How to Convince Your Boss You Should Work With a GPO

How to overcome common stakeholder concerns and convince your boss you should work with a GPO to drive more cost savings and value.

By Hugo Britt | September 12, 2023


You’re a procurement professional keen to exploring the benefits of working with a group purchasing organization. You’ve done your research, learned where and how a GPO can fit into your procurement strategy, explored the different types of GPOs available, and are ready to make a greater impact.

There’s only one thing standing in your way – your boss.

Convincing your boss you should be working with a group purchasing organization

In this article, we explore some common reasons your boss might hesitate to work with a third party like Una, and equip you with some compelling rebuttals to help get them on board.

Procurement professionals can use these rebuttals to convince their bosses that utilizing GPO services may be the right move for the business.

Concern #1: Loss of control

Rebuttal: “Working with a group purchasing organization doesn’t mean relinquishing control over procurement decisions. As a company, we can choose which categories and products would benefit most from leveraging the GPO’s supplier agreements.”

Una members always retain the final say in vendor selection and product choice, ensuring alignment with your organization’s specific needs. Usually, businesses will entertain GPO services to help better manage their indirect or non-spend categories and continue managing direct spend in-house.

Concern #2: Loss of supplier relationships

Rebuttal: “GPOs work collaboratively with suppliers to secure deep discounts for their members. They prioritize building and maintaining long-term relationships with suppliers to ensure consistent quality and reliability. In fact, GPOs can enhance our supplier network by introducing us to new, reputable vendors.”

For more on how to nurture supplier relationships, check out Una’s resources below:

Concern #3: Hidden costs

Rebuttal: “While some GPOs do charge membership or participation fees, I’ve found through my research that others do not. I’ve concluded the best option for us would be to parter with a GPO that is transparent about how their business in structured, and up-front about what membership entails.” 

At Una, membership is always free to join and free to use. Una makes money by getting paid an administrative fee by its suppliers, and uses this fee to finance their services and keep membership free.

Concern #4: Forcing a one-size-fits all approach

Rebuttal: “The right GPO will recognize that each organization has unique procurement needs, and are experts at navigating certain categories to meet those needs.”

A GPO like Una understands the need for flexibility and consequently, and members can fully participate in the structuring of the supplier agreements. Una also has a Member Experience team to tailor their services to accommodate these differences, helping members to choose from thousands of pre-negotiated supplier agreements to find the right fit.

Concern #5: Lengthy onboarding processes

Rebuttal: “The GPO I’d prefer to work with understands that cost savings are crucial and oftentimes a top priority for organizations. They have frameworks in place to analyze data quickly and streamline the supplier connection process. This means our organization would be able to start saving money within a couple of weeks.”

Una follows a simple three-step processes for welcoming new members and getting them connected to savings quickly:

Step 1: Discovery Call
As the first step to savings, this is where we get to know each other, define what success looks like for you, and set a timeline for the connection process.

Step 2: Cost Analysis
This is Una’s time to shine and where we can show real value. We’ll send your spend data directly to our supplier base to compare cost and identify savings.

Step 3: Connect to Suppliers
After the cost analysis, we’ll work quickly to get you connected so you can start saving as a GPO member right away. It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

member journey

It's not uncommon for stakeholders and business leaders to hesitate bringing in a third party like a GPO, so procurement practitioners should be prepared to put their concerns at ease.

Concern #6: Loss of transparency

Rebuttal: “Una ensures members have full visibility into contractual agreements, pricing structures, and financial arrangements between the GPO and suppliers. From a compliance perspective, GPO members can be sure that due diligence has been performed and all suppliers have been thoroughly vetted.”

Una ensures our members receive full visibility and transparency into the pricing and details of the contracts within our supplier portfolio. The team is happy to explain nuances and answer any questions to ensure complete understanding prior to entering into an agreement.

Concern #7: Fear of vendor lock-in

Rebuttal: “GPOs do not bind you to any vendor or contract against your will.”

Participating members are not obligated to utilize a GPO holistically. Members leverage category offerings and services based on their unique needs and where the most value can be driven. A GPO member can choose to participate in one supplier agreement or many and are free to use said agreements as much or as little as desired.

With Una, there are no minimum purchasing requirements and we can cancel our GPO membership at any time.

Concern #8: Doubt in GPO expertise

Rebuttal: Established GPOs have specialized knowledge and expertise in various industries. Their experienced teams stay updated on market trends, regulations, and best practices, making them a valuable extension of our team to help optimize our procurement strategy.”

At Una, our team has more than 50 combined years of experience working within the procurement space. Each team member spends their days communicating with both practitioners and suppliers, listening to pain points, and solving problems so that procurement can run smoothly and efficiently.

Still need help convincing your boss to join a GPO? Contact us and we’d be happy to provide you with the numbers, case studies, member testimonials, and other information to help you get your key stakeholders on board.

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