How to Work With a Group Purchasing Organization and Stay Relevant

By Hugo Britt | March 2, 2021

Are you a sourcing professional who is thinking of engaging with a group purchasing organization? What’s holding you back?

We tend to hear the same reasons as to why procurement professionals are hesitant to work with a group purchasing organization (GPO), and the most common centers around a fear that doing so will make your own position within the company irrelevant.

Nobody likes to be replaced, but we’re here to assure you that your fears are unfounded. 

Here’s why.

The right GPO will work with your existing procurement strategy

GPOs leverage the collective buying power of their members to obtain volume discounts from suppliers. Once you join a GPO, you’re able to take advantage of pre-negotiated contracts and receive discounted pricing on the goods and services needed to run your business.

When employed in the right capacity, a GPO can be an efficient sourcing tool that delivers much more than cost savings. It’s important to find a GPO that understands their role and how they can support your organization. A group purchasing organization should supplement or come alongside your existing procurement strategies.

Group purchasing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and your GPO should embrace that mindset.

Your business goals, tech stack, team size, and access to spend data will all help determine whether working with a GPO is the right move for your business. If it is, adding a GPO to the mix could greatly improve your ability to manage your non-strategic spend or tail spend.

The Una Difference

When you reach out to Una, you’re getting more than a group purchasing organization. You’re choosing a partner in procurement.

In practice, this means Una becomes an extension of your procurement team. You can:

  • Give us tasks, such as bringing your tail spend under management
  • Seek advice from our sourcing experts
  • Ask questions to help accomplish your goals 

You are in control throughout the entire process, guiding the conversations to achieve your desired outcomes.

We do this by first seeking to understand your procurement strategy, then showing how Una can work within it. 

Una acts as a true Sourcing Accelerator, helping you first achieve quick wins at the category level and drive the successful implementation of long-term, cost-savings strategies, guided by you. 

Find quick wins

Before joining a GPO, it’s important to understand how they operate and what membership looks like. How does the GPO make money? Are there annual service fees, or do you have to pay to access contracts? Will you be required to spend a certain amount of money to receive the best discount?

Any GPO you work with should willingly answer these questions and be transparent about their own structure and process.

Once you clear the air and decide to work with a group purchasing organization, you’re opening up the opportunity to find quick wins and bring additional value to your organization. Savings is always a top priority for your organization and a group purchasing organization can help you find those savings quickly and efficiently.

How Una can help

Our team likes to begin each relationship with a 30-minute discovery call. This isn’t about Una selling our services; it’s a two-way chat between you and one of our Sourcing Advisors to help decide if we’re a good fit.

They’ll ask a series of questions about the challenges you’re facing and the goals you plan to achieve. We want to understand what success looks like for you, so we can determine the opportunities and timelines involved.

Next, we like to conduct a cost analysis, one category at a time. This will help us identify potential savings, improve spend visibility, look for opportunities for consolidation and streamlining, and benchmark your current pricing.

Finally, we’ll help find and connect you with top suppliers to lock in savings. Una’s catalog of pre-negotiated contracts is already in place, meaning you will get access to the best possible pricing, fast.

If you’ve conducted a cost analysis or RFP exercise before, you will know it takes significant time, energy, and effort, potentially tying up resources in your team for months on end.

That’s what makes a partnership with Una so valuable:

  • Save money – by leveraging the collective buying power of our members, your organization has immediate access to deep discounts and massive cost savings.
  • Save effort – working with Una eliminates the need to find and vet suppliers and negotiate pricing.
  • Save time – with supplier relationships and pre-negotiated contracts ready to go, we can connect you to savings in days, not months. After achieving these quick wins, we’ll help you put strategies in place to accelerate your sourcing program in every category.

Transparency is also key in everything we do. Una membership is free, there are never any purchasing requirements, and you are never locked into contracts.

A GPO won’t make you look irrelevant - you'll look like a Sourcing Hero

When you work with a group purchasing organization, you’re setting yourself up to move faster, save more, and look better doing it. Apart from the incredible boost in cost savings and efficiency that group purchasing can bring, there’s also this question to consider:

What will you do with the time saved through partnering with a GPO like Una? 

Perhaps you’ll finally have the time to:

  • Improve your engagement with stakeholders in your organization
  • Build better relationships with strategic suppliers
  • Look beyond the short-term to focus on long-term strategies
  • Concentrate on building and upskilling your team 
  • Focus on value-adds such as environmental and social procurement

The possibilities are endless and you’re poised to take advantage of the benefits that come along with adding group purchasing into your sourcing strategies.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with one of our senior sourcing advisors today to discover the benefits of partnering with Una.


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