With a turnover exceeding £8.5bn, Unitas Wholesale is the UK's largest wholesale services company formed in 2018 following the merge of two well established and leading buying groups (Todays Group and Landmark Wholesale Ltd). They are dedicated to supporting 180 independent wholesalers and their membership reach includes retail, foodservice, on-trade, and specialist markets, making them multi-channel experts and the most diverse group in the industry.
When did Unitas start using rebate management software? How were their rebates managed previously?
Unitas has been working with Enable since 2012 to help track, calculate and manage their rebates. Before Unitas implemented the rebate management system it was a manual process with errors aplenty and missing rebates.
As Amanda Barnard, Systems Coordinator at Unitas Wholesale tells us:
“There was a small team in the finance department manually processing the rebates using masses of spreadsheets to key in the figures.”
Although spreadsheets are easy to use, widely available and highly adaptable, we have seen with many of our clients that they can make data input slow and are prone to human error.
Amanda further goes on to say that “Forecasting and reporting was slow and inaccurate. As a result, rebate thresholds and business opportunities were all too often missed”.
What were the challenges that first led Unitas Wholesale to look for a rebate management solution?
Before the merger, using a manual system meant lots of potential for error and the figures were in lots of different formats making the process very complicated. Plus, members of the buying group were becoming frustrated because they found that they couldn’t see their own figures or track their rebates until year end.
Without a robust system in place Unitas knew they were potentially losing out on revenue but by solving these issues they could make sure that earned discounts were claimed correctly.
The Enable solution
Being experts in rebate management, we invested heavily in understanding their business needs and in doing so we provided a suite of supplier and member facing systems that allowed promotions and deals to be set up, signed off and then communicated across the Unitas group.
Why did Unitas Wholesale choose Enable?
The relationship came about because a previous MD of Todays Group knew Denys C. Shortt OBE who is a board member at Enable and Chairman and CEO of the DCS Group.
Having met with Enable, Unitas could clearly see that they understood their requirements and knew a lot about rebate management systems which Amanda said, “was a big bonus for them”. Unitas needed a company that understood how rebates work, otherwise it was a worthless process for them.
“We chose Enable because we could clearly see that they understood our requirements and knew a lot about rebate management systems.”
Unitas Wholesale were also confident that Enable had relevant experience in their sector, since Enable was already working with other buying groups.
What benefits have Unitas seen from using a Rebate Management System?
Unitas have discovered a number of benefits from implementing a Rebate Management System including the number one reason - being able to uncover missing rebates.
For their members who are accessing and using the system, there were also plenty of benefits.
“The rebate management system had a positive impact on cash flow. Payments were faster, and they could now track their own potential earnings and achieve higher growth levels and targets, meaning they could stay one step ahead of the competition.”
“The suppliers could also see excellent benefits and see the potential. Their own areas were growing!”.
In terms of signing off complex deals, these have now become “easier to understand and track”. The deal approval process, with sign-off required from both parties, ensures that fewer claims are challenged and there is clarity in what was agreed.