Walmart Discontinues Settlement Disputing
"Walmart Discontinues Settlement Disputing
Stacy Tan: We are super, super excited to be talking to you guys today about a very recent announcement by Walmart. Some of you guys ha may have already seen this. We know that they have been slow rolling this out to the supplier world. So again, some of you may know this may be news for some of you guys.
But essentially, Walmart has released communication that they will be discontinuing their settlement disputing program. So we are gonna cover a lot of content today, going through that. Hopefully answering a lot of the questions that you guys have along the way. But before we get started wanted to do some really quick introductions.
So my name is Stacy. I lead the retail insights team here at SupplyPike. Have. Over a decade of supplier experience and so usually get to be the one that talks to our supplier partners. Whenever you guys have any questions about what's going on in the world of Walmart very excited to be joined today by Eric Smith.
Eric leads our product team and he is a SupplyPike og. He knows more than any human being should about the world of rev loss across multiple retailers, Walmart, target, Kroger, Amazon and he'll really be driving the conversations around the settlement program being retired today. Very excited to meet you guys if you haven't met us before.
This is just a general overview of what we're hoping to cover today. Times may vary depending on the discussions that we have. I'll be sharing with you guys in a second how you can share your questions. But overall, what we are hoping to cover is really give you guys an introduction.
On what settlement disputing is talking about basically Walmart's announcement and what it means that it's likely going away. We'll be talking about mass dispute creation, which is a new-ish term that Walmart is introduced as they're retiring the settlement program. And also explain how it will work.
We'll talk very briefly on how other companies including SupplyPike are handling and able to support suppliers that are no longer going to have access to settlement. And then as we always do, we'll have a large chunk of time aimed at answering any of the questions that you guys have as well as open discussion.
We'll also save a little bit of time at the end to do a really quick deductions navigator demo. So if you guys want to stick around after q and a, you're more than welcome to, to just see how we. Handle deductions at SupplyPike. A little bit of housekeeping. Will you get a copy of the slide deck?
Yes. We send a copy of the slide deck to every, all of the attendees after the webinar. And we will also send a recording to your inbox the next three to four business days. We usually get it done a little bit quicker, but always like to give ourselves. A little bit of that buffer time just in case.
And the best way to ask a question, definitely wanted to call this out 'cause I'm sure we will have a lot of them today. So you should see on your Zoom task bar something that says q and a with kind of two chat bubbles. If you guys could utilize that to submit your questions, that would be really helpful for us is how we're able to keep track of them and make sure that we're answering them in the order that they come in.
The chat function where you guys sent in your Christmas and Thanksgiving thoughts. That's really great for sharing kind of insights. Just general discourse on what you guys are seeing on your end. So q and a for questions and answers, and then chat for just any general insight or discussion that you'd like to share with the greater group.
And then I think the last slide that I've got, before I hand this over to Eric we always like to do a very quick introduction on who SupplyPike is, especially if this is your first time joining a SupplierWiki webinar. So really quickly, we are a northwest Arkansas based organization and we create software tools to help our C P G supplier partners reduce revenue loss issues.
And how we do that is we help to automatically detect and resolve any retailer compliance issues. So we support both AP related deductions as well as AR related fines. We are so proud to say that we work with over 400 suppliers today representing about $25 billion in retail impact across just about every product category in the box.
We support suppliers with Walmart Sam's Club. Target Kroger. And most recently we just launched an application supporting Amazon suppliers as well. So again, if you guys are interested, we'll be doing a very brief demo on what we do here at SupplyPike, but you're always more than welcome to check out our website at SupplyPike dot com if you'd like to learn more about what we do.
Okay. Without further ado, I am gonna go ahead and pass the baton onto Eric. I will be monitoring the chat and the q and a for questions. I'll be throwing them Eric's way as they come along, and if we're not able to get to them during the actual slides, we'll make sure we address them during the general discussion and questions portion at the very end.
Eric, take it away.
Eric Smith: All right. Thank you Stacy. Excited to talk with you guys today. Before I dive into the content, first thing I wanted to throw out there is just a disclaimer. Again, like Stacy said, if you're new to SupplyPike and these webinars the first thing we want to put out there is, SupplyPike and SupplierWiki are sister brand.
We're not Walmart, so we don't speak authoritatively on Walmart's behalf. What we're doing with webinars like this is interpreting the content that Walmart puts out to suppliers for the purpose of education. And what's really cool about what we do is we layer on our experience working with, like Stacy said, over 400 supplier partners.
So we're here to educate and to guide based on what we've seen and our experience. But we can't speak for Walmart and we don't attempt to speak on Walmart's behalf. So starting with that and from there, let's dive in. So we're here today because as most of you have heard by now, Walmart has announced that their settlement program is going away.
We're gonna start with just a real quick summary of what. Is, or was I guess settlement? Maybe not as relevant since it's going away. Most of you I'm sure already know. But if you're not familiar with the ins and outs and the kind of why of settlement what Walmart has provided for years with their settlement program, it changed the name to bulk dispute resolution over the past year.
Now it's being phased out completely. Most people still just call it settlement. And the purpose of settlement really was for Walmart to provide a path for their suppliers to negotiate payback of large volumes of deductions that have, were withheld from their invoices. So typically this had to do with your mostly shipping related deductions, shortages, things like that.
And like I said, this was for the purpose of suppliers who were receiving such a high volume of these that they couldn't keep up with disputing them one by one. So it was a way to send over in bulk of list of all of the deductions that you believed to be invalid and then negotiate with Walmart back and forth on how much they were going to repay.
Typically the settlement program was enacted on a quarterly basis. So you would wait until a quarter was over, you would bundle all of those deductions. Once all your invoices were closed for that quarter, send them to Walmart back and forth. It would take a while and eventually you would get a percentage payback of the total that you requested.
So settlement had its benefits. At SupplyPike we've always advocated for the benefits of disputing individually if you want to get the total amount paid back that you're actually owed. But with settlement what a lot of suppliers saw, not all, some suppliers saw 70% ish on average of their deductions paid back through the settlement process.
It's usually with some back and forth a little bit of proof documentation. What Walmart would typically do is sample deductions and pull out, 10 or 15 or 20 deductions from the total list and say, Hey, proof to me that I owe you for these, you would provide that proof documentation. They would maybe sample a little bit more, a little more back and forth, and then finally come back with a number and say, we'll pay you back this percent of what you've requested.
So on the high side, what we usually saw was about 70% of the those requests being actually approved for payback. For those suppliers who didn't have a great way to access proof documentation, like bills of lading or proofs of delivery for those shortish deductions, this was actually an okay solution because if you tried to fight them all individually you might not have the proof documentation.
And so you could go the roundabout way and settle for, a fraction of what you're owed, but you could get it done. The limits of settlement disputing Walmart's program applied just to a certain type of deduction. And like I said, this was typically the shipping related deductions or invoicing related deductions for those familiar with Walmart, that was things like codes 21 through 28 30 and 87 snuck in there as well.
But things like goods build not shipped or p o d, no goods received for invoice type deduction. But beyond that, there's a whole list of things that settlement never applied to. Walmart, Canada was never really in the program. If fewer direct import didn't apply. Dot com. D s V returns, any kind of accounts receivable, chargebacks, co-ops, iff, SQEP, on and on.
Even some invoice based de deductions like allowances weren't ever a part of settlement.
So the last thing I'll say on that for suppliers who did have access to their proof documentation settlement was really at best, a way to try to get this done faster, but you're almost always settling for less than you're owed. And like I said, at SupplyPike we have historically always pushed suppliers if they have access to proof documentation, to dispute individually just for that full payback of what you're owed because you can prove it.
Obviously that's a pretty manual process unless you have tools to automate that, which of course we'd be happy to talk to you about. We'll do a demo at the end of what that could look like for SupplyPike. But yeah, summary of the settlement program. And now let's start to talk about what's changing.
So about a year ago, last October Walmart launched a new application within Retail Link called P D P. It's their accounts payable dispute portal. So we've done a ton of webinars on APDP in the past. We'll do more in the future, talk a little bit about it even in this webinar. But that's significant because when Walmart launched APDP, they brought the dispute process in-house.
Previously they used a third party portal for suppliers to submit disputes. That portal was called Direct commerce, but with APDP, that's a fully Walmart built solution and launches from within retail Link. And Walmart took back some control over their individual dispute process. And that kind of set into motion a series of events that has led us to where we are today.
So looking at that timeline, that September October of last year was when APDP went live. It was a rollout in phases for suppliers. Since then, over the past year, Walmart's continued to tweak and refine APDP for the, that manual disputing process leading up to this announcement in October of this year where they said, all right, we're ready to do away with settlement altogether.
We feel like our APDP dispute process is good enough that suppliers don't need settlement anymore. So that was the big announcement in October of this year. They've been sending out communication to their suppliers over the past several weeks. Some of that has most of that I believe has already gone out.
Most suppliers I've talked to who have been on settlement have received that notification.
Stacy Tan: I wanted to do a shameless plug really quick, Eric for other SupplierWiki webinars that we have. Obviously Eric is going through at a very high level what APDP is, just because we're really trying to focus on the settlement discussion.
But the, for those of you guys who are maybe newer to the world of deductions with Walmart we have a number of webinars available, completely free and on demand where we cover the move from direct commerce into APDP as well as how to utilize APDP. Of course, we're the webinars are more just the manual side of how it works but I will be happy to share those in the chat in case you guys would like to take a look at those resources after this one.
Eric Smith: Thanks, Stacy. Yeah, so with that announcement that went out this year in October the big date on there was May 1st, 2023. So May 1st is when Walmart has announced that all suppliers who have been on settlement will have to move off. So that would be the last date that settlements will be in play.
So zooming in on that timeline a little bit between now and that May 1st deadline, Walmart will in phases be removing suppliers from that program. We don't have visibility into what that rollout looks like. Some suppliers being moved off sooner or some later. Obviously drop it in the chat if you've heard any details for your business on, Hey, we were told that these suppliers will be phased out earlier, later.
Always curious to know. What we do know is suppliers are gonna be moved out gradually between now and May 1st. The communication that I've seen makes it sound like the goal is by May 1st all open settlements will be complete. So I anticipate between now and then Walmart will stop you from submitting a new settlement so that you don't get another one in the pipe that they can't finish before May 1st.
Again, kind of some conjecture there, but based on what I've seen, that's that's how it's looking to us.
So this obviously raises a big question. What's gonna happen after I can't use the settlement program anymore? We know a lot of suppliers depend on this, especially those who have a very high volume of deductions. And so that's a big part of their process. So what Walmart has communicated is with settlement going away.
All disputing for those types of deductions. So your code's 21, 22, 24, 25, 28, 30, all of those types of AP deductions coming off your invoices will be disputed through the accounts payable dispute portal. So many suppliers have been using P D P for the past year because they never did settlement or moved off of settlement.
Moving forward, everybody's gonna be using APDP to dispute their deductions. As a part of that change, Walmart has rolled out a new feature within their APDP portal that they're calling mass dispute creation. And this is an effort to try to bring some of that settlement esque workflow into APDP.
And we're gonna dive into mass dispute creation today. I'm gonna pause and do a quick check on questions. I see a couple, and I think we're gonna address those coming up. So I'm gonna keep on rolling and catch those questions in stride. Mass dispute creation first off we start with the name Mass Dispute creation sounds great.
Send over all my disputes. Sounds like a like for like replacement of settlement. In reality we anticipate that this is going to look a little more like individual disputing than many suppliers hope it will. And we're gonna dive into why. But in summary, one point I wanna drive home today is mass dispute creation is still gonna be a pretty big disruption for suppliers who are used to the settlement process.
So why the change to mass dispute creation disputing through APDP? Obviously we can't speak for Walmart. But interpreting the communications that we've seen, the reasons a little bit nebulous personally, I can understand their desire to keep all of this disputing centralized.
So rather than having the settlement program over here and APDP individual disputing over there, moving all suppliers to using the same process makes sense. Clearly they have confidence that their APDP portal can handle the volume. But the net result is going to be a suppliers having to make a pretty big process shift if they are used to that settlement process.
We have a decent amount of experience evaluating this mass dispute creation process. Like Stacy said, we currently work with over 400 suppliers, many of whom have tested this process. We've talked to many other suppliers who have used it as well. We've evaluated the data on how it's performing.
So we have a pretty interesting perspective for not just one supplier, but a wide swath of suppliers across all different sizes and departments for how this performs. So there are some pros to the mass dispute creation process for sure. So if you've been familiar with APDP in the past the best you could do is to create one dispute at a time, and we'll talk a little bit about it.
Stacy said, we have a whole webinar dedicated to APDP where we go deep into this. But what mass dispute creation does is it allows you to create an initial dispute for up to 500 claims at a time. So that's a big step up in terms of some bulk actions. There is some auto-approved capability.
So we do see some deduction disputes get approved automatically, and the way mass dispute creation works is when you submit those up to 500 at a time, you'll get an immediate decision. Some will be approved, some will be denied. What's, also cool about this for suppliers who are used to settlement, there's a big, timeliness issue.
You had to wait until a whole quarter was closed. We know some larger suppliers were able to negotiate like a monthly settlement, but still you're waiting for a time period to close all invoices to be paid before you could go after any deductions from that time period. With mass dispute creation and individual disputing in general, you're now able to dispute as soon as the claim exists.
So there's much less delay to get that initial dispute started. Looking at the cons of mass dispute creation. Most of it is more in terms of what it sounds like versus what we've actually seen it do. So we've evaluated over a million disputes over the past year that have flowed through APDP and we see that auto approval rate.
And what we've seen across all 400 plus suppliers that we've worked with is the rate of auto approval is about 18%. Now that's cool. I can, almost a fifth of my deductions I can dispute and get approved automatically. That's great. The downside is for the suppliers coming from settlement who are used to sending over a mass spreadsheet and saying, Hey, I want these paid back.
And, they might get 70% or sometimes even more of that approved and paid back without having to do a whole lot of back and forth. That number is gonna be a whole lot lower with what we've seen from mass dispute creation, about 18% auto approval rate. Another kicker with this is you're not able to attach proof documentation for mass disputes.
So you can spin up 500 at a time, but you don't provide any proof documentation with them, which again, sounds convenient. But what it means is if they get denied, which over 80% of them on average due, you're now back to disputing them individually. That's your only recourse. There's no longer a way to negotiate with Walmart on some kind of bulk payout.
So what we see is over 80% we anticipate, and what we've seen in the data so far, over 80% of these deductions are going to have to require traditional, individual disputing where you act on them one by one, attach proof, documentation, and send it over. So pretty significant change here. Stacy, I saw you pop up.
Stacy Tan: Yeah. So thank you so much for sharing this information, Eric. This is slightly terrifying. It's gonna be fine. So we did start to have a couple of questions pour through talking about this mass dispute creation process. And then also a couple on the individual dispute process, which you just mentioned.
So I'll ask a couple of these here, but make sure, we have enough time to cover content and then we can get to the rest of them towards the end if needed. But so our first question, Eric, is will I need to wait until I have the, 500 claims at a time to submit them in a new way or can I submit, any number under 500 at any given time?
Eric Smith: Yeah, great question and a good call out with the settlement process. Walmart typically said, don't submit a settlement if it's fewer than a hundred claims. This is for high volume issues with the new process. All suppliers are using APDP like we talked about, and in APDP you can dispute any number at any time.
So if you have a single deduction you wanna go after, you can dispute it individually. If you have a whole host that you want to use the mass dis dispute creation for, you can do that as well. Okay,
Stacy Tan: perfect. So one other question that one that I wanted to ask is we got a question, if we are moving to this new individual dispute process from settlement do you have any insight on the timeframe to get responses on these individual disputes?
Because obviously settlement was done on a quarterly basis. What does it look like from an individual dispute perspective?
Eric Smith: Another great question. So like we were just talking about, that's timely. We see on average about 18% get auto-approved. So that's cool especially if you're used to nothing auto-approved.
But for those that don't get auto-approved, you have to go through that manual process of hunting down your proof documentation for every single deduction, attaching it, submitting it, and waiting. So that wait period that we see for individual disputes, it varies. There's a bunch of things that seem to factor into that.
We're not exactly sure. I don't think it's an algorithm. A lot of these go through a manual review process, depends on the length of the queue that you get dropped into and a whole bunch of other things. But we see on average between. Between 30 and 60 days, depending on the time of year. Depending on the size of dispute.
Usually higher dollar amounts require higher levels of approval, so that can take longer, but 30 to 60 days on average. So I can speak for Walmart, for supply, pikes customers. And on average, I believe our last check a month or so ago, we were clocking about 40 days on average for this time of year.
Stacy Tan: Perfect. And then last question, and I'll let you go on. So just wanting to confirm, so if you utilize this M D C process and Walmart only pays, Some of the disputes that you're setting in some of these 500, you can then do the individual disputes and at that point you can attach proof documentation when you're doing individual disputes.
Is that a good summary?
Eric Smith: Yeah, good summary. Essentially what happens, for those of you who are familiar with APDP, if you create something from mass dispute creation, it'll either get auto-approved or denied. And once it's denied, now you're back to one by one. So go into one deduction or one dispute, upload your proof documentation and a comment and send it back over.
So you can't take those kinds of bulk actions after the mass dispute is denied.
Stacy Tan: Okay. Perfect. I will take a pause here. We are getting like a bunch of questions now, but I'll take a pause here and then we'll break in a couple of slides from now for more questions.
Eric Smith: Cool. All right, so what sorts of deductions can you use mass dispute creation for?
Basically applies to anything that you could dispute in APDP before. So all of your AP deductions more or less are available through this. So it includes everything that was in settlement. You can also use M D C for your allowance deductions, a handful of other codes in the AP category.
Yeah, if you're familiar with APDP, pretty much it's just a new way to create disputes within APDP and applies to the same types of deductions.
So what won't be available in APDP using mass dispute creation? This is similar to some of the limits that we talked about earlier. It doesn't apply to any accounts receivable deductions. Think fines or chargebacks like lumper fees, excessive defectives. Nothing like TIF fines or scrap fines.
Post audits still have their own process, so none of that has changed. And this only applies to your accounts payable deductions, things withheld from invoice payments. All right, so let's jump a little bit more into mass dispute creation. First things first. If you're currently on settlement and you don't want to wait to get kicked off, you want to control your own destiny, you can request to go ahead and get moved off.
This is a process that as far as we know hasn't changed. You'd reach out to Walmart through the email address on your screen, let them know, Hey, we want to be moved off of settlement. I see a note on there that's a little confusing. Says it's required by May 1st. As far as we know, you don't have to request to be moved off by May 1st.
They're just gonna tell you when you have to, and this is for if you want to move off before they tell you that you have to. So reach out to Walmart, send an official notice through email. You can also reach out to E B Ss, and usually what I recommend is send the official notice first, reach out to E B Ss through phone or email to follow up on the status of that official request.
For those of you who are wanting to take a look at this slide deck afterwards that's a template that you can use if you're gonna request that ahead of time. But diving into P D P, this is a quick screenshot of mass dispute creation. Again, this and all things APDP will be talked about in depth at a webinar coming up on the 15th.
But basically what this is a new way to create disputes within APDP. So there in the top left, you can see a toggle little radio buttons between mass claims or single claims. So if you select mass claims, you're presented with an option to choose a date range, you can choose a date range.
And then below that you'll see all claims within that date range. They'll have check boxes. You can select all and up to 500 of these. You just hit that blue submit button in the bottom right and it sends them over. Like I said, some of the pros, this is a pretty easy way to send these in mass.
However, from there it can kind of splinter and a lot of these are gonna need further action to be paid back. So we just went through all of that. Once you submit that bulk that bulk or mass dispute creation, Essentially what's happening on Walmart's side is their system is checking to see if they've received additional items since the claim was created.
So that's why you get an automated either approved or denied. Now what we've seen from working with hundreds of suppliers over the past many years is Walmart system still doesn't always have the most up-to-date information. And that's why a dispute with proof documentation, like a proof of delivery or bill of lading can still, and so often does, still leads to success even if Walmart's system has bad data, which is very commonly the case.
So this is like a quick check to make sure nothing's changed on Walmart's side, and that's why such a low percentage of these get auto-approved. For those that don't get auto-approved, they are denied. They're sent back to you needing further action. Again, if you're familiar with APDP, this will be a status that you're familiar with where it's moved into supplier action.
You have 14 days to take action on it. Otherwise it gets denied. Denied. And you can't act on denied disputes. It just moves them into a separate status. Essentially what that means, imagine you spin up a hundred new disputes through mass dispute creation statistics that we've seen say that about 18 of those are going to get approved and the rest are going to get denied and you'll have to go into them one by one to try to get paid back.
Compare that to the old settlement process where your company may have been accustomed to 70%, 80, 80%. I've talked to a couple suppliers getting over 90% paid back on settlement. That's just not gonna be the reality anymore based on what we've seen. There's gonna be a whole lot more work to go individually deduction by deduction to deduction, and now you're back into this game that suppliers who dispute individually without any software to help 'em have to play where it's like.
This deduction was for $5 or $20 or a hundred dollars, how much time is it worth for me to go research, try to find proof, documentation, try to dispute you end up in this game where you're really still not getting everything that you're owed.
Stacy Tan: Yeah. We have a question, Eric, that come, that came up and I think it's a perfect timing for what you were talking about here and needing to individually attach all of these proof documents.
So in this particular question, they're asking about shortage deductions. So is our recommendation that for every shortage deduction that the supplier, let's just say, gets denied from the N B C process, now they have to individually dispute should they submit or do they have to submit pods or bools depending on if you're prepaid or collect for every shortage deduction that you receive.
Is that kind of the only way to get paid back?
Eric Smith: Pretty much. So again, for those of you accustomed to settlement usually you just get a sampling, handful of deductions where you go hunt down a proof of delivery, send it over to 'em, and they take that and come up with a percentage. With individual disputing, it doesn't work that way.
Every deduction has to have proof and without proof, it's extremely likely that it's going to get denied. So every individual deduction, that $5, that $20 deduction for a shortage, go hunt down your proof of delivery. Go hunt down your bill of lading, find it. If it doesn't exist, attach it to the deduction.
Add a comment, submit it. Keep track of if it gets approved or denied. Again, add another comment, submit it again, wait. Welcome to the world of individual disputing. Yay.
Stacy Tan: We should be sending care packages to all the suppliers getting off set. Yeah. So question for you Eric that just came in. Does M D C, and I believe we covered some of the codes earlier in the earlier slide.
Could you maybe flip back just briefly? Does M D C only cover shortage deductions or is it for other types of deductions as well?
Eric Smith: I don't know where that slide went.
Stacy Tan: Okay, sorry. We will. "Eric Smith: There. It's, yep. Yeah short answer is mass dispute creation. It works, it applies to all the same thing things that you can dispute in APDP.
So what you can dispute in APDP is pretty much a couple asterisks, but pretty much any accounts payable deduction. So things withheld from invoice payments, shortages, allowance, deductions, pricing, discrepancies, that whole world. Is taken care of in APDP. Things that are not are things like o fines, swep fines, excessive defectives post audits, and nothing has changed with those.
Stacy Tan: And one last question before I let you move on, 'cause we had a few people ask this, I looks like probably newer to the world of Indi individual disputing. So in APDP, how far back can you go and dispute charges from the time you get that deduction? To before it expires,
Eric Smith: yeah, great question.
In APDP you have two years from the claim date. So the date of the claim, not necessarily the date it landed on a check, but the date of the claim itself you have two years from that date to submit a dispute. Big asterisk that's going to apply to a lot of you on this call is if you've been on settlement, you cannot now go back and try to dispute any b d P things that you've already tried to settle.
So part of the settlement process, when you strike that agreement with Walmart, you agree to give up any claim on past deductions or deductions from that time period that you've settled. So if you've tried to dispute those in APDP, they'll just get immediately denied and say you've already settled for this time period.
So for those of you who are just now moving off, Of settlement. You've been on it all along, you're gonna be working with just new stuff moving forward.
Stacy Tan: And one, sorry, I, I know I said the last question was the last question. This is the last question for now. Good question. So one of our attendees asked and I think, this is a totally fair potential best practice is, doesn't it make sense then to just use M D C for everything you can, and then wait for things to get rejected and then go and fight them individually?
Eric Smith: Yeah, that, that's certainly one strategy is, throwing spaghetti at the wall see what sticks, fight the rest. One thing to keep in mind is you'll be then going after disputes that have a denied status. So you can still do it. There's just a little bit different slightly different workflow for those in AP P D P.
But yeah, there's, oh, that's a, as far as I know, there's no reason you couldn't do that. That's
Stacy Tan: a fair point Eric. 'cause one thing I wanted to call out and reiterate what you were talking about 'cause I was like, oh yeah, that could be a way to do it. But anything that enters denied status, you only have 14 days to go after.
So you really, I think before it gets denied. Denied and then you go back after it. Is that right? Because Yeah, if you want, I'm saying you wanna kind of balance, you don't wanna, submit 500 and then have 420. I can't do math on the spot, come back denied, based on our stats.
And then now you have 14 days to go after those 400 or whatever it is.
Eric Smith: Yeah I mean it would make that future workflow maybe a little bit less convenient because they would, fall into that fully denied status. But you can still raise a new dispute for something that has been in a denied status.
So as far as we know, you haven't technically lost your chance for good. It just is a slightly different workflow. Yeah, your mileage may vary there. We'll talk here in a little bit about supply pipes approach. That's not exactly how we operate but definitely curious to, to hear anyone utilizing that approach, how it's working for you.
I did see a comment in the chat that just came through talking about separating your paperwork into separate files rather than one giant p d f with everything jumbled together. That's really great. Call out Jacob. Thanks for sharing. Yeah, we know some retailers like. One crammed together file.
I believe Kroger operates that way. I think Target might actually operate that way as well, where they usually ask for one file all jammed together with Walmart. I agree with you Jacob. We often see a little bit more success. I don't know that I can speak to this with like hard data, but anecdotally I have seen what you've seen as well separating those files out.
Here is A P D F for my invoice. Here's A P D F for the claim. Here is a P D F of my proof of delivery. Number one, it makes it frankly easier on you. You're not combining files together. But also if it does go through a manual review, it can make it easier on that person reviewing manually to pull up a document and say, okay, I'm looking at the p o d and a different document.
I'm looking at the b o l, so on and so forth.
Great questions. Enjoying the dialogue here. All right. Time check. Boy, it's 1140 already. We'll move through the rest of these pretty quick 'cause we touched on a lot of this, but what does this mean for suppliers? If you take nothing away from this webinar do take this away.
For those of you on settlement who are accustomed to fairly high paybacks, 60%, 70%, maybe more, anticipate change there's very likely a change coming for you guys, and we don't see anything that tells us that there's gonna be auto paybacks anywhere near that high. Through this new process, we're anticipating about an 80% reduction in the type of paybacks that you get without having to go through and prove each deduction individually.
However you prepare to deal with that, whether it's, head count a write off threshold, or maybe engaging a partner to help. We do recommend putting an action plan in place because there, there are changes coming here and that will have a material impact on both the amount of time it takes to deal with the process and how much you're getting paid back.
From there, want to jump into APDP For those of you who say you've only ever done settlement, you've never dealt with individual disputing at all. This is the 32nd overview of the individual disputing process and what that looks like. Like I said, the 15th, I believe that's next Thursday. We have a webinar totally dedicated to APDP, going in depth how it works, practices, things like that.
But for those of you who, this is your first time hearing of APDP and you think I keep saying A C D C we'll dive into this really quick. So within APDP, that's an app within Retail Link. So just d s or Otis Scorecard, you can launch APDP. From there, when you go to create a new dispute, I think I saw a question come through the chat asking do I need to input it manually?
With APDP, what you actually do is you look up an existing claim. So the screen we're looking at here, you would choose your vendor number, choose either a claim or an invoice. More on that. In that other webinar you would look up that claim number and it would return that record. So rather than you keying in all of the information, some of that is prefilled for you.
But a big difference from APDP or of APDP compared to the old individual disputing process is it separates out every single line on that claim. So in this example, you can see there's three lines, three items considered short with a code 22, 1 with a code 24. So you would, on this claim, you'd go through, you'd add your description, you would upload your proof documentation.
You would enter how much you're wanting to dispute for each of these and then submit it. So that's a single dispute for a single deduction. With APDP, another little oddity is like this example we looked at, there's four claim lines. They can approve or deny those individually. So once you submit that dispute, what was previously just one deduction can splinter into a separate dispute for every line on the claim.
One of them might get approved, one of them might get denied, one of them might need more information. Now you have to keep up with each of those lines. Final pitch for that Thursday webinar, December 15th, all about Walmart's A P T P. We also have a ton of really great articles in SupplierWiki.
If you're not familiar with SupplierWiki dot com go check that out. If it's your first time hearing about a P T P start study up. We make a ton of content available there. All right, Stacy, how are we looking on questions? Let's see. We've got
Stacy Tan: a lot of them and we can take a brief pause to go through a couple of them really quickly before we talk about what we do here at SupplyPike.
So one of the questions I think is a great one, Eric. So can you submit. These MDCs whenever you want to, or is it like settlement where you had to go through one quarter, wait for that to close and then submit the next one. Is this kind of a free for all scenario?
Eric Smith: Yeah, definitely closer to free for all.
So some of those caveats that we mentioned earlier, as far as timing and if you've already settled something, you can't dispute it through this process and those types of things, but there isn't that same waiting period because you're disputing deductions kind of one by one. Even if you raise it through the mass dispute creation process, you're still just bulk creating individual disputes.
You can dispute deductions as soon as they exist in the APDP system.
Stacy Tan: Okay, perfect. And can you talk, Eric, really quickly on what info do you need for a mass dispute? Or is it as simple as select all and send, because we know we talked about you can attach proof documentation during the individual process.
But for the initial kind of M D C, what does that look like? Yeah, great
Eric Smith: question. So this screen that we looked at earlier, this is. The mass dispute function in APDP. So choose a timeframe, select all or however many you want, click submit. That's it. To a degree that's nice, right? A couple clicks, I've disputed a lot of these.
What you're doing, again, if there's a really high recovery rate with this path, that would be excellent. It's, it would have been a pretty big improvement over the settlement process, unfortunately, because over 80% of these are likely to be denied. What you've really done is just kicked the can a little bit further down the road.
For a lot of these later in the process after they've been denied is when you would be able to go in and add proof documentation. So there's no way this step to add. Proof documentation for every single one of these.
Stacy Tan: Okay. No, that's super helpful, Eric. And one of our attendees, Stephanie actually just made a really great call out, which I wasn't aware of.
I don't know if you were it looks like right now they only allow you to select a 10 day range for mass dispute. Yep. Is there work around that or, are you just having to do it in 10 day chunks at a time?
Eric Smith: Now, as far as I know, that 10 day that 10 day window is the best you can do up to 500 within that window.
The other thing that you can't do with mass dispute creation, when you choose that time window, it doesn't allow you to choose. Say you have one claim from an from an invoice that had a shortage and an allowance deduction and something else all on the same claim, it's gonna dispute that entire claim.
So maybe you didn't even know there was an allowance deduction on there. It just got denied. And now that might, depending on how you look at things internally that denied one may drop off your radar. You may forget it ever happened. You may not look into it. Yeah, it's a very kind of simple for better and for worse way to spin up a lot of these the 500 at a time.
A great call out is assuming you've got that kind of volume, assuming you're getting 500 claims in a 10 day period. So relevant for the very large suppliers, maybe not as relevant for everyone.
Stacy Tan: Yeah. No, that makes a lot of sense, Eric. And last question that I wanted to make sure that we addressed, because I wanna make sure that, we're able to get to it in case we run out of time at the end.
So we had one of our attendees ask, so do you have any insight, Eric, do they take into account offsetting overs with shortages during specific time periods when they're auto approving? Like what they did with the settlement process, because that is what they based a lot of their settlement percentage decisions on.
But this attendee also followed up and said, because it's limited to a timeframe that 10 days it's likely going to be hard for them to be able to match the overage of the shortage. What are your initial thoughts on that?
Eric Smith: Yeah, this candidly it's an example where I'd love to be able to see inside Walmart's head, so to speak exactly how they're doing this.
Everything that we have seen makes it pretty clear to us that they're looking at the individual claim in question. So say you had, a shipment with multiple pos and it was mis received over, an item on one PO and short an item on the other po. I don't believe this is taking that into consideration because we see many scenarios where that has happened and it doesn't get auto-approved.
You have to prove it manually. So short answer to that is, I don't believe it does. Yeah. With settlement, often they'd be looking at kind of net, your whole account, dollars owed, dollars paid. This is looking at individual claims from every, everything we can tell at this point. Okay.
Stacy Tan: Super helpful.
Eric Smith: Eric. I. All right, so I'm gonna roll through this really quick, not get too salesy here but because we see this as a pretty massive change for suppliers accustomed to settlement, new to the whole individual disputing world, we'll talk really quickly about what we here at SupplyPike do. So we offer a software solution that is called Deductions Navigator.
And essentially what that does is it is a whole solution around disputing AP deductions. It's been, specifically built to leverage the individual disputing process. The way that, or the reason that we here at supplied bike have always skewed more towards individual disputing for the vast majority of scenarios is because it is the way to get the most paid back.
As possible. There's very few exceptions on the the settlement side when that would've been a preferable scenario. And usually it's just if you don't have access to proof documentation at all, your carrier doesn't store it, or internally, a warehouse burned down with all your bools in it or something, settlement would be a good option for you.
'cause you wouldn't be able to prove individually. But assuming you have documentation, individual disputing is gonna get you the most paid back and usually the fastest. And so what we do here at SupplyPike is we make that process pain-free. So we've been talking a lot about going one by one, adding proof documentation, researching, trying to understand what happened.
Deductions navigator takes this sort of mountain of work and instead flips the script. We automate the easy stuff. So disputes get automatically researched. We automatically pull proof documentation for them. We automatically dispute them, not just shortages, but pricing and allowances as well. So all of that work deciding, is it worth it to research this deduction for $20 or not?
That question goes away. Everything is automated for you. But what's even cooler is beyond that. We view these types of deductions not just as an annoyance. Obviously there's a lot of money that you need to get paid back and we'll get it for you. But we view these as deductions, as signals of things that you could be doing better in your business.
Yes, a lot of them are Walmart's fault. They mis received it. But how can you improve your process to make it harder for Walmart to mis receive something? So the way that we have developed our software surfaces, the data and insights and our team here in our, you. Local Arkansas office is devoted to helping you not just get your money back, but also improve your business at the same time.
So our solution is proven, like we've talked about. We're working with over 400 suppliers in the Walmart space. To date. We've helped those suppliers recover over $400 million in accounts payable deductions. So no small feat. The amount of money that we've helped our customers recover. And, this is a really well designed product that adapts to changes that Walmart makes.
And we have a really intimate understanding of the process and we have tailored our solution to play by the rules that Walmart expects to make sure that disputes that get submitted are submitted correctly and are most likely to get approved. Really cool solution that we've put together.
For those suppliers who are on individual disputing today, hopefully you're using this already and but for those of you who are going to be moving off of settlement and you're starting to think how are we gonna keep up with this kind of mountain of individual disputes? We're gonna have to do love to talk to you about our mindset and how we approach the problem because we think we can make this really seamless transition for you.
And that's the end of my sales pitch. Not a sales guy. But yeah, I know there's a lot more questions. Tried to leave us six or seven minutes to, to dive into that. Okay,
Stacy Tan: perfect. Thank you Eric. So yes, we do have a whole bunch of questions and I will try and get us through as quickly as possible. First question that we got is, so if the dispute is auto approved, so something that we create through that mass dispute process do you have any insight, Eric, on how many days it takes for Walmart to pay that deduction or that, I guess one back dispute
Eric Smith: back?
Yeah. So the data that we see is typically between seven and 10 days from the time that a dispute is approved in APDP, like they come back and say, you're right, we'll pay you back. And when that payback actually lands on a check. So for those of you familiar with settlement paybacks, were a lump sum.
So you would negotiate a settlement. 60% of what you asked for, that huge lump sum would hit a check. Individual disputing is different. Your paybacks will come across claim by claim. So it'll show up on a check with that claim number, a positive dollar amount, and the code of the deduction.
So you can see like this code 25 is paid back for $500. So seven to 10 days from an approved dispute to when we usually see payback. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes it seems like wires get crossed and they forget about it and you have to nudge them. But yeah, pretty common. Pretty staple that we see that week or so.
Stacy Tan: Okay. Super helpful. Another great question here. Again, going from the settlement to that individual process, so if in that 30 to 60 day timeframe that we talked about earlier in the webinar, we're waiting for, the Walmart team to review and decide on what they're gonna do with the dispute that we've sent in should the supplier be reaching out to Walmart to follow up with them?
What does that process look like? Who should they be reaching out to? If they should be reaching out
Eric Smith: Yeah. For getting moved off of settlement
Stacy Tan: for the individual disputes. Once you've submitted it, you're hoping and praying.
Eric Smith: So yeah, in general Walmart says, just trust the process.
Let it do its thing. They're not great about giving you somebody specific to reach out to. That said, we have seen suppliers submit a dispute, submit a bunch of disputes, and it's been. Two months, three months, and they're still kinda hanging out in purgatory. What we have seen be most successful is to reach out to Walmart, e b s which there's contact info on the previous screen.
It's the standard kind of reach out to us for your ops type questions. Contact, reach out to them, provide claim numbers. Let them know, Hey, it's been this long. Usually it's best to do it in bulk. You have one dispute for 50 bucks that's out there for three months. It might be hard to get in touch with them and get a response.
If you've got some evidence like, Hey, we've got 50 of these that have been sitting around forever, that's usually gonna yield more success. Reaching out to e b s. We've seen some suppliers have a little bit of success getting their buyer involved. If it's getting really bad up to you, there's a lot of things that go into the decision if it's worth using up some social capital with your buyer.
But that could also be a, an approach. Okay.
Stacy Tan: So this is a good question Eric, and I wanted to make sure that we address it before we, we close out the webinar today and there are a lot more and just wanted to throw out there guys. I think we've got one more slide, Eric, right after this one with our email addresses.
Yep. If we're not able to get to everyone's questions, and I apologize, we've gotten like over 40 in our webinar today. These are our real email addresses on the screen. You guys feel free to reach out to us directly. We are more than happy to answer your questions, hop on a call with you or through email and make sure that, you get the resources that you need.
But I wanted to make sure we address this one, Eric. Obviously in Walmart's communication, one thing that they've talked about is RPAs. When submitting disputes, could you maybe give your insight on that and why our take is a little bit different.
Eric Smith: So really great question.
Walmart's official letter that went out, explained someone's going away, but there's mass dispute creation, so that can help you keep up and then follow that up with. And so we recommend that you don't use bots and call them bots to submit disputes. What we have seen historically and what we know of how Walmart views this situation.
Their biggest issue is these simplistic r p A type softwares that are built to go click for click and often run amuck, for lack of a better phrase, that can lead to lots of, confusion and issues with how disputes get submitted. Walmart's saying, Hey, you don't have to do that anymore 'cause you can submit 500 at a time.
We talked a little bit about it supply pike's approach. Like I said, we do automate a lot of this process for you. But the way that we approach the problem is much, much deeper solution than what is typically discussed or what is typically intended when bots are discussed.
So our solution is tailor built and maintained by a team of developers. It wasn't built, by an engineering intern two years ago and runs amuck now proven by the success that we've seen helping suppliers recover a lot of money. While Walmart would prefer, these more simplistic bots not to, do their thing we've seen a ton of success and no issues with our approach.
And yeah, I think, like we talked about today it's gonna be necessary for suppliers who need to keep up with the volume. Now that you can't settle.
Stacy Tan: No, that's really helpful. Color and context, Eric. Thank you. And just to reiterate what Eric is saying, wanted to share with you guys, we are currently supporting suppliers that are submitting disputes through APDP.
So this is already something we're doing. So you know, rest assured that if you do decide to check us out, learn a little bit more about SupplyPike, we're actively already supporting those 400 plus suppliers through APDP today. Again, it's not something that we're just we created randomly.
That, that is our bread and butter. It's what we do all day. So yeah. So I apologize guys. We weren't able to get to everyone's questions. We tried to get through as many as we could. We're gonna spend the next four or five minutes showing you guys what Deductions Navigator actually looks like.
So if you're curious to see what we do at SupplyPike, you can check that out here. And of course, again, if you'd like to learn more, you can always reach out to us directly or visit our website. One thing, Eric, we have gotten like three or four questions specifically around the proof documents piece of how deductions Navigator collects it, and then sends that off to APDP. So if you wouldn't mind making sure that we hone in on that a little bit during the five minute demo or overview I think that'd be helpful for a lot of our suppliers.
Eric Smith: I can do that. All righty. Let me get my screen share set up.
And are you able to see my screen? Perfect. So for those of you who have stuck around, you're in for a treat, a live demo of supply price Deductions Navigator. I'm gonna go really quick on this. But first thing that I'll talk about with Deductions Navigator is how we operate.
And I'll touch on the shipping improved documentation piece. So with SupplyPike, we have a really cool way of how we work. Getting set up is really fast and easy. And so when you come to SupplyPike, really all you're doing is authenticating access to your different kind of data sources.
So rather than this six month it onboarding process and having to pull in your IT team and they're mad at you and all that, it's about two minutes of work. You authenticate your accounts for your retailer data, your, any freight carriers that you use. We can tie into document storage systems that you use.
For bills of lading and things like that. And we retrieve all of that information daily, pull it in so it's always fresh and we organize that within our application not just to automate the disputing process like we talked about, but to give you a much more holistic view of what's happening and why.
So with all that in mind we'll start on a dashboard. What I love about this, and especially for those of you who have come from settlement is just visibility is powerful. So for those of you on settlement, it's this. Black box of how Walmart reviews things and all of that.
I know some suppliers who were really buttoned up with their settlements and they would go deduction by deduction and do their own validation before they included it in a settlement, which is great. But that's a ton of work. That's a month's worth of work for somebody to go and validate all of those.
So with SupplyPike, we do that all automatically. So not only do you get that research automated, but you get the results of that research bubbled up as well. So you can track what's been deducted, where it stands in the dispute process. So again, unlike settlement, which is nothing until you get however much paid back.
With individual disputing, you can watch them flow through the process, what's been disputed, what's been approved, denied, et cetera. So we keep track of all of that for you. We can show you a breakdown of deductions by code, where your biggest problems are, which items, trends over time, that sort of thing.
So a lot of insights just from the dashboard view, but the real depth of the application comes with what we're able to show you for every single deduction. So we provide a list view of every deduction taken. You can search, filter, sort, export this data to a C S V. And you get all of this deep data, not just from your claims, but from other relevant documents associated with those.
So what was going on with this order, this purchase order, what was going on with the invoice that was sent through the check where it got paid? All of that data is pulled and aggregated in this context. When I click into a deduction, I'm able to see that depth. And so you can see not just the basic claim where Walmart says, here's what we're deducting, but you can see what happened leading up to that.
And like I said, we make judgements on these. Like this example, we can see that you. Transmitted an A s N for the full amount that you invoiced those two match. So you should not be getting a shortage deduction. And we've made a validity judgment on here line by line, what was invoiced shipped, received all of that information as well as pulling together the proof documentation like a purchase order or a bill or a p o d or a bill of lading automatically pulled, aggregated with the deduction and here for you.
So all that information stitched together, it won't go into all of it today, but not only does that help you with disputing and getting paid back but this kind of visibility, especially at the aggregate level allows you to debug your business. What are my valid deductions? Why did they happen?
Which items are getting hit the most? Maybe I need to consider a packaging change for this item because it keeps getting these valid deductions. That depth of insight takes you so much further. It helps you level up your business in a way that. Just settling on your deductions and moving on to the next quarter could never do for you.
So really cool stuff that we're doing here. We talked about the disputing process With supplied bike, you can fully automate it and set your own criteria. So I only want to auto dispute these types of claims or only claims when you have this type of proof documentation available and it was this degree of confidence and if it was invalid or not, you can control all of that.
So AR teams generally love that because they get to have control over the process. It's not just this blind automation where you throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. You can be really tactical with what you're auto disputing versus what you. Say I wanna put some eyes on it before I dispute it, or I want to add some color to this before I dispute it.
So it gives you a lot of control. You can go full auto, you can go more individual. And with that kind of individual approach, we still allow you to bulk dispute or you can individually dispute as well. And when we talk about bulk disputing, this is very different from the mass dispute creation we've been talking about where you can't attach proof documentation.
What we do with bulk disputes is we in bulk submit these one by one for you. And so you're providing the proof documentation up front. You're not causing delays with this. Throw it against the wall and see what sticks and then have to go back and fix it later. It takes care of everything the first time, the right way.
So we see we can't make Walmart take action on these disputes faster, but we can get them sent over to Walmart faster so you can get your money back sooner. It's talking really fast there. But that's my five minute overview of Deduction Navigator.
Stacy Tan: No, that was super helpful. Thank you so much Eric, and thank you to everybody that stuck around.
One last thing that I'll share before we let you guys go, I know we're running a little bit late is we do offer a completely free business analysis. So obviously the data that Eric is showing right now is demo data. It is based on real information that we've seen from supplier partners that we currently work with.
At the end of the day, it's quote unquote made up data. So we offer a. Free business analysis where we can actually pull your data into our application and show you everything that Eric just showed you what deductions you've received, what is on the table, what you can go after and all of that good stuff.
So if you guys are curious in that business analysis, again, it's totally free. Feel free to reach out to us or respond to any of our follow-up emails after this, and we'll make sure that you get taken care of. Again, thank you guys for joining us on this Wednesday morning. Hope everyone learned a lot, had a lot of fun.
We really appreciate everyone's insights that you all shared with us throughout our conversation today. And hopefully we will see you guys at the AP DP webinar coming up on the 15th. Again, SupplierWiki dot com is where you can go and see all of this information, webinars on demand resources and also figure out when our next events are going to be.
So thank you all and hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week. Bye everybody.
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SVP of Retail Insights
Stacy is the SVP of Retail Insights for SupplyPike. She brings a decade of knowledge and experience working directly with Walmart merchandising teams.
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VP of Product
Eric directs the strategy and product development for our SupplyPike products. These software products are built to help suppliers manage retailer deductions.
Sponsored by Deductions Navigator
About Deductions Navigator
With SupplyPike, suppliers can see every dollar taken from their checks and dispute invalid deductions with a single click. Reduce the time it takes you to dispute a deduction from 30 days on average to seconds.
SupplyPike helps you fight deductions, increase in-stocks, and meet OTIF goals in the built-for-you platform, powered by machine learning.