Foodservice manufacturers have long felt the pain of old and/or high deduction balances. The search for answers on ways to decrease discrepancies and streamline claim processing continues. Lactalis American Group got it right. The foodservice manufacturer who once struggled to get a grasp on their trade dollars, can now tell an impressive story:
decreased deduction balance by $2.5 million
reduced pending dollars by more than $450,000
cut claims processing time by days
Lactalis American Group, who became a Blacksmith TPM customer in January 2018, is the North American division of the world’s largest dairy corporation, which collectively includes some of North America’s most popular cheese brands: Président, Sorrento, Precious, rondelé, and Galbani.
During Smoke Jumpers XVIII, Lactalis American Group was awarded for Excellence in Deduction Management.
Deduction Management Best Practices
Lactalis says that their success in deduction management is a testament to a large group of contributors. “We used teams that included members of Trade Marketing, IT, Customer Accounting, Sales, and Blacksmith Applications to address key needs. Using a team approach allowed our company to get the best feedback possible and achieve great results,” says Kristy Pawlowski, Manager of Trade Marketing Administration and Analysis. “Our deduction and pending claim balances were greatly reduced since bringing the TPM onboard. Now that these areas are in check, we have shifted our focus to reporting needs.”
Tracy McQuilkin, Director of Client Services of the TPM application says, “Determine what works best for your company to stay on top of deductions – especially invalid repays – that’s the key to success. Not one process works across the board, it depends how your organization is setup.”
McQuilkin adds that TPM customers meet weekly with their Account Managers to review contracts, deductions and pendings. During this meeting, they examine the deductions and suggest improvements for the deduction clearing process.
Analyze Promotional Dollars
“We have the ability to truly evaluate opportunities to determine if they make fiscal sense. We also have a greater ability to identify instances where Lactalis is owed monies by our customers. In the past we lost quite a bit by forfeiting the funds. Our company did not have the proper tools and reporting to substantiate collection activities. Now, with Blacksmith TPM, we do,” says Kevin Brenon, Senior Trade Marketing Manager.
Blacksmith’s TPM solution provides a simplistic, effective tool that allows the company’s users to meet trade management goals without having to address system issues along the way. Because Blacksmith’s application is clear and concise, the team at Lactalis has more time for effective trade management.
“Our users are much happier with the simplicity of the tool and we, at the corporate office, are extremely satisfied with the results we have seen since going live,” affirms Brenon. “The customer service is fantastic and the tool is very easy to learn and use,” notes Pawlowski.
During Smoke Jumpers, “We certainly had discussions with other TPM users who shared some of their past struggles and current success stories,” says Pawlowski. “What makes Smoke Jumpers such a great event is that it allows colleagues from different companies to share these stories and talk about best practices. What makes their company successful and how do they do it? It’s a great forum to address these types of questions and make the best of what your company has to offer.”
Using a TPM for deduction management simplifies what can be a complex function of foodservice.
McQuilkin recommends talking with the Blacksmith team about how to process your claims and partner on deductions. “After analysis and research on what causes a large deduction balance, we’ve always been able to help our clients reduce the balance and offer suggestions for improvement within the process.”