How can you streamline procurement? Can procurement even be effectively automated? These are questions everyone from CPOs to category specialists struggle with. Especially since you have to do more with fewer resources every day. And while there are dozens of technology solutions on the market that promise to save you time and money, they all come with hefty price tags. 

But what if there was a non-machine solution that was no-cost? That was what we explored in our recent webinar with Art of Procurement. Titled "Automate Procurement Without Spending a Dime: Harness the Power of Group Purchasing."

We discussed how procurement leaders can partner with a GPO to increase their buying power and free up their scarce resources. Including which categories should be "automated" via GPO management. As well as how GPOs provide extra supplier accountability, and how GPOs ensure contracts are competitive.

Below are some webinar key takeaways. To hear the whole thing for yourself, stay tuned for the podcast recap that Art of Procurement will publish in a couple of weeks, along with a Q&A download.

The Role of the GPO: Audience Feedback

The Role of the GPO in the Future of Procurement Webinar Recap_Social

The great thing about the Art of Procurement (AOP) webinars is that they're engagement focused. Let's be honest, most of us sign up for a webinar not because we plan on dialing in, but because we want the recording. Which 90% of the time you forget to listen to anyway. 

Luckily, AOP does things a bit differently. On their webinars, there are no scripted slides. In their place, fireside chat style conversations between the host Philip Ideson and his guest of the day. Meanwhile, the audience submits live questions on the online chat and Twitter. 

This unique approach made the experience much more exciting for us. UNA CEO & President Anthony Clervi thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed as well as the lively audience feedback. The Twitter conversation on #AopLive was great, sometimes thoughtful, and sometimes downright hilarious. 

For example, check out the responses to this tweet

Automate Procurement Without Spending a Dime_Need More Sleep

We loved the more serious replies as well.

Automate Procurement Without Spending a Dime_Success as Time Savings

Plus this great recap from Helen Mackenzie. 

The Role of the GPO in the Future of Procurement_Webinar Recap_get buy-in-tweet

A huge thank you to everyone who sent questions, tweeted, and responded. These procurement conversations are meaningful because of you. 


GPOs and the Future of Procurement: Key Takeaways 

Automate Procurement Without Spending a Dime_ebinar Recap_Key Takeaways

Let's get into the nitty-gritty. Here are some of the crucial nuggets and lessons from the webinar. 

What is a GPO? How Do They Work? 

  • A Group Purchasing Organization leverages the collective buying power of its members to obtain deep discounts from suppliers

  • It works kind of like Costco - without the membership fee, since you buy as part of a large group, you get “bulk” discounts

  • Learn more about how GPOs work

How GPOs Help Businesses

  • Increases buying power

  • Provides better contracts and discounts

  • “Automates” simpler categories like MRO or travel, by providing pre-negotiated agreements and contract monitoring 

  • Is an easy way to get good agreements quickly – no RFP or RFQ needed 

Need to Know

  • GPOs should never take away supplier control 

  • Rather they provide another layer of supplier accountability

  • When considering working with a GPO, start with a couple of categories, find out what the relationship is like

  • Sweet spot categories for a GPO: indirect spend needs such as office supplies, JanSan & MRO, travel, etc.

  • Working with a GPO helps keep rates stable and minimizes inflation

Each GPO has a unique model. We recommend partnering with one that is free and provides on-demand agreements.

GPOs and the Future of Procurement: Action Items

Automate Procurement Without Spending a Dime [Webinar Recap]_Action Items

So bearing all this in mind, what's next for you and your team? We suggest asking your stakeholders the following questions. 

Assess & Benchmark 

  • What is working? Why is it working? What about what’s not working?

  • Have we identified our critical KPIs?

  • Is our data management giving us the insights we need?

  • What have we done in the past with suppliers that’s worked? What hasn't?

  • Which categories do we want help with?

Define Success 

  • What is the goal of our next partnership?

  • Are we looking for category savings? Time-savings? Streamlining and consolidating? Gaining better data and insights? Being freed up to focus on the most complex categories?

  • Can we achieve these goals on our own?

  • Are we getting all the category expertise we need?

For every procurement leader, there comes a time when you have to "sell" a new idea, solution, or process. But the reception is all about the pitch. Something Anthony as both an entrepreneur and a salesman knows all too well. Here are his tips for ensuring your voice is indeed heard. 

How to Get Better Stakeholder Buy-In

  • Ask yourself, do you understand what the decision maker is really looking for?

  • Make sure you’re ready to answer the tough questions

  • Think about the story your procurement department is telling — is it boring? Or innovative?

  • Take initiative, be real, invite stakeholders to lunch and get to know them 

Is your team spending too much time managing categories that don't move the needle? Is that the best use of your time? 
It not, try “automating” by partnering with a free GPO.

Learn more about how UNA can help your business, or request a free savings consultation here 

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