For 35 years, Jerry Garbett’s late wife was the “number’s lady” for his family-owned company in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she probably knew all of the financials and accounting mechanisms by heart.

She wore many hats for the time she was with the company, including treasurer, office manager, accounting manager and, for 12 years, owner. One of her vital roles was to manage a complex rebate system of customer and manufacturer lists, hard-copy paper files and spreadsheets.

“I know it was a nightmare,” says Garbett, president of Arkansas Bag & Equipment.

About 15 years ago, his company went to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system, which alleviated much of the headaches caused by tracking and reconciling rebates, which can account for about 10 percent of the company’s annual profit, according to Garbett.

“Rebates, when set up properly, can help you win sales because it makes you competitive,” says Garbett. “It is essential to have rebates in place and managed properly to gain business.”

Garbett says an ERP system with a wide range of modules is essential for janitorial supply distribution companies, especially those that have relied heavily on the institutional knowledge of people like his late wife. 

“This is why the more you can automate, the better off you are and the more that software can do for you, the better off you are,” Garbett says. “Any good distribution software that is worth its salt is going to take care of this type of stuff and they will have a rebate module in it.”

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Rebate Tracking Made Simple