Once a rebate is secured, it is entered into a module in the ERP software system at Arkansas Bag & Equipment. The product code is then linked to the customers who purchase the product, according to Garbett. Each time the company makes a sale of that product to customers who are linked to that product code, the system tracks the rebate price.

“All we have to do is update and maintain the rebate contract when they come due or change,” Garbett says. “Usually, it’s a pretty simple thing.”
The software that is used at Arkansas Bag & Equipment can also handle market-segment rebates offered by certain manufacturers. When these types of rebates are entered into the software system, they are automatically applied to clients that are in that particular market segment.

Although most of the tracking is accomplished through the ERP system at Arkansas Bag & Equipment, the company has assigned its operations manager to be the point person for rebates. The operations manager can be held accountable while providing efficiency in the complex process, Garbett says.
“It’s extremely important to have a system, whatever that system is, in place,” Garbett says. “It’s more efficient to have one person do it because it is easier to understand and it can be done quicker and totally monitored. At the end of the month, this person will be pulling the reports and sending them to the manufacturers. If you have too many hands in the fire, it’s very easy for something to be missed.”

Sam Bertenthal, vice president of operations, of D.H. Bertenthal & Sons, in Morgan, Pennsylvania, handles rebates himself. For the past 16 years, his company has been using software to simplify the rebate process, which has been made even easier with an upgrade to the rebate module two years ago.

The software requires Bertenthal to enter contracts and a few data points, including the rebated price, stock number, the product and the company’s customers. At the end of the month, Bertenthal says he runs a rebate report that shows sales to specific customers that can be used to reconcile rebates with the manufacturers.

“You have to have everything set up to get the right data into the system to make your life easier,” he says. “Being a small company, I have my hands on a lot of things…some people might not be as diligent and not concerned about getting nice rebates, so they may miss [certain rebates].”

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