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The Deal Economy

Our products drive profitable growth with your trading partners. We’re rethinking the way the deal economy works.

From a game of telephone to the tower of babel — translating deal management for sales, commercial and finance teams

When it is done well, customer rebate management improves partner relationships, provides financial compliance and reduces audit risk, eases cash flow for customers, improves rebate accuracy and predictability and helps grow business through true partnerships between manufacturers and their customers. In the past: managing customer rebates was like playing telephone Unfortunately, in the past, managing customer rebates internally – never mind with external partners – was more like a game of tel...Continue reading

Why customer rebates are like buying cups of coffee

It may seem overly simplistic to associate the complex nature of financial accounting with a cup of coffee, but when it comes to customer rebate management this analogy makes intuitive sense for anyone who has ever tried to get a free cup of the caffeine-laced beverage. Rebates vs. discounts Rebates are similar to a discount. So what’s the difference between them? Discounts are typically applied at the point of purchase to reduce the buying price: when you get a bill you pay the discounted valu...Continue reading

Technology, humans and rebate management

When it comes to modernizing business practices, technology in general and software in particular is essential for business growth. How are manufacturers and suppliers who deal with millions of dollars’ worth of customer rebates each month adapting to the challenges faced by a historic lack of suitable software? Andy James, Chief Product Officer at Enable, shared a few stories about how their clients have changed for the better and what drove their decisions. Essentially, for two of our largest...Continue reading

Rebate management explained

Rebate management is the process of recording supplier agreements, tracking purchases and sales against those agreements, and managing accruals and rebate claims in a timely manner.

Proper rebate management can be a headache for any business, regardless of the scale of their rebate programmes. Often, whole teams are dedicated to using legacy systems to follow inefficient processes, reducing productivity and negating the intended benefit of the rebate agreements commercial teams have negotiated brilliant terms for.

For small to medium businesses, rebate can make up the majority of their profit and for large businesses even a small improvement in process can lead to the discovery of millions of pounds, therefore it’s essential for any company who are regularly involved in rebate to scrutinise their current rebate management process and consistently strive to improve.

8 min read

The trials and tribulations of a customer rebate program

Customer rebate programs are great in that they drive the selling behavior of resellers and distributors on more than ten trillion dollars in North America and Europe alone. The large volume of money attributed to customer rebate programs is hardly surprising since they include everything from simple vendor rebates to marketing development funds (MDFs), vendor co-op funds and special pricing agreements (SPAs). However, rebate accounting is complicated, and managing vendor rebate programs can be...Continue reading

3 ways rebate software can help to increase the profitability of your business

For any business to be successful, it’s vital that a profit is made enabling continued success and to provide opportunities for growth and development. But, making a profit isn’t always as easy as it may seem. Once all the necessary expenses and costs have been paid out, its then essential enough sales have been made just to break even, let alone have anything extra to realise a company’s ambitions.

Although this can be extremely challenging at times, it’s also possible to increase the profitability of your business by spotting opportunities. Collecting rebate agreements on time, consistently and accurately could be one of these opportunities. Rebate management is the process of recording supplier agreements, tracking purchases and sales against those agreements, and managing accruals and rebate claims in a timely manner.

5 min read

Excel errors — why spreadsheets are so dangerous for rebate accounting

A few years ago news about Excel miscalculations at JP Morgan rocked spreadsheet users’ worlds. A simple cut and paste error cost JP Morgan $6 billion and resulted in dramatic headlines like “Why Excel is the Most Dangerous Software in the World”, but it wasn’t the first time spreadsheets had caused massive business disruption, nor will it be the last. A similar cut and paste error had previously cost TransAlta $24 million and another Excel mishap – hiding cells instead of deleting them – cost B...Continue reading

Forecasting rebates? Here’s 4 challenges you may come across.

Whatever industry you are involved in, forecasting the potential earnings for your business is essential in preparing for the ups and downs of the year ahead. But how do you make decisions about your budget, such as how many employees you can afford to hire or how much you can spend on marketing if you don’t know how much revenue and profit you’ll be generating?

Accurate forecasting and accurate accruals are vital to success within your business to ensure that you are aware of what the future is likely to hold so that you can appropriately allocate resources to assist in key areas. For many businesses, forecasting is not a focus and even for those that make a point to forecast their future, various challenges can limit the accuracy and benefit of these forecasts.

With this in mind, let’s dive in to the four common challenges of forecasting rebates.

Rebate forecasting challenges

  1. Many in-house forecasts are too basic.
  2. Renegotiating the best deals in the future.
  3. Forecasting is too manual.
  4. Forecasts are not updated throughout the deal.

Challenge #1: Many in-house forecasts are too basic

Often, in-house systems forecast earnings or payments by a simple linear extrapolation based on qualifying spend for a particular deal to date until the end of the deal.

7 min read

The rebate data cheat sheet: what are your supplier rebate accruals based on?

Supplier rebate agreements are often based on the volume of purchases of particular products. This means that in order to accurately calculate the rebate that should be accrued or collected, and to minimise the chance of disputes with suppliers it is crucial that your rebate calculations are based on accurate data.

When choosing which data to use for your supplier rebate calculation, you will likely be considering the three following options. Unsurprisingly, each of these choices have advantages and disadvantages to consider depending on your internal systems, business processes and priorities.

Let’s dive in and take a look at the pros and cons.

5 min read

5 rebate challenges facing buying groups and their members

Safety in numbers is the well-known hypothesis that, by being part of a large group, an individual can reduce their risks and is, therefore, more likely to succeed. In the same way, buying groups typically form to provide smaller independent companies greater buying power by consolidating their purchases. While this structure can be hugely beneficial, we’ve found that it usually adds complexity to the process of managing retrospective rebates.

Due to the number of members changing and volatility of small business, there can be a great variance in the purchase volume from time to time. This means that the buying group as a whole can often struggle to commit to consistent large purchasing volumes which reduces buying group negotiating power and will lead to suppliers offering lower discounts.

Rebates often enter the conversation as a mutually beneficial method, offering tiered discounts based on actual purchases. Whilst rebates are the best solution for this problem in the eyes of the buying group, supplier and buying group members, they create new challenges for all involved. This can lead to large amounts of time and energy — that could be better utilised elsewhere — being unnecessarily wasted.

Let’s dive in to the 5 rebate challenges that are faced by both buying groups and their members:

5 min read

What is special pricing collaboration?

With ever-more complex special pricing agreements being created in an already vast and competitive market, the ability to efficiently maintain pricing flexibility between manufacturers and distributors has become essential.

Both supplier and customer rebate have been prominent for many years. Their aim is incentivising purchases and sales and protecting profit margins. A focus on rebate management has helped merchants, buying groups, wholesale distributors and retailers to drive mutually profitable growth with suppliers whilst improving cash flow and reducing risk.

US-based research has shown that alongside rebate agreements, manufacturers and distributors are increasingly collaborating around ‘special pricing agreements’, commonly abbreviated to SPAs, and often referred to as ‘contract support’ in the UK building materials sector.

By necessity, SPAs are collaborative arrangements whereby manufacturers and distributors assist each other for mutual benefit. Initially these types of agreements entered the market to leverage scale, but they have since evolved into a more widespread tool used to grow sales and market share by allowing trading partners to work together in offering a more competitive price than their rivals.

11 min read

The need for a system to manage special pricing agreements (SPAs)

The Deal EconomyDecember 18, 2018

Ah yes, rebate claims. An evil necessary in the land of SPAs (special price agreements). While they’re inherently necessary to realize intended profit on the sales transaction, they’re a pain in our side when it comes to handling the issues that plague the reconciliation process. But the process of reconciling product rebate claims is full of information that is largely dismissed, not getting any attention to the voice that tells us the very issues we continue to tolerate rather than fix. Let’s...Continue reading

Supplier collaboration in the building materials sector

The Deal EconomyDecember 12, 2018

We learn about collaboration from an early age. As children we quickly learn that we need to collaborate with teachers, classmates and team players in order to be successful. "There's no 'i' in 'team' is a common mantra in sports and work teams. And "supply chain collaboration" has been a hot topic for decades. Despite that, there are very few systems that enable wholesale distribution companies and their suppliers in the building materials sector to truly collaborate on their trade agreements....Continue reading

Managing special pricing agreements is linked to higher margins

The Deal EconomyDecember 4, 2018

SPAs (Special Pricing Agreements) are a common vendor program in many industry sectors. The program gives a special product discount for verified sales to an ultra-competitive event where in-stock discounts can’t secure the order. SPAs trace their roots back to the 1970’s but have shown significant growth in the past decade. As B2B e-commerce now counts for an estimated 15% of all orders and grows at 8% per year, SPAs have grown significantly as price and availability are easily and quickly rese...Continue reading

Seven key elements of successful trade negotiations

The Deal EconomyNovember 27, 2018

The phrase win-win is probably over-used, but I am going to use it anyway to describe the situation where both parties come out of a negotiation feeling like they have won. Let’s be honest. If you think you won and the other party (your supplier or your customer) feels they lost, then it’s not really a good situation. Price is important, but (particularly in industries like building materials distributors and grocery retailers where margins are tight) time to market, supply chain reliability, in...Continue reading

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