Spurred by member feedback, the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has launched an initiative to simplify and streamline the process involved in that well-established practice of Special Price Authorizations (SPAs), also known as 'Rebates,' 'Shipping Debits,' and a number of other industry labels. SPA refers to the process by which distributors offer a special price to customers, and then collect the rebate from the manufacturers.

The practice û which NAED spokesperson Sonia Crites noted started with lighting companies û has become increasingly common in the industry, and simultaneously a growing administrative task for manufacturers and distributors alike. In various open-forum town hall meetings around the country, members noted that 'SPAs were a considerable business challenge that needed examination,' states a June 22 press release from NAED.

A task force of 21 companies was created to address the problem and has since come up with several deliverables: a standardized vocabulary, a carry-cost calculator, and recommended Best Practices for processing claims. All of these tools are available at the association's website, www.naed.org/spa.

The NAED's website notes that 'for the industry to reap the benefits of improved SPA process efficiencies, it is recommended that all companies commit to implementing the best practice tools developed,' and is encouraging relevant companies to sign a 'Count Me In' pledge form. Among those lighting manufacturers currently on board are Advance Transformer, Hubbell, Lightolier, Philips, Osram Sylvania, and Square D. It is hoped that supporting a more standardized process will make it more efficient, thus rendering a 'more friendly business in general,' says Crites, which will in turn benefit the specifiers of lighting and electrical equipment.

Four scheduled webinars, all starting at 4:00 pm EST, are available to distributors and manufacturers to discuss the implementation progress of new standards:
July 11
August 8
September 12
October 10

For more information, visit www.naed.org/spa.