You could compare managing today’s tangled foodservice claim acquisitions to herding cats. That’s because acquiring tens of thousands of claims and ensuring that they are detailed, up-to-date and accurate can seem an almost impossible task. As a result, the challenge it presents to foodservice manufacturers is formidable.
Among the reasons for this onerous situation is that the backups are prepared in different formats by a wide variety of businesses and organizations, each with its own system. The claims might overlap, they might be incomplete, or might even become lost in the system. In addition, the ways in which they are delivered vary widely.
Benefits are significant
Clearly, the need for an improved method of foodservice claim acquisition is vital in today’s complex and expanding foodservice industry. If foodservice manufacturers implement the right process, they will receive the details of the claim backups from distributors and operators. They will be able to process them accurately, to compare them, and to obtain the information they need to manage their businesses more efficiently.
In addition to the benefits of the records being complete and detailed, analyzing the information will also help to provide valuable insights into exactly where food products are being sold and consumed and into trends in eating patterns.
Apparently, the difficulty of achieving this aim and making sense of thousands of documents a day to obtain a complete picture of what is happening in the foodservice industry, to check on accuracy, and to understand trends all adds up to what could be called today’s foodservice claim conundrum.
To understand better the challenge facing foodservice manufacturers, here’s a closer look at the hindrances they face when it comes to foodservice claim processing.
Invoices are in different formats
Invoices are prepared by a large number of sources, including restaurants, hospitals, hotels, Buying Groups, Re-distributors, Corporate Distributors, local houses, resorts, caterers, prisons and group purchasing organizations (GPOs). These distributors and operators generally have their own accounting systems and their own ways of preparing invoices.
Because their systems and their financial programs vary so widely, they prepare the invoices in a wide variety of formats. In addition, the invoices are transferred in several different ways; some invoices might be deliv
To complicate the situation, the claim information itself often is inadequate as far as details, such as precise locations, are concerned. Or the organization has several claim options and you have to know enough to ask for the backup with full location level. Invoices sent electronically should display the actual location at which the products were bought, right down to the address.
More and more distributors and operators are setting up their own portals for the manufacturers to obtain the invoice backups. This is time-consuming.
Unfortunately, many companies cannot afford the time and effort this type of detail takes. Not only is it time-consuming, but it takes away from the time that can be spent on other tasks.
Solving the conundrum
Without any standard formatting, it becomes extremely problematic to try to gain full details of claims or to be in a position to analyze them effectively. A major challenge when it comes to foodservice claim acquisition is finding a way to make the broad range of claim and deduction backup formats and communications agree with one another. If they all were available in a standard format and delivered using the same channel, foodservice claim processing would be so much more effective and efficient.
Foodservice manufacturers would be able to gain full details of the claims, enabling them to analyze them more rapidly and more thoroughly and to compare them with one another.
For instance, if all organizations were to prepare the invoices in a similar format and send the invoices using electronic data interchange, the information could be processed efficiently and in far less time than is the case in many instances now. An added advantage would be that more of the purchases would show the full location info at SKU level.
A foodservice manufacturer would know that, say, 10 percent of all the sales had gone to a specific hospital or that 20 percent went to schools in a certain geographical area. Not only that, but they would be able to identify more precisely the items that were purchased. They would be able to look for potential double dips or white space information such as “who’s buying my peanut butter but not my jelly”.
An answer would be for a foodservice manufacturer to request the most appropriate invoice form for its needs from each of its customers. Analyzing the information would then be so much less complicated. They could also try to persuade distributors and operators to send the claims by electronic data interchange, saving a considerable amount of time as the documents would arrive faster than, say, by U.S. Mail. Receiving invoices in a more timely manner would also set the path to clear deductions more quickly.
But, again, trying to achieve these changes can result in considerable inroads into a foodservice manufacturer’s time and costs.
The complete answer to foodservice claim acquisition
Here’s the good news! GoSimple offers a way around these obstacles. It empowers foodservice manufacturers to receive all claim and deduction information in a standardized format. It does so by working with the distributors, wholesalers, and operators to obtain the best possible backup.
GoSimple even visits the industry portals to obtain claim backup. The information is processed into a standard format, matching the thousands of distributors’ SKUs to the manufacturers product SKUs, and mapping back to the manufacturers internal company numbers as well.
The result: A daily claim file is loaded in the foodservice manufacturer’s system.
Simplifying the system and providing this information in a standard format provides foodservice manufacturers the opportunity to handle claim acquisition effectively and to focus more attention on adding value and seeking more marketing opportunities.