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Nilfisk Cuts Down on Commission Processing Effort with the Help of QCommission
Nilfisk is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of professional commercial and industrial cleaning equipment, with an annual turnover of EUR 1059M. The company employs 5,600 people globally and markets hundreds of different models of floor cleaning and maintenance equipment, through a global network of distributors.
The Nilfisk Group is headquartered in Denmark, with sales companies in 45 countries around the world, a strong distributor network, and manufacturing facilities in 9 countries.
Nilfisk markets and sells its products in more than 100 countries worldwide including North and South America, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. Its European, Middle East and South African sales and marketing activities are managed through a network of Nilfisk subsidiaries.
Nilfisk sells hundreds of different models of floor cleaning and maintenance equipment and parts. Commissions are calculated differently depending on types of Accounts as well as on types of Products, and Payee’s Role.
Here are some of highlights of commission calculation challenges faced by the company:
- Sales Volume for crediting for each transaction can be applied to multiple eligible Sales Associates. This is not a split of the commission, it is an actual crediting of volume to different plans.
- Some commissions are flat rate, based on products (Sales Commission)
- Some are a tier rate matrix, by position/role, that use attainment % for the tier qualification (Sales Bonus)
- Because of product-based rates, every sales transaction has to be read at the line level.
- Currency-based conversions of payouts, to handle payments in both U.S.A = USD $ and Canadian = CAD$
- Some Senior Sales Managers receiving overrides for supporting less experienced Sales Associates.
The Manager of Corporate Services in the U.S. Floorcare Group was in the market looking for a solution to calculate their complex commission plan. Initially they felt the need to automate their commission calculation because:
- Company wanted to increase efficiency and ability to pay and manage commissions in a more visible manner to the Sales Associates. (Specifically wanted Sales Associates to know they were being properly paid properly, by providing them a personal commission statement and supporting sales data to confirm the calculations and amounts paid.)
- Desired an Audit Trail / record of payment
After U.S Floorcare’s implementation of QCommission, the Industrial Vacuum Division, also chose to install QCommission to (in addition to above reasons):
- Decrease time spent calculating and paying commissions, to free-up Finance (Accountant) Resource’s time, to focus more on operational goals and measures.
- To increase consistent accuracy of payments, and build trust in the payout process from the Sales Team.
Per Nilfisk IVACS Senior Accountant, Kim Cooke:
(Pre-QCommission…) “We were reviewing each order manually to make sure it was being allocated to the correct territory. This was done daily and it was a very time consuming process. The month-end process was: the report was reviewed and manually entered into a spreadsheet. We had numerous errors doing it manually, which caused problems in future months.”
They decided to go with QCommission after seeing the capabilities to handle the requirements for payment of both: 1) Commissions and 2) Bonus/Incentives. Kim, along with the Division’s Controller, worked with the QCommission Team to implement the solution.
Per Kim: “The Qcommission team was very professional. They started by learning what we specifically needed as our final output. They then went thru our options, so we could better understand the system and what it could do for us. They helped with all aspects of getting information from our system to be uploaded into QCommission. They were able to customize our system so that it uploaded and calculated our complex commissions.”
Testing highlighted some additional exceptions, which were resolved in a timely manner. Once results were validated, the QCommission Team held both Training classes and then hands-on work sessions.
- Two currency rates, USD and CAD, standard payout for US-Based and a currency conversion required for Canada-Based Sales Associates.
- Monthly Commission and Quarterly Bonus payouts.
- Two different commission plans, position based, paying monthly, each credit and pay under different product-based rates.
- Two different bonus plans, paying quarterly, each with a tiered rate matrix, by position, using attainment % for lookup, for tier qualification.
- Quarterly Bonus Plans, are based on performance toward an Annual goal, so require Annual ‘true-up’.
- Two different overrides on sales, State specific within Territories, paid to select senior level Sales Managers.
- Approximately 40 payees.
With these automated solutions, the company now enjoys the benefits of:
- Faster processing and accurate commission calculations
- Increased trust in payouts by Sales Associates
- Timely distribution of commission statements to their internal Sales Associates
- Optional access to commission statements for their distributor network Representatives through a QCommission Portal.
“This process took 2-3 hours of daily work and about 5 hours extra at month end. Now it takes less than 2-3 hours total.”
“Working with our Qcommission team has been a pleasure. They are professional, efficient and very knowledgeable. They're always available when I had questions or needed some additional training. I am very pleased we have a system that is so automated, and that we were able to stop our manual process.”
- - Kim Cooke, Senior Accountant, Finance, Nilfisk, Inc., Industrial Vacuum Division, Morgantown, PA