Building Better Deals for Everyone in the Supply Chain

Building Better Deals for Everyone in the Supply Chain

Money makes the world go around. Great rebate deals make it move faster. At least, they do in a world where supply chain partners are invested in collaboration, choose mutual information-sharing, and use the right technology that supports the creation of mutually-beneficial deals.

But where do deals sit within the supply chain? How are deals currently managed? And how do you build better deals? This blog post answers all these questions.

Where deals sit within the supply chain

From manufacturers to distributors to retailers to customers, rebates operate at all four critical supply chain points. At every stage, rebates can help these parties add value to each other – if they’re open to collaboration.

But, as we’ve discovered in our series on Improving the supply chain, things don’t always work so well.

In these extremely interesting times, manufacturers need all the help they can get. So when one considers tips for improving the supply chain for manufacturers, collaboration, real-time visibility, automation, and disruption mitigation are top of mind.

The current state of the supply chain is creating significant challenges, as well as opportunities, for distributors, too. Are there any tips for improving the supply chain for distributors? Absolutely. Investing, adapting, and using all the resources available to you makes sense.

Retailers are living in exciting times, too. Ways of improving the supply chain for retailers include maintaining and improving supply chain relationships, investing in technology, and turning supply chain chaos into revenue to outperform the competition.

But what about the customer? Are there ways of improving the supply chain for customers, too? We’re so glad you asked! Yes, there are. All three supply chain participants mentioned earlier can tailor the supply chain to be more customer-centric.

It makes sense to use rebate management tools to improve consistency and service customers better to help customers get the goods they want at the best prices.

Current ways deals are managed across the supply chain

Unfortunately, however, organizations relying on outdated, clunky, or awkward methods of managing rebates cannot reap the rewards that rebate management leaders can. Here’s why.

- Spreadsheets

These 10 disadvantages of using spreadsheets for rebate accounting are pretty self-explanatory. There is, quite frankly, a significant risk of using spreadsheets for managing rebates. And while spreadsheets are extremely popular, they have a dark side and contain Excel errors that can be extremely dangerous.


While ERPs are extremely valuable data repositories, these are also not the best ways of managing rebates. With so many different types of rebate calculations, most ERPs can’t cope without extensive investment that is out of data as soon as significant changes occur in other dependent parts of the ERP system. In addition, as our CEO, Andrew Butt, explains in this blog post on the disadvantages of using an ERP system for rebate accounting, not all aspects of the contract can be systemized. 

How to build better deals

Anyone involved with the supply chain knows there is no immediate end in sight to supply chain unpredictability. When you consider that the cost of shipping a container on the world’s transoceanic trade routes increased 7x in the 18 months following March 2020 (source: IMF blog) and that global inflation is only likely to raise prices even further, there is significant pressure on everyone to find ways of saving money, while helping customers.

There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel… As our whitepaper on rethinking supply chain relationships says, “If unpredictability and volatility are the new normal in the supply chain, relationships between supply chain partners have to change too.” The solution lies in reviewing and re-building partner relationships, focusing on value, not price, and using rebates to build trust and loyalty.

-       Use Enable

It may seem simplistic, and you’d probably expect an organization specializing in rebate management software to tell you this, but using tools like Enable to manage rebates is genuinely a great way to build better deals. In an article on 5 ways to mitigate supply chain risks with rebate management software, we’re reminded why.

How does Enable help you mitigate supply chain risks?

  1. By ensuring you have accessible and trustworthy contracts.
  2. By enhancing supply collaboration.
  3. By eliminating human error.
  4. By providing a single, trustworthy source of data.
  5. And by helping anyone involved in a rebate deal keep a close eye on how deals are performing.

As we said earlier, collaboration is one of the fundamental principles behind building better deals. Sadly, however, according to a 2017 study from 3M cited in MH&L news, 70% of suppliers at the time claimed that half of their customers did not have systems in place for supplier collaboration and still relied on manual processes.

Since then, collaboration has improved.  But it only becomes optimized when everyone in the supply chain – from manufacturers to distributors, retailers to customers – is using the right technology to enable true collaboration.

When this happens, the benefits start to pile up. Trustworthy data provides great transparency. Processes are streamlined. Deal visibility is improved, as are reporting and forecasting. Teams are more productive. Organizations are more compliant. But, more importantly, better collaboration leads to improved deal performance and profitability.

Invest in supply chain technology

When McKinsey surveyed senior supply-chain executives from across industries and geographies in May 2020, 93% of respondents told them they intended to make their supply chains far more flexible, agile, and resilient.

Since then, McKinsey reports that most respondents have invested in digital supply chain technologies and plan to continue (see diagram below).

As our customer stories attest, many more organizations are turning towards rebate management systems to help them benefit their business. The world’s leading brands are driving profitable growth with Enable.

With an average ROI of 400%*, a guaranteed return of $1M**, and 40 hours saved per month, companies of all sizes can trust Enable to help them drive operational efficiency and boost financial performance.

Are you ready to do the same?

Schedule a demo to see how Enable makes it possible to build better deals for everyone in the supply chain.

* Over three years

** For companies larger than $500M

Elizabeth Lavelle

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