What is a group purchasing organization?

A group purchasing organization (GPO) negotiates contracts with vendors or companies for discounted services and supplies for access by 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 – SAME PRODUCTS BUT BETTER PRICES. 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 except the price. 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, preferably, 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.

Ongoing Education: UDA can often develop educational information from vendor partners that can improve your product utilization. This information will be provided in several forms. Periodic electronic newsletters, postings on our website, videos or scheduled online broadcasts by vendors.

Do I have to change all of the products I use to save? Can I still order from companies I like, too?

What you purchase and from who is always your choice. However, our vendors offer superior pricing so they should be the superior choice, but that decision is yours. Once you join UDA, you are identified as a UDA member and our exclusive pricing is unlocked.

What if I’m already in a company buying group

No problem for us. UDA has many agreements other buying groups do not have so incremental savings can be found with us. There are so many other places to save, such as study groups, and the combined savings for you can be really significant. We want you to be successful as a business owner.

Do I have to spend hours cross-referencing everything and researching to find the savings?

We have representatives from the companies on the list who can help cross-reference your current spend and help you make that determination.

If we already buy from a company on the list, will we get the UDA discount?

Yes, all you must do is tell them that you have joined UDA the next time you place a new order and you will begin receiving our negotiated pricing. Sometimes a new account may have to be established to tie to our pricing and you may have to change your internal procedures. Discounts are provided at point of activation and retroactive pricing adjustments are not made.

What if I already have a strong inventory person who is getting good prices for me?

Many offices do! We love them. However, our supplier group is comprehensive, and we offer discounts that are generally not given unless you are with a large group organization like UDA. It is difficult to beat a price obtained by a group with many thousands of members.

How much can I expect to save in a year?

Being a member of UDA is like being a member of a gym – the more you use it the better the results you will get. The average reported savings for a typical single doctor practice in the first year is $2,000 to $8,000. And this does not include the savings employees can receive.

Is there any training once you sign up?

After joining, we send you a Getting Started Guide and offer a 30-minute coaching call for the doctor and ordering staff.

What does it cost to become a member of UDA?

UDA is a GPO organized to service its Members. A paid membership is required to access our benefits. We do charge an annual fee of $499 to become a member but there is no contract. If a member becomes fully engaged with UDA, they can save many times the cost of the membership fee plus participate in future vendor agreements that are in development.

If you are not satisfied with what UDA has to offer, UDA will refund your membership payment.

Our goal is to construct benefits that keep members satisfied and engaged.

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.