Feature Deep Dive: SPAs for Manufacturers
If your team manages special pricing agreements (SPAs) in spreadsheets, you probably know the struggles of effectively administering and optimizing the hundreds (or even thousands) of them by hand. From tedious manual data entry to error-prone processes, manufacturers face myriad challenges in managing SPAs.
To address these challenges, we’re excited to announce Special Pricing Agreements – a purpose-built solution to streamline agreement management so your team can focus on value-add work instead of manual admin. In this deep dive into SPAs, we’ll explore the common special pricing challenges we set out to solve and the specific features we created to overcome them, along with a few tips for how you can use them in your workflows.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the first challenge that manufacturers face while managing SPAs:
Manual SPA Management is Time-Consuming
One of the most time-consuming aspects of SPA management is reviewing, creating and updating SPA contracts. Unlike volume rebates, which typically have a longer term (i.e., 6 months to a year) and are adjusted infrequently, there are much higher volumes of SPA deals that require monthly, weekly or even daily admin.
Most organizations are managing SPAs in spreadsheets or under-optimized ERP systems, leaving them without essential tools to save time and prevent errors. There could be thousands of unique contracts to manage at any given time, and for a small team that must manually enter all the data, this process can be quite a laborious and time-consuming challenge.
That’s where Enable’s SPA solution comes in, with an array of time-saving features.
Features for Saving Time
Contracts Creation/Repository: Manufacturers can easily create and approve new agreements from a single location, speeding up the process and allowing them to capitalize on time-sensitive SPA requests. Users can access and manage all existing agreements from this central, up-to-date repository.
Templates: All SPAs have an associated Template designed to set default values for certain core aspects of your contracts, which are then inherited by SPAs. This can significantly speed up the contract creation process by eliminating the need to re-enter the same information for every contract.
Versioning: While managing SPAs, it’s common for agreements to be renewed or modified. When this happens, it can be useful to keep an auditable trail that depicts the history of an agreement as time goes on, rather than having a large set of disconnected agreements. Our SPAs solution’s Versioning feature allows you to take an in-depth look at how your contracts have changed over time.
Manual Processes Are Prone to Error
Many manufacturers have yet to digitize or automate their SPA management processes, leaving them vulnerable to delays and human error. When teams are trying to manually input and calculate claims, mistakes happen – and the more data you must enter by hand, the more likely those mistakes are.
But errors in data entry aren’t the only risk related to manual processes. Errors also result from changes in product lines, list prices, contract multipliers, customers, selling authorization and more. Resolving these issues can cost your team significant time and effort that could be better spent on value-add tasks – but if left unchecked or allowed to recur, these errors can damage your reputation and trading relationships.
To avoid these challenges, you need a tool that helps you maintain your accuracy.
Features for Ensuring Accuracy
Automated Calculations: Why should your team take their valuable time to perform calculations that a computer can perform faster and with greater accuracy? Short answer: they shouldn’t. Enable automatically calculates the claim amount owed from transaction data, saving time and ensuring you are never over or underpaying your partners.
Transactions Import: To support manufacturers uploading their customers partners’ transactions or customers uploading their own transactions, we have built a transaction import wizard within our special pricing solution. This new transaction import process makes reconciliation easier, as any problems are pointed out within the UI without needing to download and reference separate files, while our comprehensive transaction log helps to ensure that manufacturers maintain a full audit trail while also providing visibility into the status of uploads.
Reporting: The SPAs platform hosts a wealth of useful reporting features providing valuable insights into your data.
- The Transaction report allows you to extract transactions information from Enable, including those that are not associated with any SPAs and have not contributed to earnings, with analysis breakdowns by any of your configured dimensions. You can also view analyses over a specified time period by day, week, month or year.
- The Special Pricing Support report allows you to extract special pricing earnings and advised earnings that relate to trading activity over a specified time period, including the sales that have generated those earnings, and break the data down by time period and other dimensions for analysis.
Collaborating with Partners is a Challenge
Manual, disparate or siloed processes can make communication a significant challenge for businesses attempting to maintain a strategic trading relationship, resulting in limited visibility into progress, performance, updates and more. Distributors often have their own format and process for claims, requiring too much manual effort. Incorrect data resulting from manual data entry processes can hinder collaboration as well. Issues such as these can cause frequent conflicts (surrounding pricing data, contract versioning, etc.) that require significant time and effort to resolve.
That’s why our SPAs solution comes with features that streamline collaboration, making it easier for you and your partners to work together.
Features for Promoting Collaboration
Collaborator Portal: Enable’s Collaborator portal is a one-stop shop for special pricing and trading collaboration. We’ve created a system that provides both sides (suppliers and customers, manufacturers and distributors) with the information they need at a glance, eliminating troublesome ambiguity and avoiding delays in communication. Check out some of its most exciting features:
- View agreement: Collaborator provides visibility to both suppliers and their customers. Distributors can log in to the portal and easily view specific, up-to-date details of their agreement.
- Upload transactions: Within the Collaborator portal, a distributor can select their desired manufacturer trading partner and then import transactions using a wizard which simplifies the process as much as possible. This feature also standardizes data in a usable format.
- View price lists: Distributors can view price lists which they have been given access to ensure they are using the correct values for their claims.
Automating SPA Management is Too Difficult
Manufacturers know that their manual SPA management process is inefficient, but transitioning to an automated solution is often seen as too challenging or time-consuming in the short term to justify the long-term benefits. With hundreds (or even thousands) of unique SPAs, each with its own specific terms, the challenge of moving such a high volume of data (without errors or mistakes) can seem insurmountable – but it doesn’t have to be.
Features for Automating SPAs
Migration Tool: The Migration Tool makes the process of transitioning your data to an automated system easier than ever before. It will migrate manufacturers’ historic and current SPAs into Enable. Here’s how it works: once data has been provided in CSV files, the tool will immediately respond with any basic structural problems detected. If it passes initial checks, data will then be processed using existing validation and saving functionality. Problems detected during saving will result in contracts being rejected. After a file has finished processing, it can be re-downloaded to view any errors.
Data Cleansing: Our Data Cleansing feature allows users to provide Enable with their data in its current form (product lists, partners, transactions, etc.) and then step away, letting the program transform it into a usable format and monitor your data on an ongoing basis.
For all their complexity, SPAs are here to stay. Your teams shouldn’t have to suffer from time-consuming processes, unnecessary errors or a lack of collaboration. Enable's SPA solution simplifies and automates management, providing valuable insights into performance and freeing up your team for value-add tasks.