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Enable and Confex: a story of growth, incentives and maximized complex rebates
Over time, Confex’s Access database started creaking at the seams. They knew it was time to get a tool to manage complex terms and conditionality for 200 wholesalers and over 200 suppliers more effectively, so they turned to industry expert, Enable. Beyond merely tracking rebates, they are trusting Enable to help them manage growth incentives, and maximize rebates across all their suppliers. Enable lets them drill down to see what's happening live, and make the most of their investment.
Confex is a unique wholesale buying group that was inaugurated in 1972, as one of the first buying groups in the UK offering over 40 years of trading experience. Confex negotiates in a wider range of product categories than any other trading group and has a reputation built on high levels of service and trading expertise with a turnover in excess of £1.82bn.
They now represent a membership of approx. 200 independent wholesalers nationwide and have over 200 official suppliers. Confex offers a broad spectrum of products and popular brands that satisfy most of the requirements of their diverse membership.
We spoke to Tom Gittins, Managing Director at Confex whose been with the business for over 12 years, to see how they were managing rebates previously, the challenges they’ve seen & why they chose Enable.
How did you manage rebates before Enable?
Tom explains, “So for about 20 years when we moved on from writing, we developed an Access database, which handled our rebates and finance functions. Over time we've found it has its limitations and it is creaking a little bit. The problem with Access as you develop, it becomes like a spider web and quite disparate. So yes, it was time to move on and see what was out there in terms of rebate bespoke systems for us.”
Confex wanted a rebate management solution to handle complexity
Tom says, “Over time, terms with suppliers have become more complex, they have different elements, a lot of what we call conditionality. So, you've got to do certain criteria to achieve certain rebates and that's very hard to visualize for a member who's looking at what he needs to do and the qualification criteria for various terms.”
Enable has strong experience with buying groups
Tom says, “We did look at various solutions before choosing Enable. Enable has experience within our sector, which I think is really important, works with some of our competitors, if I'm honest and we have spoken to Enable in the past, and this has been on our mind for a number of years. We decided now was the time where we're implementing some changes in the way we report our rebates. We're moving to monthly reports from our suppliers, and we thought this was a great time to move to this system.”
How have you found the Enable team so far?
Tom says, “The Enable team have been extremely helpful. I've known Andrew Butt who started Enable for a long time and it's great to see that Enable as a business has grown and got some great investment.
So yeah, I'm really looking forward to getting involved and offering feedback about the system. I'm very excited about the fact that updates come along quite regularly and as a pool collective across other industries as well, we can learn from each other and make it the best rebate system out there.”
Enable will help us to react quickly and grow
Tom continues, “It's really about moving on, like I said before not just about reporting, but also helping to grow our sales. I think our rebate system to date has just been about what's happened in the past. This is now about drilling down to see what's happening live and for a member's point of view, really be able to react and grow as well as, compare yourself to the rest of the market.”
Enable really does seem to be market leading and we're happy to be associated with it going forward.