Monthly rebate reports that show how much of a rebated product was sold to customers are typically sufficient to send to manufacturers at the end of the month and easy to generate, according to Bertenthal.

However, “different manufacturers have different ways they want you to send the data. Some of them we email and some of them we (use) a spreadsheet they devised,” Bertenthal says. “Others want it faxed the old-fashioned way with proof of delivery.”

Bertenthal says investments in software pays dividends in his company, which sees about a 5 percent increase in the bottom line each month because of rebates.

“If we paid the stock price, our margins would be cut considerably,” says Bertenthal, who notes that the discounted prices can also keep his company competitive in the market place against larger distributors.

To process rebates from about a half a dozen different manufacturers, the entire procedure at his company takes Bertenthal only a couple hours a month. Bertenthal remembers dealing with rebates without sophisticated software, a complicated process that involved hard copy paper that were mailed or faxed back and forth from and to manufacturers.

“It was a lot of work to just to figure out what you were selling to whom and to keep track of it and it was very time consuming,” Bertenthal says. “Twenty years ago, it might have taken me 20 hours a month and now it’s an hour or two a month to do the same thing.”

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