Insights for manufacturing in 2024, from Enable

Andrew Butt, CEO and founder of Enable, discusses the future of manufacturing, strategic evolution and collaborative rebate solutions

Andrew Butt, CEO and founder of rebate management platform Enable, shares his thoughts on how the manufacturing sector will evolve in 2024.

Hi Andrew, what led you to this industry?

“I started by building bespoke software and built that into a successful business employing about 100 people. One of our clients there was a large distribution company in the UK. This company was very grateful for the rebates they were receiving from their trading partners, but they couldn't keep track. It was too complicated - checks would just arrive and they didn't know what they matched to, and many times they weren't accurate on what they should expect. This makes it extremely complicated to strike the right financial balance and plan accordingly for the business, not to mention knowing what trading partners have what opportunities available for rebates. So we solved that problem. Then, word spread and we solved it a few more times. That's when we realised there was a larger problem that needed solving, and we started to build what's now Enable from scratch. Today I'm happy to say that we're seeing out our vision of enabling trusted trading relationships. We have more than 10,000 manufacturers, distributors and retailers using Enable's rebate management platform to work collaboratively together.”

What is Enable?

“Enable creates and delivers the rebate management platform for manufacturers, distributors and retailers to manage their B2B rebates collaboratively. Rebates have become the currency of the goods-for-resale supply chain. On average they are now 100% of the profit that distributors and retailers make, and the biggest line item on most manufacturers’ P&L.
“Enable is the only cloud-native rebate management platform that allows trading partners to manage all of their B2B rebate agreements together in a single location. We are the system of record for both sides of the trading relationship.”

What are your personal and professional plans for 2024?

“Enable just recently raised our Series D round of fundraising, and on the back of that I intend to continue to guide it as we build the system of record for trading relationships. We recently added a second product line – Special Pricing Agreements – to our portfolio, and this helps round out our view that a rebate management platform should be comprehensive, allowing companies to support all deal types, collaborative between trading partners and controlled with full permission sets and audit trails.
“Personally guiding a company through this means a lot of growth professionally and personally. I'll look forward to continuing my education by learning from the team at Enable, from our advisors and investors, and from others who have been on this journey. And I always learn from my wife, Phoebe, who not only educates me but keeps me grounded.”

What are your 2024 predictions for the manufacturing industry?

“In 2024, trading partners will need to work together more closely than ever before. They will need to fill the ‘Bank of goodwill’ by encouraging behaviours that benefit both customer and supplier. In doing so, it will become increasingly important for every company in the supply chain to build out customised rebate programmes for their customers/suppliers. In the same way that airlines have their loyalty programmes, rebates will drive increased loyalty, cohesion and collaboration between trading partners. Rebates are healthy behaviour drivers that let you maintain pricing while providing an incentive based on actions.

“More customised rebate programmes will help manufacturers sell more by improving their relationships and having the right trading agreements and rebates in place. It is my belief that every company should be using rebates in this way and it will absolutely become necessary as we move into the future. We will also see the rise of rebates being used to replace discounts. Discounts are quickly forgotten, but rebates are earned, making them much more impactful.
“In addition to using rebates more thoughtfully, savvy trading partners will leverage AI to make smarter business decisions surrounding their rebate programmes. For customers, this might mean adjusting purchase volume to reach a new volume rebate tier. For suppliers, this might mean using an AI tool to find the perfect intersection of price point and rebate amount.”

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