Tal J. Zlotnitsky, President & CEO
iControl is a retail supply chain management and payment technology solutions company with a mission to help retailers and their suppliers do business with each other with greater collaboration and less friction. The company addresses the need of multi-location retailers to automate data synchronization across from dozens or hundreds of suppliers, take invoice reconciliation and payment processing out of the store, and provide actionable insights to the corporate buyers, without overwhelming home-office administrative and IT staff in the process.
iControl’s solution delivers in two critical ways:
First, by enabling retailers and suppliers to automatically exchange, in the cloud, critical data– such as item catalog and pricebook updates – that directly impacts payment accuracy and reduces the burdens of reconciliation. Second, iControl consolidates the transmission and verification of invoices and credit memos, as well as the remittance of payments to suppliers, thereby centralizing and automating processes that otherwise require complex and sometimes highly-manual procedures. Those procedures –including manual cross-checking of delivery invoices against store receiving records and checking invoice prices against deal prices in contracts – are so overwhelming and burdensome to most home-office accounting staffs, that “minimum thresholds of acceptable error or loss” are often built into SOP’s, locking leakage certainty into the outcome.
That’s not the case for iControl’s customers. Built with input from both large and small retailers, the company offers a highly scalable invoice, reconciliation, and payment processing automation that are business rule driven and require little by way of manual effort from customer staff. iControl customers who use iControl’s pricebook module know they are paying the right prices; those who use iControl’s payment solution know that all invoices are received electronically, processed automatically and paid timely and accurately; those who rely on iControl’s reconciliation tracking module know that any discrepancies between invoicing and receiving records are identified and tracked automatically, with no “minimum thresholds”; and those who leverage iControl’s digital reconciliation support know that the solution tracks every penny in credit owed for any errors, even a penny, all the way back to when it is recaptured.
iControl’s unique value proposition in the B2B payment landscape is best explained by looking at the alcohol distribution model in the United States, where in most states, payment to vendors has to be made Cash on Delivery (CoD) to comply with federal and state laws. At times, invoices received by retailers do not match actual delivery, for one of numerous reasons: Something was damaged in transit, product mismatch, an item is not on the delivery truck, and more. Yet, with the legal requirement of settling an invoice under severe time constraints, many distributors submit invoices in advance, ensuring that any discrepancies at the point of delivery cause reconciliation burdens. iControl’s software matches up all the touch points on the invoice and if anything is not a match, the system tracks it until it balances.
The solution suite offers complete control and visibility for retailers to make payments with confidence, knowing that stores will pay at the right costs and get credits for any discrepancies, with practically no effort or hassle
“Our solution suite offers complete control and visibility for retailers to make payments with confidence, knowing that stores will pay at the right costs and get credits for any discrepancies, with practically no effort or hassle,” remarks Tal J. Zlotnitsky, President & CEO of iControl.
Complementing the payment app is the company’s comprehensive analytics suite. It captures and analyzes data from retailers and suppliers, measuringthe sales data of each product at every client store to spot opportunities or waste —for either side. Both retailers and suppliers have access to the suite through the cloud, to help them see not only what was shipped and receiving, but also see what’s selling, what’s gathering dust on shelves, and where out of stock risks exist. “The objective is to help our customers make better decisions in terms of product promotion, pricing, and right-sizing inventory management,” adds Zlotnitsky.
Further redefining the B2B payments arena is the company’s PayApp by iControl solution, a recent winner of the Electronic Transaction Association’s mobile technology of the year award. PayApp provides distributors with a cost-effective solution to invoice and collect payments from independent and small retailers, many of whom are owned and operated by a single person who is the only one authorized to count out cash or write a check. The app allows distributors to upload invoices and send them to customers by text message. Retailers can view invoices on their phone, which they can either approve or deny, and remit funds in one of several ways, from scanning a check to connecting multiple bank accounts or credit cards. “PayApp is an enormous time saver to distributors, who otherwise have to send collectors to stores to pick up checks, and then drop them off for back-office handling, where staff manually receives and deposits the payment, all the while running the risk that a check will bounce several days after product is dropped off. With PayApp, it’s all automated, and it is instant.”
Another area where the company marks its presence known is scan-based trading – a method of commerce where the distributor owns the inventory even as it sits on retail shelves, up until the moment it is purchased by the consumer. The journey of iControl, in fact, began as a firm enabling scan-based trading. iControl’s Scan-Based Trading software tracks products from system setup to shipment, receiving, point of sale, and remittance of funds, making the whole process transparent and trustworthy.
Today, iControl processes and remit funds for over 50,000 retail outlets every day, served by over 4,000 distributors in all 50 states, while providing real-time visibility to store and item level inventory and sales data. In the near future, the firm aims to enhance the solution further and bring in fascinating features enabling better visibility upstream to manufacturers and even raw material producers.