Lesson Learned: Distributor Data Detail

Most foodservice manufacturers have distributor trade programs with big players like US Foods, Sysco and Gordon Foodservice. Reconciling dollars on volume, claims and growth is a notorious challenge for manufacturers in their relationship with distributors.

With a smart trade management application (and business partner), you can manage, settle and report your trade spend dollars from one system. Being able to manage and monitor data in the TPM supports a big picture trade strategy.

Visibility can’t be ignored when you consider how it helped this frozen bread manufacturer and pastry importer…

Blacksmith TPM account manager, Christine Mercado, reviews [customer] Lantmännen Unibake’s claims, contracts and reports during its weekly team meeting, and the group discusses open items and trade strategy.

Recently, Mercado noticed that an operator’s claims were pending for a greater number than the application’s calculation.

So, Lantmännen Unibake’s team drilled down into the data’s details using Blacksmith trade promotion management application and identified that Sysco had entered the wrong information on the operator contract. It was not difficult to catch the error. “Our system pended the claim because it didn’t match to the contract. It’s because of the detail we capture in the claims and contracts that gave the Lantmännen Unibake team visibility and the ability to catch the error,” says Mercado.


So, what was the error?

Lantmännen Unibake’s distributor customer was charging a deduction per pound rather than per case, costing the manufacturer nearly $7,000 in superfluous claims.

Lantmännen Unibake brought this to the distributor’s attention, and they resolved the error and will now see those over deductions paid back, and the contract has been amended so that moving forward the deductions are based on case.

The Lantmännen Unibake trade team continues to work on understanding the distributor price structure to ensure they have the proper deal and price information for claims processing.

Since catching its first error, the Lantmännen Unibake team found another big issue. .

. . . The same distributor has been deducting for CATMAN/Core items that are expressly excluded from their Purchase Allowance programs. This is something Lantmännen Unibake was never able to verify or quantify without seeing the details before using Blacksmith TPM.

The Lantmännen team was able to single out a data abnormality and go directly to the source to have it resolved.

Visibility is one of the great benefits of using a TPM system – something the Lantmännen Unibake team hadn’t had access to before. Identifying the root of the problem – confirming that some of these companies are requesting more than allowed.



Your Action:

All manufacturers should designate someone to look and validate claim information. Deductions are a serial offender to lost trade dollars. Sometimes the mistakes are due to freight costs, sometimes a sales rep incorrectly enters the program, but regardless, catching errors is a big win.




More on Lantmännen Unibake:

Lantmännen Unibake is one of Europe’s largest bakery groups with 35 bakeries in 15 countries. In 2001, the company began production in the USA and a few years later the St. Petersburg Florida bakery was constructed. They market frozen and fresh bakery products for retail and foodservice markets. In 2018, Lantmannen brought in Blacksmith’s TPM application.

The purpose of Unibake is to help people feel satisfied and happy in every corner of the world. We aim to reach billions of people around the globe with our breads and pastries to make billions of tummies smile. https://www.lantmannen-unibake.com/en-US/About-Unibake-USA/

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