prior to this positive experience of working with Enable over the years, they were keen to learn more about the new software when they first heard about it. The product was evaluated by a cross-departmental project team made up of representatives from Finance, Business Intelligence and Procurement. Grafton started to implement the new Enable product in early 2020.
During onboarding Grafton wanted to make tweaks to the platform before inviting their internal and external stakeholders to use the rebate management software. Enable assisted them throughout this process and were always on hand and happy to help with all of their requests.
In conclusion, Mark says: “Working with Enable is a refreshing experience. Our queries and requests are always met with a ‘can do’ approach, which has allowed us to tailor the software and implement it in a way that works best for us. Even when a request is not currently feasible, the Enable teamwork with us to find alternative solutions and workarounds.”