What a 100-year-old business can teach us about risk, rebates and cash confidence




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For Matt Freedman, Director of Finance at General Plumbing Supply, rebates were a major blind spot, putting forecasts’ accuracy and reliability at risk. They were introduced to Enable shortly after realizing they were owed $500k in rebates that hadn’t been received. The timing was perfect. Now, they can align their rebate structures in a way that benefits both their vendors and themselves and gain an extremely powerful level of level of detail and visibility: Giving them confidence in their finances, how to use their cash, and what investments to make.

General Plumbing Supply has been a leading resource to contractors for top-of-the-line plumbing, heating, HVAC, and industrial supplies for over 100 years. In 1910, Charles S. Goldberg started what came to be known as Goldberg Plumbing Supply in Bayonne, NJ, and since then they’ve grown over three generations to become one of the largest distributors on the East Coast, with 19 locations serving NJ, NY, and PA.  

We recently interviewed Matt Freedman, Director of Finance at General Plumbing Supply to find out more about their rebate agreements and how Enable has helped them become even more successful.

What challenges were you facing with your rebates?

Before Enable, managing rebates was a manual process driven by spreadsheets, putting a lot of pressure on their Purchasing Director, as well as Accounting Manager.

Matt Freedman says, “Rebates can play a very large role in the profitability of the business. As I built out our forecasting capabilities, I realized that rebates were a major blind spot. The major frustration I had is that I couldn't feel confident about our forecasts for rebates putting their accuracy and reliability at risk. I wanted to know when rebates are actually earned. Based on the way we were previously managing them it wasn't capturing that accurately.”

When did you realize you needed a rebate management system?

Matt explains, “I'd say the events that really pushed us to start looking for a solution was when we realized we were owed a rebate of $500,000 that we did not receive. It really solidified my thoughts that we needed a better solution. I'd say, perhaps it was just fate, but it was at that point we were introduced to Enable, the timing was just perfect.”

Enable supports collaborative growth with vendors  

Enable has allowed General Plumbing Supply to be more proactive with vendors and check that the data for both parties aligns well. It’s also allowed for more informed conversations due to the level of detail provided.

Matt says, “If we’re able to align our rebate structures in a way that benefits both our vendors and ourselves, then it's in our best interests to deliver for their needs in order to succeed for our business. Therefore, the ability to identify areas where there are opportunities to make purchases and push ourselves further into different buckets is a level of detail and visibility that is extremely powerful.”

The team at Enable make the difference

Matt says, “Anytime you bring on another IT supplier or partner, there's always a risk, as well as the time and work associated with that. Enable showed they were able to accommodate our rebate structures and the team was fantastic. The communication was very clear with us, the Enable team clearly invested a lot of work and time so, we felt comfortable turning that into a real partnership. We’ve since found the team to be very responsive and supportive.”

Why should others consider Enable?

Matt explains, “The ability to forecast your rebates is an extremely powerful tool. I'd say, especially for smaller businesses, that perhaps were harmed by COVID. Being able to track your rebates, know the earnings power of your business, know if there's any rebates that you're owed that you aren't being paid makes such a difference. It's going to allow us to feel that much more confident about where we're going to be in six months, how we can use our cash and what investments we can make. If times get tough, we can look at what levers we can pull and how that impacts the earnings power and the cash for our business. The visibility we now have is a major advantage that we did not have before Enable.”

The ability to forecast your rebates is an extremely powerful tool. The visibility we now have is a major advantage that we did not have before Enable.”

Matt Freedman
Director of Finance

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