In 2020, before the arrival of COVID-19 there were already 4.7 million people working remotely in the U.S, now according to recent Gallup’s research 62% of employed Americans are currently working from home during the pandemic - so this trend is showing no sign of slowing down! Even businesses that did not usually provide remote work opportunities had to quickly shift their processes to allow their team to work from home to ensure business continuity. On the finance side of things, the Gartner CFO survey revealed that 74% intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently.
Enable Blog — Elizabeth Allcock
Businesses have long taken for granted supplier relationships, until the COVID pandemic forced all parties involved to immediately examine their relationships with suppliers. There are many reasons why it’s important to maintain a great supplier relationship, it not only makes daily operations more enjoyable, but it can also get you a better rebate deal, support greater collaboration and strengthen goodwill.
Strong supplier relationships are also key for businesses wanting to maintain growth and expand into new markets. A strong supplier relationship, is critical to the health of businesses, but how well do you really know your suppliers? Here are 10 ways you can improve your supplier relationships today.
Businesses managing complex rebates and deals often do not realize how crucial the software they use is to company expansion and increased rebate revenue. What was most likely the best fit for your business when you first started out, may not be the right choice to fuel the next stage of your company’s growth - especially when the scale of your business processes increases dramatically!
One of these pieces of software is Excel spreadsheets, which according to Forrester Research is used by 81% of businesses and has 750 million users worldwide. Many of us use spreadsheets daily because they are inexpensive to create, highly flexible, mostly easy to use and very easy to share. However, Excel has its downsides.
A continued reliance on Excel spreadsheets causes inefficient manual processes, high operational costs, greater risk of errors, and limitations to your rebate revenue potential. Below we’ll share in more detail the many disadvantages of spreadsheets and the various ways they are used in the rebate world, plus why an automated rebate management system is a more secure, efficient and safer software option for your business going forward.
If your business is planning an overhaul of its rebate management, then you know finding the right solution is only half the battle. The second half is actually implementing the system. No matter the size of your organization, implementing a new rebate management system into your existing processes can be a daunting task, since you and your employees need to adapt to the new system and learn how to use it effectively. After making an initial investment in a new solution, the last thing you want is a failed implementation.
It’s important to have a solid plan on how to move forward by first assessing the current situation. While the software implementation process may take some time, preparation and planning is the best way to ensure the implementation goes as smoothly as possible. To position you and your team for success, here are some things to consider prior to starting your software implementation.
With North America becoming our fastest-growing market, the ability for the Client Services team to expand our support hours and onboard new clients onto our rebate management platform was a top priority for us. That’s why we have opened a new office in San Francisco for our Client Services team to better serve our American clients, with secondment opportunities offered to all of our employees based at our headquarters in Stratford-upon-Avon. International secondments can be a huge benefit to employees as they offer them an opportunity to develop their skill sets whilst also giving them new experience within a different environment.
By expanding our support hours, our clients no longer have to wait until the following day to get a response or get an update on a current support ticket from the Client Services team. This leaves our clients in North America safe in the knowledge that their support requests are being dealt with efficiently and promptly.
This month we have spoken to one of our first two San Francisco secondees James, an Engineering Manager who graduated from the University of Birmingham with a BSc in Computer Science. He joined Enable as a Software Engineer, then progressed to his present role as an Engineering Manager. A key part of James’s role in San Francisco was to work in close collaboration with his UK colleagues in the Client Services team and provide direct assistance to our clients via our support hub, email and inbound calls. The US team is also on hand to help with the onboarding of new clients based in North America through online workshops, screen sharing and site visits. After spending 3 weeks in January at our new offices in San Francisco, James shares his experience with us.
How long have you worked at Enable?
I’ve worked at Enable for almost 8 years now, I started as a Software Engineer and have recently been promoted to Engineering Manager. It still surprises me how much has changed since I first started with Enable, I would never have expected a secondment to San Francisco being a possibility when I first started!
Why did you decide to apply for the secondment opportunity?
It was a no-brainer really. San Francisco has always been somewhere I wanted to visit so to get the opportunity to go there for work was perfect.
Additionally, as an Engineer, a lot of my time is spent on technical work so the option to see how a different part of the team worked also interested me.
What was the internal application process like?
Enable wanted to open the secondment opportunity to all parts of the company, regardless of whether they were in the Client Services team. A workshop was held to explain what would be expected of the secondment and I quickly put in my application following that.
Before the secondment started, I joined the Client Services team full-time for three weeks of training, temporarily stopping all my current work within the Engineering team. Due to the time difference in San Francisco it wouldn’t always be possible to contact UK team members for assistance, these three weeks were invaluable in preparing me for the secondment.
How long did you stay in San Francisco for?
We were in San Francisco for three weeks in January. Chris McCarthy, an Implementation Lead from the Client Services team, also went with me.
Enable rented two apartments in the Duboce Triangle area for us to stay at for the duration of the secondment, these were a stone’s throw from some great bars and restaurants and were just a short 15-min commute from the office.
Tell us about your average day at our offices in San Francisco.
Our mornings were usually busiest, as due to the 8-hour time difference with the UK we had limited time to catch-up with the team in Stratford-upon-Avon.
A lot of our time was spent interacting with our non-UK customers, providing them support throughout their entire working day, especially when the UK team had finished. I personally found it interesting interacting with customers who were using the software that I had helped to implement.
What did you enjoy most about working in San Francisco?
It was great to experience working in a place that was so different to Stratford-upon-Avon. The office was on the 16th floor of a skyscraper, getting the lift up to the office each day to see the views of San Francisco was really impressive!
Did you get the chance to do any sightseeing in your free time?
We tried to make the most of our evenings and weekends to explore the city and surrounding areas. A few of the highlights were: visiting Alcatraz, cycling across Golden Gate Bridge, seeing the Golden State Warriors play basketball and doing a day trip down to Silicon Valley.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to apply for a secondment opportunity at Enable?
Go for it! It was an amazing experience, and San Francisco is such a great place to visit.
The procurement role is consistently evolving from a clerical back office function to a strategic business function. Procurement is more than just purchasing goods and services; it has moved to managing and deriving value from the supplier relationship. In rebate management their role involves identifying the right supplier, evaluating supplier performance, and negotiating trading agreements that can provide the highest value at minimum cost. Procurement also has a major influence on the overall costs of the business and cost reduction represents a huge portion of their rebate management strategy.
A key stakeholder in any successful business is the vendors it works with and it can take a lot of care and consideration to make sure that the company is maximizing the value it is getting out of the relationship with the vendor. Added value can take the form of general cost savings, efficiencies made possible by new technology or processes and delivery of certain products or services at an agreed rebate.
The deal management process can be very complex with various trading agreements and many departments involved. The deal management process is a series of actions that will guide you through each stage as you develop an effective way to handle each deal and see them through to their conclusion. It's important that you understand each stage of the deal management process so you can know what to expect and ensure optimal deal management. Businesses often make use of a deal management system to streamline their processes and claimed on missed rebates.
Topics: Deal Management
In today’s deal economy, traditional methods of signing and validating B2B contracts mean that every day a potential B2B contract is sitting in somebody’s inbox waiting for approval, preventing either trading partner involved from making money or even worse, killing the deal altogether. As you know, a contract isn’t a done deal until all trading partners have signed.
Topics: Contract Management
Most businesses start out managing their rebates using a variety of simple, standalone tools such as financial spreadsheets. But from experience, we know that these outdated rebate management processes can prevent businesses from calculating, accruing, and allocating rebates easily. Businesses that rely upon inefficient rebate processes as they evolve, could face various challenges and risks that prevent growth, efficiency, and increased ROI.
Don’t let obsolete rebate management processes hinder your business’s evolution; discover the twelve warning signs you’ve outgrown your old rebate system or financial spreadsheets and why you need a modern rebate management system that can help you maximize the performance of your B2B deals.
1. Spending too much time on data entry
Do you often find yourself spending hours on end creating reports or staring at financial spreadsheets because your current system can’t keep up? Or do you find yourself constantly manually entering data? Both of these tasks can easily be automated with a rebate management system – so your valuable time is not being wasted.
2. You’re relying too much on financial spreadsheets
Creating, updating, and generating rebate calculations in financial spreadsheets requires a significant amount of manual labour. Plus, financial spreadsheets are extremely limited when it comes to collaboration and version control. For example, employees from several different departments may have contributed data to the spreadsheet which can also present challenges when it comes to regulatory compliance and month-end closings. As such financial spreadsheets can be a warning sign that your rebate processes are not up to the job.