What is your relationship like with retailers?
Harvest has an excellent working relationship with retailers and can assist clients in all of the major merchandising channels, including: discounters, grocery, drug, department stores, home improvement, clubs and office supply. We understand and respect the various cultures present in the retail landscape as many of our auditors have worked for a retailer or as a third-party auditor on a retailer's behalf.
Do you also work for the retailers?
No. Harvest was founded to help level the playing field between suppliers and retailers. We are advocates for the suppliers’ position in their financial dealings with the retailers.
What success have you had in reversing invalid deductions?
In the past six years, Harvest has helped recover more than $375 million in invalid deductions. Harvest has expertise in working with supplier sales, logistics and accounting departments to retrieve data and using our systems to analyze that data for reviewing claims and various analysis for returns, defective merchandise and proof of performance.
Are unauthorized deductions a necessary cost of doing business?
No. While no-one can stop the retailers or their third party audit firms from filing claims, we work with our clients to help them define and implement best practices designed to result in substantial savings. Every client has a different experience, based on their category, their buyer and their sales volume. However we have helped our clients reduce the overall number of claims by as much as 85 percent.
Do you have experience in handling settlements with retailers?
Yes. Several members of our team have worked on finance teams within major, national retailers, including some who were part of the retailers’ settlement teams. We understand how the process works and have built productive relationships designed to help our clients maximize their settlement offer.
What are some of the trends you see in deductions?
What's happening in this space is constantly evolving - which underscores the importance of having deduction expertise working as part of your team. We see the third party audit firms getting more creative in what lengths they will go to in claim writing. Retailers are also coming up with new ways to identify pools of supplier money they can claim or leverage against, such as tightening delivery windows or creating new allowances. We've also done some recent research into retailers' claims of "defective" merchandise filed against suppliers for items that may have been discarded, shop worn or even stolen.
How can we prevent our email from being used to write a claim?
Because our auditors have backgrounds working within and on behalf of retailers, they have read tens of thousands of retail-supplier emails. With this information, we know what to look for. When he worked for a third party audit firm, Harvest president Boyd Evert oversaw the development and implementation of a technology application to search email which is currently in use by one of the third-party audit firms, so we have deep insights into how emails can be used against suppliers. Unfortunately, no one is exempt from having their emails used when a claim is written. We do, however, offer training to teach your team some best practices in email correspondence with retailers.
Do you use the same data as third party audit firms like Connolly, PRGX, and Apex?
Just like the audit firms, our primary sources of information include your EDI transactions sent to and from retailers, retail portal data (e.g., RetailLink, Partners Online, etc.) and email correspondence.
How are you able to reverse deductions when others fail?
Since many of our auditors have experience writing claims, they understand the guidelines used to write them, as well as the appeals process within the retailers. We also represent other clients with similar issues, which means your deductions have greater visibility and disputes can typically be resolved in less time.
What is the difference between the types of audits you offer?
Both provide a comprehensive look at your claims and supporting data in an effort to find and recover money for you. Audit 360 is our signature service. It is a retainer-based agreement and Harvest works closely with your team to monitor and manage the ongoing, day-to-day needs related to deductions and other claims filed against you. Harvest’s Contingency Audit is best suited for a one-time look at claims your company has incurred, but can be customized for ongoing services if you qualify. This service is billed as a percentage of funds recovered, claims cancelled and/or identified as invalid.
You're based in Bentonville. Do you only work with Walmart suppliers?
Being based in Walmart’s hometown, we’re keenly in tune with what is happening among the supplier community that supports Walmart and Sam’s Club. But we also have members of our team based in Minneapolis, Dallas and San Jose, Calif. Harvest has experience dealing with many of the nation’s larger chains, in the big box, club, drug store, home improvement, toys, electronics, grocery and other retail channels, as well as Amazon.com. We can help you address your needs at most any national or large, regional retailer.
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