Supplier rebate deals should be a win-win, benefiting manufacturers and distributors alike. But too often they lead to distributors losing revenue, and suppliers losing trust…
DealTrack Blog — Rebate Management
While spreadsheets are undeniably easy to use, widely available and highly adaptable much has been written about the danger of using them in contexts where there is just too much information, or where that information is too important to risk to human error. A prime candidate is the case of rebates: both customer rebates and supplier rebates, where even the smallest error can result in losses of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since spreadsheets are so easy to use it is also easy to make mistakes, to change data, make errors and worse, not spot the errors and carry on with business as usual. The result is that incorrect information can cause issues when you are trying to understand your business’s financial position down the line.
It may seem overly simplistic to associate the complex nature of financial accounting with a cup of coffee, but when it comes to customer rebate management this analogy makes intuitive sense for anyone who has ever tried to get a free cup of the caffeine-laced beverage.
SPAs (Special Pricing Agreements) are a common vendor program in many industry sectors. The program gives a special product discount for verified sales to an ultra-competitive event where in-stock discounts can’t secure the order.
SPAs trace their roots back to the 1970’s but have shown significant growth in the past decade. As B2B e-commerce now counts for an estimated 15% of all orders and grows at 8% per year, SPAs have grown significantly as price and availability are easily and quickly researched.
SPAs are now used by 77% of all distribution firms in North America; second only to volume rebates which are used by 90% of distributors.
Topics: Rebate Management, Rebate Accounting, Industry Sector: Building Materials, Industry Sector: Wholesale Distribution, Industry Sector: Retail, Industry Sector: Buying Groups, Rebate Management System, Special Price Agreements SPAs
Vendor monies that support reseller sales are big business. US-based research conducted in October 2018 estimates that, at top performance levels, distributors, dealers, and retailers use $600+ Billion (USD) in vendor funds. Projections from the EU find that approximately €500 Billion (EU) in vendor funds are similarly spent.
Rebates, SPAs, claim-backs, contract support are all very similar and at the same time quite different to each other. In essence they are all terms for the money that wholesalers claim from suppliers and manufacturers for selling their products. Some of the key differences lie in how the agreements are formed, whether goods are actually ever handled by the wholesaler, and how the claims are made.
Collectively, they are sometimes referred to as “vendor monies”. It is estimated that, annually, these amount to $600bn in North America and perhaps as much as $500bn in Europe.
In a world where margins are tight, wholesale distributors across nearly 50 sectors rely so much on vendor monies that their absence would be a serious dent in their profit margin.
Topics: Rebate Management
Whilst many core business systems have some functionality to help monitor trading agreements that involve vendor rebates, most have neither the flexibility nor the extensive range of functionality that is needed to support the increasingly complex world of rebate management.
For many, that lack of functionality has resulted in missed rebates and poor accrual accounting.
But worse than that, if your business systems don’t support rebate management fully, then the whole purpose behind creating deals involving rebates – a means to influence business growth – is missed.
Companies tend to look for specialist rebate management software when they reach a point where their core business systems are proven to be inadequate.
This particularly affects builders' merchants, plumbing distributors, electrical distributors, HVAC distributors and others who operate in the building materials industry. These businesses usually have to deal with a large number of complex trading agreements involving rebates, special pricing agreements, retrospective discounts, over-riders and more across many thousands of stock items.
Whilst working with a number of organisations across industry sectors such as building materials, buying groups and wholesale and distribution, we have seen a large variety of very complex supplier rebates and trading agreements. These very often involve incredibly complicated performance-based calculations with seemingly endless permutations, and on top of that agreements are subject to periodic review and change.
Topics: Rebate Management
If you’re a builders merchant in 2018 you’ll know how essential it is to ensure every penny counts in terms of your bottom line. So, it’s even more crucial than ever that you don’t miss out on any of the, often significant, sums due to you through rebates.
Indeed, profitability for suppliers to the building industry is often very closely dependent on the amount of rebate they can negotiate and claim and many businesses across this sector tell us that the sheer volume of categories and the complexity of rebate deals means that administering rebate claims is a mission critical element of their business which can be the difference between a decent year and a great one.
100% of our customers have identified previously missed rebate claims after implementing our Dealtrack system and we have even seen cases of missed rebate claims amounting to 7 or even 8 figure sums.