Frequently Asked Questions

What is a group purchasing organization?

A group purchasing organization (GPO) negotiates contracts with vendors for discounted services and supplies and brings that savings to its members. The power of group purchasing results from combining the volumes of all members in order to drive down pricing while improving service for everyone. Distributors, suppliers and manufacturers have the advantage when dealing with each dental practice as a stand-alone business. An individual operation does not purchase a significant quantity to influence supplier pricing. But the group does!

By harnessing the combined purchasing power of dental professionals the United Dental Alliance (UDA) is able to negotiate agreements for materials directly with distributors, suppliers and manufacturers.

What services does United Dental Alliance provide?

We establish purchasing agreements for Members to buy the same patient oriented supplies you are buying today – but at a lower cost. This will help improve the bottom line for each participating Member without compromising quality or availability.

United Dental Alliance conducts direct negotiations with suppliers and manufacturers, implements formal contract agreements, facilitates capital equipment purchases, and provides continuous reviews of spend patterns to determine emerging opportunities for cost savings/expense reduction.

Will this change the way supplies are ordered and received?

Nothing will change. Since we are a contracting agent and not a vendor, your purchasing procedures will remain the same. You can expect to continue to order your products as you always have (via phone, fax, through a representative or online) and receive them via the same methods with which you are accustomed.

We hold no inventory. We let vendors and distributors do the work they are best trained to do through the channels with which you are familiar. The relationships that currently exist between members and suppliers/distributors will continue. The only thing that will change will be that members will receive greater value for materials & services purchased by being a part of a larger group.

There is no obligation to purchase under any agreement established by United Dental Alliance. Each member retains his or her full right of choice in purchasing materials. They decide what they want to purchase, from whom, at what quantity, and at what time.

What benefits can I expect to see?

Lower Prices: We are able to affect significant reductions in the prices of the materials, equipment, and services that are being received today. In addition, United Dental Alliance agreements will strive to “lock” prices in for the duration of the contract term while establishing measurable standards for service quality.

Automatic Price Changes: Already buying from one of our contracted vendors? Great. Once you become a UDA Member you are automatically eligible for the reduced pricing.

Equivalent/Higher Quality: With input from the UDA Advisory Board, a balance will be developed between cost and quality. Past experience suggests that quality will be held equivalent and in many cases improved.

Savings Analysis: Our staff will be able to run price comparisons for anyone interested in reviewing potential savings. What will be needed is the history of past purchases either in the form of hardcopy invoices or, more preferable, an electronic record of purchases as maintained by distributors. We will identify price differences of both like-to-like products and those of a similar quality and provide a report to the requesting party.

Product Education: We can schedule Lunch ‘n Learns or develop CE courses for you and your staff through contacts developed during our negotiations. If you want to be contacted from one vendor on one product, we can arrange that also.

What are the benefits to suppliers and distributors?

There are numerous benefits to suppliers that create an environment of participation. Some of the advantages are listed below.

– Opportunity for increased market penetration
– Reduction of administrative and sales costs
– Equitable and fair contract award process
– Contract management support
– Better sales forecasting/production planning
– Opportunity to provide better education of new products
– Opportunity to communicate with high-level customer contacts

The above benefits create significant value for suppliers/manufacturers and allow them to plan future production. Direct pipeline identification is created to the final user and this allows suppliers to better control their costs.