Many of the concerns people have about joining a group purchasing organization (GPO) are scarier in theory than in practice. Yet they still exist, and they are sometimes enough to cause organizations to miss out on all the benefits of being a GPO member.
When you choose a good GPO, they’ll understand and address your concerns, allowing you to move forward with confidence.
Concern #1: “Our Financial Processes Will Be Disrupted”
Your well-defined financial processes won’t be disrupted by joining a group purchasing organization. In fact, working with a GPO may help you refine and improve your processes.
A GPO aims to provide more clarity on, and consistency in, your spending. Through predictable costs and product discounts, they enable your finance department to budget accurately and allocate resources more efficiently.
With some GPOs, like CNECT, there’s also no cost to join and no fees for membership, so you won’t have to make changes to your current budget when signing up.
Concern #2: “Procurement Will Be More Complicated”
The whole procurement process should be simplified by joining a group purchasing organization, not complicated.
You'll no longer spend countless hours searching for, contacting, and assessing suppliers, because your GPO has done that for you. They’ve also negotiated discounts on your behalf; another administrative burden removed. That gives you the ability to access contracts and contract pricing with a variety of vendors ready to supply the products or services you need.
Sourcing suppliers comes with its own challenges, especially for community health centers, which are governed by strict federal regulations. CNECT specializes in partnering with health centers, which is why our sourcing process is always completed in line with the standards required by federal regulations.
Concern #3: “We Might Be Sacrificing Quality and Reliability”
Product quality and supplier reliability are important. They're important to your organization, and they’re important to GPOs, too. After all, GPOs want their members to be happy, and they know they’ll be blamed if their members have to deal with inferior products or erratic vendors.
GPOs make sure that doesn’t happen through the sourcing process. The quality and availability of products is one of the key measures for GPOs when determining which vendors to partner with, as is the vendor’s ability to deliver quickly and at scale.
Concern #4: “We Don’t Really Want to Make Changes”
Being reluctant to change is normal, but when the positives far outweigh the minor inconveniences, it’s an obstacle that must be overcome. In truth, joining a GPO doesn’t involve much change, and the adjustments that are required drive improvements and efficiencies.
Any good GPO will understand that the transition can cause concern, though. They’ll guide you through every step of the onboarding process to make sure that you and your staff are clear on how to make purchases and get the most out of your membership.
Concern #5: “We’ll Lose Transparency and Access to Data for Reporting”
A lack of transparency is a common concern about GPOs, and one we debunked in this article. Due to strict regulations around their industry, GPOs are overly transparent about their business models and their contracts. At CNECT, for example, we produce executive summaries for each contract category, which provides members with comprehensive information on the sourcing process and the suppliers’ offerings.
When it comes to data, your GPO is likely collecting information and analytics relevant to your organization and its procurement. At your request, your GPO will provide this data to you. They may also use this data to provide various reports to you. For example, we give our members access to crucial information, such as price comparisons, utilization quotes, and vendor list analyses.
Concern #6: “We’ll Lose the Personal Touch with Suppliers”
Personal relationships with suppliers are important. If the suppliers you currently work with are on contract with the GPO you choose, you will be able to maintain those relationships! Your GPO membership won’t change how you order from them; it will just give you access to contract pricing.
If your GPO doesn’t have a contract with one of your current suppliers, they'll work with you to find an alternative vendor and help you foster a new relationship that includes making use of the discounts your GPO membership provides.
Concern #7: “We Won’t Be Able to Access Support After the Initial Transition”
If a GPO fails to provide ongoing support to its members, you’ll be sure to find reviews about it! Any worthwhile GPO will make sure assistance is available to its members not just during the transition, but throughout their time as a member. It is in the GPO’s best interests to have happy, engaged members who purchase through their contracts, so you can rest assured that they will welcome the opportunity to support you.
One challenge that some GPOs face, however, is having the capacity to support their members, as they operate with limited staff. For CNECT members, that isn’t a problem, as we have a large, active support team on hand to service our 9,300+ members.
Ready to Start Purchasing with a GPO?
Central to a stress-free experience is choosing the right group purchasing organization. There’s a lot to consider, so we’ve highlighted the five most important things to evaluate to help you make the right decision. Doing your due diligence will further ease your concerns.
At CNECT, we’ve partnered with thousands of organizations and helped ease many different concerns, including the seven featured here. We prioritize a smooth transition to working with a GPO and make purchasing through us as easy as possible, so members quickly and conveniently experience the benefits of joining CNECT.
Don’t let reservations stop you from saving money, receiving operational support, and reducing the administrative burden on your staff — join CNECT and start purchasing with a reputable GPO.