Group Purchasing Organizations — Everything A Procurement Professional Should Know

Not all of us are familiar with the terms in procurement, especially those who are new in this field. But don’t worry, we are here to guide you in walking and unraveling in the world of procurement.

For this article, we will learn about group purchasing organizations. We are going to define and understand what it is for in procurement.

You will have the general idea which will allow you to be well-versed in procurement after finishing this article. So let’s start now!

What are Group Purchasing Organizations?

A group purchasing organization (GPO) is an organization that leverages on its collective power. It does this to acquire discounts on the goods and services they need to operate its business. This is used in many industries to purchase materials but it is common in grocery and health care industries.

Group purchasing organizations help their members to take advantage of discounts that they acquired through volume buying. It received discounts without buying more than what it needed. Most of the time, it exists to make money. Their profit comes from two sources which are participation fees and supplier-funded. 

A participation fee is directly charged to members for the access model. On the other hand, supplier-funded pays the GPO a periodic fee depending on the aggregate spending and their transactions. 

Notably, group purchasing organizations serve as an agent to its members. It provides an effective resolution and issues escalation through its supplier account teams

How Does a Group Purchasing Organization Work?

A group purchasing organization’s function is to accumulate the purchase of common goods or services across multiple buyers. This creates a purchasing power beyond what any company can have. Group purchasing organization acts as a third party to suppliers and buyers. 

Group purchasing organization’s ability to create greater value increases as its member grows. It does not always charge a fee for members to join. Some are free for members and derive their profit from their supplier partners. Most of the time, it drives value through the reduction of costs. However, some just simply offer a competitive purchase price. 

Editor's note:

Hi there! My name is Marijn Overvest, I'm the founder of Procurement Tactics.
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Types of Group Purchasing organization

1. Horizontal GPOs

These GPOs serve organizations that span all industries and markets. It also works with all kinds of businesses. Horizontal GPO offers assistance on goods and services, especially indirect spending. 

Horizontal GPOs purchase lots of the same goods or services to create their products and operate their businesses. 

2. Vertical GPOs

Vertical GPOs focus on a specific industry. It is created as a way for association groups to benefit their member companies. An example of this is those who serve the healthcare industry. Small to mid-sized healthcare businesses join together to reduce the costs of the materials.  

3. Master Buyer

Master buyer GPO works by granting the purchasing power of multinational corporations to its members. It has agreements with numerous suppliers that allows its members to use the agreements to purchase their materials. 

Benefits of Group Purchasing Organization

1. Access to high-quality products and services

A group purchasing organization members can gain access to quality materials or services that have been thoroughly assessed by it. Also, businesses can share their best practices and information due to collaborating with other members. 

A group purchasing organization brings together a group of professionals in different industries who have the same goals. This allows its members to share sourcing tips, and experiences in procurement. 

2. Makes it easier to recover from supply chain disruption

No one, not even the best supply chain risk management can eradicate the possibility of supply chain disruption. This is where group purchasing organization becomes beneficial. Being a member of GPO can gain you immediate access to information that you need to find another supplier.

Working with a GPO lessens the risk of disruption in the supply chain. Because it brings together a group of professionals whom you can quickly ask for materials or services. You can find a second supplier when your main supplier is incapable of meeting your demand due to an emergency. 

3. Reduce Costs

The GPO’s main focus is to get members the most products but cost less without compromising the quality. As GPOs leverage their collective power, they can acquire discounts from their suppliers. 

GPOs provide bulk purchasing power by creating a larger community and negotiating contracts for products and services. This allows the members of GPOs to cut their overall costs due to bulk buying. 

Group purchasing organization also monitors the market condition and looks out for scarce products. This allows its members to gain access to stable prices and protect them from price hikes. 

Examples of Group Purchasing Organization

1. Premier

Premier is focused on the healthcare industry. It has a long history of joining the department of health and human services. Premier strives to deliver more for health systems. It also aims to optimize the supply chain, integrate pharmacy, and maximize value-based care. 

2. Vizient

Vizient also deals with the healthcare industry. It helps its members improve and strengthen their market by aligning their cost, quality, and performance. It aims to improve the areas of healthcare such as pharmacy, supply chain, strategic growth, and operations and quality. 

3. Una

Una works with all businesses and industries. It strives to empower organizations through increased buying power, comprehensive savings solutions, and superior service for members. It partners with the best suppliers in the market to provide its members access to cost-efficient products and services. 

4. AMS

AMS is a supermarket buying group that is based in Amsterdam. It is a non-profit alliance that works alongside the top 9 European retailers. It has become trusted in the retail industry for its 25 years of experience in international sourcing. 

AMS aims to deliver the best price and quality to stay competitive in the industry. It allows its retailers to offer its shoppers a great value for their money

Frequently asked questions

What is a group purchasing organization?

A group purchasing organization partners with members to have collective power.

How does it help businesses?

It helps businesses through bulk buying that allows them to save more. 

Are memberships free?

This depends on the group purchasing organization that you want to join. Some group purchasing organizations offer free memberships. 

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