Rexel Canada is a distributor of electrical products and the market leader in Canada, operating across multiple networks: Rexel Atlantic, Nedco, Rexel Utility and Westburne. These networks provide electrical products and services to customers in the commercial, industrial, utility, maintenance and residential sectors.
As Rexel’s business expanded over time, an encompassing rebate evolution became necessary as part of a much wider change as the company moved forward.
More recently, Rexel Canada has seen an influx of green products entering the market and as a result there has need a need to further align on core supplier to drive volume, loyalty and strengthen partnership founded on profitability. Jeffrey Moyle, CEO at Rexel Canada, tells us, “Some of our core vendors have had rebates that are predicated on growth and certain elements of things we mutually want to see. Managing that aspect of our business has been a core foundation of our success going forward for Rexel Canada.”
As Jeffrey Moyle began his role three years ago, he inherited a portfolio of rebates that had been an anchor of the Rexel business model for +30 years all of which was run through internal business’s ERP. Unfortunately, a lot of that rebate information was in what they called a ‘black box’ and was not very accessible to a wider group of employees. After considering whether that information should be more widely available, Rexel Canada decided that having its information in an open-source environment was a means to better improve collaboration amongst Rexel and its partners alike. With that in mind, they searched for the most appropriate supplier saw the birth of the Enable / Rexel Canada Electrical Inc. relationship.
Moyle says, “That was our first challenge, decoding what we had. And unfortunately, a lot of the knowledge that was baked inside those modules was only understood by a small constituency of people. The biggest challenge was taking that information and making it accessible to a wider group of our managers across the country.”
Moyle continues, “Truthfully, at the beginning, I thought I was smarter than the machine and built a spreadsheet. In the end, I tripped and fell on myself multiple times, leading me to figure out that Andrew and Enable were better suited to deal with the needs I had versus my spreadsheet.”
Time Consuming ERP System
Rexel used to operate their ERP system manually, entering approximately 1,400 deals per month. Suppliers would send them faxes with their data, which they'd record, and then input it into the ERP system. Upon completing these tasks, they would generate around 87 different documents.
Moyles' job involved reviewing these documents with a highlighter to analyze the company's performance and identify opportunities to boost sales. This information was essential for creating accruals and updating financial records, which were then distributed among their nine operating companies.
Moyle comments, "Utilizing an ERP system for rebate management was undeniably time-consuming. It soon became apparent that handling the monthly data entry alone could justify a full-time position. However, I was confident that my team had the capacity to provide more than just process management. Transitioning to Enable was driven by my vision for them to engage collaboratively with our suppliers, proactively explore future opportunities, and adapt to the continually evolving market dynamics."
Moyle continues, “The main motivation for moving to Enable was to free up my team's time. We had a dedicated group of four intelligent individuals handling labor-intensive rebate management tasks. Automating this process became the turning point, allowing us to focus on other aspects of our business, which has since yielded great success.”
Managing Suppliers in a More Robust Way
Rexel Canada now have a lot more suppliers in the business than they did previously. To manage those suppliers and manage the shift in purchasing behaviors was a big change for Rexel, according to Moyle. “We needed something a little bit more robust and nimbler. Enable certainly checks that box.”
Moyle says, “Since deploying Enable, we've been able to make smarter decisions both in the field and related to our past purchasing behaviors. When it comes to purchasing, we sourced out the lowest price point of any particular product, irrespective of some deals we had in play. This ultimately bound us to a cohort of core suppliers.”
With the help of Executive Dashboard, Rexel can now disseminate key information to a wider group of people, VPs, general managers and their finance community alike. As a result, they’re now able to positively improve their bottom line in new ways.
Working in Tandem with Their Partners
Working with Enable has allowed Rexel Canada bring some of their partners with them on their rebate journey. Moyle says, “By having rebate information in an open-source environment, we’ve been able to catch a lot of mistakes because both sides of the agreement must sign-off. By catching these mistakes, we've been able to avoid conversations that, down the road, wouldn’t be very positive. That has made a huge difference in our relationships with our trading partners.”
Referring to Partner Dashboard, Moyle says “I like the fact that my group can upload their own rebate deals and manipulate them without having a third party being involved. It allows us to be quite nimble and quick. As a result, I am negotiating quite a lot of these deals all the way through, so I want to be able to make changes, and in parallel, to be able to synthesize what those changes mean for the end result. I’m able to run scenarios all the way through and get greater clarity.”
Establishing The Foundation for The Rest of The Business
Bringing a rebate management software like Enable onboard has allowed Rexel to set a foundation for other parts of our business they are targeting to improve, providing the impetus for a critical digital transformation.
Moyle says “We plan on growing. Rebates are a big part of our business, but we needed a partner who will grow with us in different elements of our business. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Enable.”
The Enable Team Were Enthusiastic
The ability to create a bespoke environment within the Enable software attracted Rexel to the product immediately. Because of this flexibility, Rexel was able to create something that fit their needs versus conceding to the demands of the software.
Although onboarding happened during COVID, Rexel Canada’s experience with Enable has been very positive. Moyle says, ”Everyone from Enable was engaged and energetic. The enthusiasm was infectious, truthfully. Enable’s people are an agile group who gets the job done. There were some bumps along the way, like any integration, but they were quick to resolve any issues. And I'm confident to say, today we are flying and we have no issues whatsoever.”
Moyle continues, “It's fascinating to watch a company like Enable grow as quickly as they have while still maintaining their core values and culture. That ability to grow while maintaining culture is so rare, and it’s one of the reasons we're still doing business today.”
Jeffrey Moyle’s Advice? Have A Realistic View of Your Goals
Moyles’s advice would be to understand exactly what your needs and goals are. Have your arms wrapped around what you have today, before you then go ahead and integrate something like Enable. To determine the best fit software, Rexel’s team wrote out a list of what they already had as well as their desires for a software before they spoke to industry and infrastructure data people.
Moyle says, “Have a clear idea of what the goal is versus just buying software. If you're buying software just to check a box, you're going to be sorely disappointed because you're not going to take full advantage of the opportunity.”
Future Plans for Rexel Canada and Enable
Moyle says, “I want to be able to add more partner programs and expand our use of the software. In the previous way we ran with our software programs, we were limited in terms of how much we could add, and by default we couldn't take advantage of the wide pool of partners we do have. My plans are to land and expand all the way through. Particularly as we move into more electrification, we're going to see a lot more suppliers that we didn't know two years ago, that will be important to our business”.
“What we paid for & what we received from Enable has been invaluable for us all the way through. The software exceeded our expectations and the ROI is greater than one. I'm proud to tell people our story, all the way”.
Automation of rebate management processes has freed up the team's time, allowing them to focus on other aspects of the business.
Enable's open-source environment has improved collaboration with trading partners, helping to avoid potential issues and fostering positive relationships.
The implementation of Enable has set a foundation for Rexel Canada's broader digital transformation.