If you’re researching group purchasing organizations, you’ve come to the right place. Our one-of-a-kind GPO comparison chart will help guide you in your search. As a group purchasing organization ourselves, we’ve found that many people want to know more about what a GPO is and how they work so before we get into the comparison, let’s begin with the definition of group purchasing.
What is a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO)?
A GPO is a membership-based organization that leverages the volume of its members to obtain large-group discounts with suppliers. These discounts are normally reserved for enterprises and large corporations, but through membership with a group purchasing organization, small to midsize businesses can benefit from discounts they couldn’t obtain on their own. The GPO does the hard work of negotiating contracts with suppliers that will benefit their members.
What Kinds of Suppliers Partner with a GPO?
Suppliers of business goods and services span virtually every industry. A GPO typically seeks supplier partnerships for tools, technologies, products, and services. Discounts span everything from corporate travel to office supplies, fixtures and furnishings, computers and software, and even purchases as large as a corporate car or corporate housing.
There are 728 group purchasing organizations in the U.S. Many of them are vertical GPOs that only serve one industry, such as healthcare or hospitality. However, businesses from every industry can reap the benefits of group purchasing by finding a horizontal GPO that serves multiple industries, and there are plenty to choose from.
There’s a saying in this industry that if you’ve seen one GPO, you’ve seen one. Each organization has its strengths and many have unique product offerings beyond the benefits of group buying power. Many claim to be the leader, the largest, or the most experienced. We wanted to take a closer look at the data behind some of the popular GPOs to help businesses choose the GPO that aligns most with their needs.
Whether you’re looking for the GPO with the most buying power or the one with the most experience, our GPO comparison chart will help guide you.
How to Choose a GPO
Una offers many resources to help businesses choose a group purchasing organization, starting with education surrounding what to look for in a GPO and resources like our printable Ultimate GPO Checklist to help you in your search. We’ve found the differentiators to be much more than numbers and volume. A GPO should be a true partner to your organization, providing a relationship based upon trust, an understanding of your unique needs and expectations, excellent service, communication, transparency, and of course, huge savings from your preferred suppliers.
GPOs are naturally focused on growing their member bases to increase their buying power, but your business is so much more than a number in a collective. Look for additional benefits to show a focus on member satisfaction such as consulting, technology, resources, analytics, and education. You also deserve a dedicated account manager who will get to know you, serve as an advisor, and provide insights unique to your goals.
Another thing to look for is supplier diversity. Many GPOs feature the same suppliers. You’ll want to look for a competitive portfolio with unique suppliers. Your group purchasing organization should be continually sourcing new supplier relationships and better discounts with your needs in mind.
Lastly, a GPO should be equally focused on its business members and its supplier members, understanding that true alignment means all parties win.
The Una Difference
To conclude this guide, we want to introduce ourselves and share why we’re unique. The first thing you’ll notice about Una is our heart, as evidenced by our people, our values, and our community engagement. In an industry focused on numbers and contracts, it’s easy to get lost in the business of group purchasing. We’ve built a team of extraordinary people who have the experience and skill to excel in this business, coupled with the passion and purpose to delight our members and provide tremendous value. We believe our people are second to none - value-driven, member-focused, partner-focused, and committed to educating, advising, and enabling businesses to achieve tremendous savings.
Una’s Differentiating Products, Services, and Benefits:
- Dedicated account managers - The account management experience with Una is nothing short of white glove. At Una, you’ll receive a dedicated account representative and a customer experience manager, both focused on building a strong relationship with you and providing excellent service at a pace that keeps everything moving forward. Our strong supplier relationships have resulted in better experiences for our members, with access to an account manager and national account director at each of your preferred suppliers.
- Personalized consulting - If you don’t know where to begin, we’re happy to help. Our team will help you find any blind spots in your spend visibility. We’ll review how your spending is set up and help you figure out whether it’s ideal or can be improved. Our experience helps guide our decisions and enables us to pinpoint the areas you can save.
- Defining success - From day one, we are committed to determining what success looks like for you. We will make sure we’re on the same page and know what you need in order to move forward. Once success is clearly defined, we set timelines and next steps, with clear expectations for all parties.
- Education - We’ve found that there is often a gap in the understanding of what a GPO is and how we can save you money. Oftentimes, our first call with a member is explaining who we are, what we do, how we make money, and our strengths so you understand what you’re entering into as well as the concept.
- Technology - Una can work with you no matter what technology you’re using or the complexity. We work with all P2P tools, accounting platforms, analytics tools, and are even ready to help if you have no tools at all.
- Spend analytics and reporting - Una offers more than just a preliminary analysis and report. Our focus is on partnership, so we work closely with you to truly understand your spend categories, current suppliers, budget, and spend history. We will present a strategic plan and long-term strategy unique to your needs. Our reporting provides visibility that leads to saving time and money. Best of all, Una’s analytics and reporting are complimentary (no fees).
- Supplier relationship management - We are proud of the relationships we’ve built with our suppliers, and have been told that we’re one of the easiest GPOs to work with. As a result, our suppliers treat our members well, and we are able to accomplish our goals faster, more smoothly, and more efficiently.
- Unique contract offerings - We have over 2,000 contracts available to our members, and if we don’t have a contract for what you need, we likely have a network connection for it and will pursue that contract for you.
- Regular reviews - Una provides quarterly or yearly reviews to check in regarding your spend and determine whether there are additional savings or contracts we can help you with.
- Speed of service - From our commitment to prompt communication to our “keep it moving” mentality, our team delivers at a pace that sets us apart. We have also implemented tools and technology for our members to save them time. Tools such as Drift and Calendly speed up the process and remove bottlenecks so our members can reach us when they need us.
Now that you’ve learned about us, we’d like to learn about you! Please reach out so we can talk about your needs and find areas you can save. We would love to hear from you!
Disclaimer: Una independently researched each of the above GPOs and utilized data that was publicly available to compile this comparison chart.