Chicken Soup for the Rebate Strategist
As you’re clicking to read this blog, you’re probably thinking, What does chicken soup have in common with rebates? And you’d be right in thinking that, unless you’re a tinned soup distributor or retailer buying many quantities in exchange for a rebate.
We were inspired by the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, which is a heart-warming collection of books that inspires people to live their dreams and overcome challenges.
Talking of challenges, rebate professionals that we’ve spoken to have a never-ending list as they battle with day-to-day rebate management tasks. This list includes but is not limited to error prone spreadsheets, complexity, endless paperwork and email chains, disputes on who is owed what in the form of a rebate and missed revenue opportunities. If you’re experiencing the same issues, it’s never too late to make a change.
Those who decided to take action and transform their role from reactive to proactive rebate strategists are now heading in the right direction and have found solutions to their problems with the help of rebate management software. Here are their inspirational stories:
UAG was working with over 265 vendors, trying to receive, process and analyze spreadsheets from each and every one of them. And then they were trying to compare that data to their own purchase records and systems, was a recipe for disaster. It took them a tremendous amount of work and manual effort to plug in formulas and make accurate rebate calculations.
With Enable in place, UAG is able to slice and dice information in a completely different way. They even found areas of underpayment or no payments from vendors! They have also seen benefits for their owners, who can now see how far they are from reaching certain rebate tiers, if they're close to missing a tier and how much money or units they have to purchase to reach that next level. This kind of visibility is something UAG had never experienced before implementing Enable.
“In order to set ourselves up for growth, to become a billion-dollar company, we could not continue to do business the way that we were doing it in the past. So, we did an internal review and we said, instead of just having a procurement team, bringing on new vendors, new partners, we need to be more strategic about our rebates.”
Shaina Wan, Strategic Vendor Partnerships Manager, UAG
Like most rebate professionals we talk with, Netplus Alliance was relying on spreadsheets. Without rebate management software, they knew expanding the depth and breadth of their rebate offerings and being creative when it came to negotiations with their distributors was going to be difficult.
Since 2015, Netplus Alliance has doubled their business. To continue this success, they needed a rebate management solution. Enable has given them peace of mind, as they don’t have to worry about potential data loss from spreadsheets. Today, they’re able to negotiate better and deeper deals and allow their supplier partners to ‘go to market’ the way that it's most beneficial to them.
“The benefits of Enable can be seen cross-departmentally for us, notably in the accounting department. I have a finance director who's brilliant and it is not a good use of her time to be using spreadsheets. Now she's more strategic, she's improved processes. We've kind of reallocated that time. So, it's not really a labor savings, it's a reallocation of labor in a much smarter way.”
Kerry Atlas, VP of Operations and Finance, Netplus Alliance
Stemco was dependent on Excel spreadsheets and communicating rebate-related information via email. The whole process was very time consuming. At one point, to get a rebate processed in the company, it required a minimum of eight internal emails. Add in a significant level of complexity, and the situation intensified further, making margin calculations even more difficult. Stemco’s agreements were not simple rebates. Some have a set price per part for a set time, then the time period and pricing changes.
Through Enable, Stemco was able to utilize the collaboration portal. Via Enable’s Collaborator portal, their distributors could log in and upload data and run reports, rather than relying on them sending their data via email. Collaborator helped Stemco’s trading partners get the information about their rebate programs in a timely manner and make educated decisions. Once Stemco started receiving data efficiently, they could turn their attention to being more strategic and analyzing their deals. This resulted in improved consistency, extra validation and even $35K in overpayments!
“The time that I have saved from using Enable, I've been able to transition, to look at things more strategically and being able to review and look at the programs rather than just trying to get the program through. I've been able to shift my focus and add more value, rather than to just push paper around.”
Colleen Kennedy, Marketing Analyst, Stemco
In the past, rebates were tracked on a simple Excel spreadsheet. CarParts has vendors with extremely complex details and adding to this they had agreements change in the middle of the year. Being able to track the earnings effectively has been a significant challenge for them. Being compliant from an agreement standpoint has been even more so.
It was CarParts’ ambition to become a $1bn company by 2024. In order to meet this ambitious target, they onboarded a rebate management system that made life easier, accurately tracked their rebates and managed extremely complex rebates. Alongside this, they were able to generate signed agreements that were compliant from a vendor standpoint.
“Before Enable, we weren't accurately tracking the rebates, so a lot of guesswork was involved. Now, we know exactly what we've earned to the penny.”
Jerome Dziechiasz, Senior Category Manager of Merchandising Operations CarParts
For years, Advance Auto Parts had anywhere from 18 to 22 separate spreadsheets, many with nearly 100,000 lines and 50 columns of data detailing the terms and conditions of varying agreements. The more rebate programs, the more complex and unwieldly they became, making it difficult to reimburse partners in a timely and accurate manner.
Enable has allowed AAP to centralize their information and make it readily available to partners in easy-to-digest reports, that allow data driven decision making. Employees once responsible for sifting through spreadsheets are now helping analyze which rebates programs work best and how to optimize these programs for mutual growth. With this information to hand, they can guide partners accordingly.
“Rebate management software ultimately pays for itself in both customer satisfaction and in accurate, timely payments, as well as by allowing us to analyze which rebates programs work and which don’t work.”
Bob Gay, Sr. Manager | Rebates & Incentives, AAP
Feeling inspired? Get in touch to transform your role and your rebate management processes with the help of Enable.