Dental Group Purchasing 101

Group purchasing is used in many industries to purchase raw materials and supplies. It is currently a common practice in hospital acute care, grocery, health care, electronics and agricultural industries. Group purchasing, or even group selling such as what farmers have done with co-ops for their crops, must provide value to the business participants on both sides – buyers and sellers.

Group Purchasing Organizations create value by communicating with all parties in the supply chain to build that value. Through research of member needs and negotiations with potential business suppliers, a GPO can identify what is important to both groups – and this differs with each product category. The matching and resolution of needs creates a business solution that has value for everyone. Our goal is to establish win-wins. These form long lasting, enduring relationships.

The dentistry profession is one of the few medical fields that has not organized around group purchasing. There are several reasons for this. One is that the practice of dentistry is highly decentralized. Secondly, the average material spend per practitioner is lower than that of the average medical physician. These two factors result in a much higher cost of sales than other industries. A third reason is, because dental practices are highly decentralized, sellers have not been able to project nor expect high rates of purchase compliance, so predictability varies. It is the predictability of the group that has value to the selling community. If the Dental group agrees to support any particular agreement by purchasing under its terms, then the seller receives a benefit that is both demonstrable and measurable – in most cases this is increased sales volume for their product. Actual participation for members is completely voluntary but because participation benefits the entire group, members are encouraged to purchase through these companies.

The key principle of group purchasing is simple. Combine the purchasing power of many to leverage benefits that an individual alone cannot obtain. The United Dental Alliance (UDA) is a dental group purchasing organization (GPO) formed with the idea of giving a voice to the individual dental practitioner. UDA has been in business for 12 years, is the largest independent Dental GPO in the industry and has more than 4,000 members today. As UDA members accept the concept of the group and support business agreements, we can demonstrate to the community of sellers that we are organized and can act as a group. As momentum is built we will attract the involvement of major companies who today are approaching the dental community as individuals.

The United Dental Alliance is not owned or operated by any dental distributor or manufacturer. We represent you and pledge to operate in an open and transparent manner.

Managing material expense for your practice is a moving target. There are many different suppliers, each with different business models that can make the selection for a given expenditure difficult. Working collectively can simplify this complexity with agreements that are structured to cover a majority of the goods and services a dental practice may currently buy.

Group purchasing can help a dental practitioner control their expenses and, by having us to negotiate and manage purchasing agreements on your behalf, this allows you to concentrate on providing the best possible patient care.

Today we can lower the cost of patient supplies, disinfectants/consumables, equipment, office supplies, cellular phone service, shipping, payroll, furniture, promotional material and much more. Many of our discounts can be shared with employees of the practice also.

Come join the group! Together we can make a difference! Same Products, Better Prices!