Automated Ship and Debit Benefits Manufacturers and Partners.
Managing ship and debit programs is an exhausting endeavor. It takes not only remarkable organizational skills but also deft communication, precision, leadership, and accountability. Businesses must be able to track channel activity at all times. The risk of losing a valuable channel partner in today’s volatile corporate industry can be catastrophic. Adding ship and debit programs into your marketing, however, is an extremely effective strategy to establish and retain partner approval as well as maximize corporate profitability.
However, because saturation within the corporate marketplace continues to flood the streets on Wall Street, promoting one-dimension incentives for channel partners might not be enough.
Our aim here is to demonstrate the benefits of ship and debit programs, highlight the process of ship and debit programs and explain the part ship and debit programs play in creating successful channel partnerships. Furthermore, we will demonstrate why deploying a traditional approach to Ship and Debit presents an unnecessarily daunting task for both vendor and business partner. And lastly, we will explain why this effective and highly motivational rebate incentive program requires automation in order to truly be successful.
What Do Ship and Debit Programs Accomplish?
Ship and debit programs are a price adjustment rebate process that limits the risks of economic loss to a distributor. Both vendor and distributor must mutually agree on the exclusive parameters or program guidelines established in order for a Ship and Debit program to exist. This program exists because, in many situations, a channel distributor is required to sell a vendor’s product to resellers or customers at a much lower price than its original cost—a result usually due to changing market conditions such as increased market competition, market undercutting or change in consumer demand.
Why Do Price Adjustment Programs Exist?
The ultra-competitive, multifaceted and unpredictable landscape of today’s marketplace presents manufacturers, distributors, and resellers all with a unique conundrum instability. As competition grows, opportunities lessen and consumer demand excels production—pricing has to be modified in order to appease (and maintain) the interest of end-users. Without implementing price adjustment programs, such as ship and debit programs, the channel infrastructure will enviably ignite into corporate-anarchy—as a capitalist society without transparent, two-way communication between its channel partners assures more problems one would care to imagine.
Flawed Managerial Mindset
Whether it’s inadvertent, inattentive or pretentious thinking, vendors that participate in ship and debit programs commonly forgo automation for a more traditional approach such as Excel spreadsheets, electronic data interchange (EDI), emails, phone calls, and an unfathomable supply of human resources to manage claims. This ineffective, inaccurate and inconsistently managed administrative tactic hurts businesses on a multitude of levels but are simply too blind by the toxic deployment of their marketing strategy to notice.
Benefits of Automating your Ship and Debit Program Management
1- Accuracy— — —
The insurmountable pressure to remain relevant in a businesses’ eye, is, without question, a daunting endeavor. With the inconsistent nature of the marketplace and volatile rise and fall on Wall Street (e.g., the stock market, ‘double dip’ worries, forced investor selling, European economic crisis, etc.)—vendors have every right to tread lightly in the trenches of the concrete-jungle of today’s marketplace. A steady output of production, consistent ROI, lead conversion rates, and retaining the financial interest of current or potential business partners is something vendors constantly face and hopefully accomplish. For these reasons, vendors must react accordingly to the inevitable shift in the marketplace. One of the best ways to do so is to deploy ship and debit programs. However, as we’ve briefly discussed, it’s become an all too common occurrence for vendors to use “” practices when deploying ship and debit programs. Blunt as it sounds, manually managed ship and debit programs are set up to fail. Proper analysis of backend discount is a multifaceted procedure; a managerial process that requires a deft eye for erroneously submitted claims inflated channel partner liabilities and lost revenues. Even the greatest auditors in the business struggle to calculate, analyze and credit their channel partners accurately. Not because they are inadequate or naïve to the ins and outs of the marketplace, but because they are simply too many quantitative and intangible modifications that come into play in order to design accurate ship and debit programs that is both accurate and efficient.
Automated Ship and Debit Program Management Software
Designed with intuitive data analysis, flexible program building, and tangible measurement of channel partners’ infrastructure, our automated ship and debit program management module allows vendors to have complete visibility into the sales funnel. The program alerts vendor when a claim (e.g., inadvertently reported claims, erroneously submitted data interchange, etc.) is inaccurately submitted; leaving no room for duplicate claims or for channel partners to manipulate, conspire or ploy unethical activity.
Each time a partner submits credit memos for approval, CMR’s automated ship and debit program management platform intuitively calculates the data based on the guidelines established by the vendor and then is configured into real-time reporting that is both tangible and quantifiable.
However, the unique advantage of CMR’s automated ship and debit module is not its precise accrual capabilities, but its ability to give vendors the chance to focus on what’s really important: their product.
3 Key Accuracy Benefits of CMR’s Automated Ship and Debit Program Management Module:
- Data Quality Control
- Reseller Profile
2. Adjustable Sales and Marketing Programs
- Market Development Funds (MDF)
- Co-Op Advertising
- Channel Gamification
- Spiffs and Rebates
- Deal Registration
- Special Pricing Requests (SPAs)
- Salesforce Integration
3. Human Error
- Partner implements monthly data into the platform, which provides real-time data and quantitative analysis to vendor
- Eliminates the need for manual “Ship and Debit” processes (e.g., Excel spreadsheets, electronic data interchange (EDI), emails, phone calls, etc.).
2- Helps Reduce the Volume Incentive Rebate Turnaround Time — — —
Managing and analyzing volume incentive rebates and backend discounts is a time-consuming process. It requires not only a comprehensive understanding of how the channel market functions, but also a dedicated surplus of manpower to accurately evaluate submitted claims. You also need flawless organizational skills, as well as, patience and mutual respect of your channel partners’ business objectives. When added together, it takes time to manually manage channel partners’ volume incentive rebates when desired. If you’re calculating accruals correctly, measuring the cost of inventory to a T, and thoroughly reviewing partner performance then, it’s very likely that your average turnaround time is,…well, long! And when your channel distributors aren’t happy customers, you put your partnership at risk. You may even coerce your partners to investigate partnerships with possible competitors. Other contenders who may provide a faster turnaround time with equally competitive pricing. Computer Market Research’s ship and debit program management module is precisely designed to help facilitate the issue of volume incentive rebate turnaround time. Vendors can significantly reduce the time they spend on analyzing submitted claims thanks to CMR’s configurable data capabilities. The ability to uniquely customize your price adjustment program guidelines so they meet your business standards while automating the request-approve-rebate-authorize-pay process significantly shortens the program cycle. Implementing automated ship and debit claims management into your marketing infrastructure not only reduces time but also eliminates the frustration of channel partners who are awaiting volume incentive rebate credit approval. The longer the distributors/ resellers wait for their claims to be evaluated, the more subjective your ship and debit programs become. However, when claims are reviewed with accuracy and speed, the “window of interpretation” closes, resulting in the economic loss due to inaccurate DFI (deduct from invoice) fees to be virtually nonexistent.
3- Increase Productivity and Reduce Labor Costs — — —
Businesses that allocate a hefty amount of resources into managing ship and debit programs should view automation as not an overhead necessity, but an opportunity. Our experience has shown that vendors who perform manually manage their ship and debit pay at least 40% higher in overhead and claims processing. This practice, of course, deteriorates profit margins and allocation of resources. An opportunity that doesn’t just result in happier channel partners, but an opportunity that transforms a businesses’ infrastructure. Slash the operational expenses of your partner claim processing. In most cases, proper management of ship and debit takes a small army of in-house personnel to manage. However, companies that opt to employ a SaaS provider, such as Computer Market Research, into their marketing process can dedicate more of their time, money and resources into different business agendas that don’t solely focus on paying (and managing) channel programs. Making sure each channel partner submits accurately submitted claims, measuring sales performance and calculating the cost of inventory can eat away at business productivity, but Computer Market Research’s automated ship and debit platform is designed to analyze and credit partners in a matter of seconds.
4- Customization and Program Flexibility — — —
One of the biggest issues with ship and debit programs is the inability to provide objective rules and regulations in which the channel partner can easily follow. The more obscure the program is, the greater the risk of misperception and even unethical practices becomes more likely. Solely based on poorly designed programs, in some circumstances, distributors and channel partners will deliberately submit erroneous claims in an intent to receive improperly funded monetary benefits. The less structured or more “open to interpretation” your program is—the greater threat you are at being exploited due to incompetent (or inaccurate) multiple program management.
Ship and Debit Program Management
Computer Market Research’s robustly engineered ship and debit module provides comprehensive access into partner programming to meet your unique business goals.
Such examples include:
- Start and end date
- Prioritize program (e.g., stackable discounts)
- Specific SKUs
- Which partners are included or excluded from program participation
- Set thresholds according to exclusive rules and (in)eligible partners.
The more structured your distributor claims management program is, the easier it will be to identify erroneous claims.
Ever hear that old saying, “good fences make good neighbors”? That’s exactly what CMR’s automated ship and debit program management software establishes: A well designed, mutually successful business experience.
5- Additional Price Adjustments: Program Stacking — — —
Program stacking allows channel managers to prioritize price adjustments and how they interact when combined; price adjustments stacking is based on, but not limited to:
- Partner (past/current) performance
- An incentive that offers the greatest opportunity
- Market conditions
- Partner marketing inexperience
- Expected sales report
- Distributing partners
- Partner target demographic
Computer Market Research’s intuitive software automatically configures the data within seconds submitted. Accruals are calculated via CMR’s Partner Portal, which evaluates your unique program regulations (e.g., the order of preference, start/end date, conversion rates, eligibility, the cost of inventory, etc.).
Managing Ship and Debit Programs and Claim Management
Scrutinizing the sales funnel without tangible data mandates a mind of methodical, almost robotic, thinking—with the social confidence parallel to a motivational speaker. The likelihood of finding such a person for performing your distributor claim management is doubtful. The point is, humans are humans—and humans—unlike robots—make mistakes. But when it comes to ship and debit programs and claim management, mistakes simply cannot happen. Small or large, indirect channel mistakes put multiple players at risk, including a businesses’ chances of success. The Traditional process of ship and debit programs and claims management is a multifaceted procedure. Therefore, the chance of accurate claims evaluation is unsettling unlikely.
A Web-Based Platform that Enables Partners to Easily Integrate Data via Online Documentation
The CMR Partner Claim Management is a web-based solution that enables partners to easily integrate data via online documentation. Based on the vendor’s guidelines, a distributor is either approved or notified refusal due to insufficient data. CMR’s automated ship and debit program management software assists with partner claim management process by tangibly tracking submitted reports without having to calculate, distribute or allocate any resources during the review process. In other words, you have complete visibility into up-to-date data. The software automatically configures claims based on program rules and incentives as well as details quantitative information that help you evaluate the current state of your business.
Partner Claim Management: claim submission process (channel partners):
- Easy, simple to follow navigation
- Determine outstanding claims
- Intuitively integrates POS data for validation
- Determines credit due to distributor
Partner Claim Management: claim submission process (Vendor):
- Tangible, readily available claim analysis and approval
- Determine partners with an outstanding claim and current status
- Notifies miscellaneous activity
- Track sales and cost of inventory
- Identify the distributor with the best sales record
- Advanced search features:
- Program name, form, group
- Invoice number
Additional Benefits of an Automated Ship and Debit Program
The four chief advantages of implementing automated ship and debit program management into your channel marketing infrastructure are:
1.) Real-time ‘Net Revenue’ Reporting
- CMR’s software monitors revenue during each transaction. The software provides vendors with in-depth information, which provides perspective into the business’s ecosystem. This assists in the potential assessment of business strategy and “pain point” evaluation or areas which need improvement.
2.) Reduced Overpayments
- The fiscal consequence of miscalculated data can be catastrophic to a vendor. CMR’s ship and debit program management module alleviates the uncertainty of human error. The fast turnaround time and accurately calculated price adjustments don’t just keep channel partners happy but also reduce the risk of economic loss due to wrongly submitted DFIs (whether it’s intentional or accidental is irrelevant).
3.) Program Effectiveness
- CMR’s ship and debit program management module not only provides distributors with accurate credit payment and quick turnaround but also allows vendors to thoroughly examine sales reports (i.e., ROI) with quantifiable metrics, which can be viewed from anywhere, anytime.
4.) Better Partner Relations
- In order to nurture a transparent B2B relationship, trust must be an imminent ingredient. Ultimately, the CMR ship and debit program management software transforms day-to-day, B2B relationships by implementing a tangible platform that helps to cultivate transparent pricing agreements. CMR’s comprehensive claim processing not only keeps distributors coming back for more but also helps maximize sales consistency.