FAQs - OMNIA Partners and Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs)

When having to operate as a lean organization that requires individual roles to facilitate many functions, those tasked with procurement and purchasing responsibilities don't have time to waste when optimizing spend management. Luckily, we're here to help. To clear up any initial questions, OMNIA Partners has compiled the most common and frequently asked questions about GPOs / buying groups and answered them in one convenient spot.

Do you have a GPO question that didn't make the list below?

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Q: What does GPO mean and how does a GPO add value?

A: Group purchasing organizations (GPOs) streamline your procurement process and increase your buying power. How is this done? The GPO combines the spend of businesses from diverse industries to achieve better pricing, service levels and account representation from suppliers, while saving time and freeing up internal procurement resources..  

Group purchasing enables members to discover new innovations and ideas that'll help your business success and remain competitive in the constantly evolving marketplace. With speed and confidence, this is an opportunity to save money in multiple points of the supply chain. 

GPOs also help you achieve speed to savings by bypassing the lengthy RFP process and providing pre-negotiated contracts at the best value. 

Q: What is group purchasing and how does a group purchasing organization work?

A: Group Purchasing Organizations create and manage contracts for indirect services and goods, and direct materials and commodities that are mutually beneficial to both the GPO suppliers and members. 

To do this, GPOs first create a membership base that's comprised of companies looking to channel their spend using the same agreements. The combined spend of these member companies creates leverage, which continues to attract more supplier partners and motivates them to offer their best pricing and service levels to the members. 

As spend increases, a GPO can continue to strategically source more agreements with suppliers that have the ability to provide better pricing and terms than members could achieve on their own.  

Ultimately, members rely on GPOs to help solve their procurement and sourcing concerns and suppliers rely on GPOs to build strong buyer relationships with a diverse portfolio of companies. 

GPO membership allows both parties to save time, money, resources and simplify the buying process so they can concentrate on the projects that are most important to their respective companies and bottom lines. 

Q: What makes OMNIA Partners such a great resource for procurement?

A: By selecting OMNIA Partners, Multifamily Housing as your GPO, your purchasing power is now increased by the overall spend from all other industries serviced by OMNIA Partners, including public, private and nonprofit sectors. Specifically, this gives you, and your entire property portfolio, access to leverage better pricing, service levels, and account representation from industry-leading suppliers. You’ll also get back time in your day and freed-up resources by allowing our team to monitor the market, assess supplier offerings, and negotiate supplier partnership specifics on your behalf.    

What We Offer Our Members 

POWER: Leverage the collective buying power of our network based on the billions spent in purchases annually, not only from our multifamily housing members, but from the complete membership of our public, private, and nonprofit sectors 

ACCESS: Select your supplier partners from our 100+ (and growing!) negotiated programs covering products and services in high demand for your properties 

TRUST: Lean on us to be your advocate dedicated to supporting your procurement efforts, reducing costs, and navigating the massive supply chain risks you’re facing today 

Q: Why do suppliers want to partner with a GPO like OMNIA Partners?

A: Suppliers benefit from the GPO by obtaining an expanded market share, increased access to industry insights and data, and better buyer relationships. Additionally, we extend our suppliers’ sales operations and provide a collaborative environment that they rely on.  

Each OMNIA Partners supplier acquires both an advocate who can introduce them to the decision-makers at the right organizations and a partner who serves as an extension of their sales operations. Our immense group buying power translates into strategic importance for our supplier partners and accelerated market share expansion. We provide long-term solutions and industry expertise so our suppliers can capitalize on initiatives that are truly strategic to achieve accelerated, profitable growth. 

Q: Do GPOs only cover standard “off-the-shelf” categories and products?

A: The OMNIA Partners portfolio does include these types of products, but we also cover many core spend categories as well, including direct and indirect materials, and value-added services. OMNIA Partners engages with members to identify and define new categories of need in challenging spend management areas while addressing individual objectives to align with collective goals. Member feedback is paramount in analyzing category foundation and importance including reviewing existing contracts, usage data, pricing and technical and operational requirements. Our research spans a multitude of industries, potential supplier partners and market characteristics such as share concentration, substitutes and conversion costs. Our portfolio of solutions continuously evolves to ensure an array of non-standard categories are always available to our members. 

Q: Does a GPO take the place of my company’s purchasing department?

A: A GPO like OMNIA Partners will become an extension of your procurement team, not a substitution. GPOs manage and strengthen relationships between members, suppliers and the GPO itself. As you work to manage your spend, OMNIA Partners enhances your process by working on spend, category and relationship management.  

Q: What if we can realize greater savings on our own for certain categories?

A: Members select which programs are right for their properties – no mandatory switching of suppliers, moving from one program to another, or minimum spend on contracts. Members also keep the buying process and supplier contracting procedures they have in place today – simply add the leverage and expertise of OMNIA Partners to your programs. OMNIA Partners is a resource that creates value for its members in numerous ways aside from savings.

Q: Does joining a GPO mean I can only purchase from suppliers in the group?

A: OMNIA Partners members always have complete autonomy to purchase from any supplier they choose. There is no obligation and no minimum. Members have the choice to opt-in or opt-out of each pre-negotiated supplier offering. This motivates suppliers to create attractive programs to provide additional value. Members can leverage category offerings and other resources based on their unique needs and where they find the most value can be driven. 

Q: My purchasing department is tasked with finding the best solutions for our organization all while saving money. How can a GPO help?

A: By joining OMNIA Partners, your company will be bypassing time-consuming RFP and sourcing procedures. We also help create change management timelines and implementation plans to improve performance and to help you achieve savings faster and maintain continuous program compliance.  

Your OMNIA Partners dedicated Regional Director will proactively reach out to ensure you are capitalizing on the right programs for your properties – whether it’s a new supplier to consider or they’re seeing some shifts in the marketplace and want to give you a heads up. 

Q: The multifamily housing business is unique - can a GPO still benefit us and our specific requirements?

A: OMNIA Partners understands the limitations presented when having to operate as a lean organization that requires individual roles to facilitate many functions. Add today’s volatile workforce with high employee turnover, and it is likely your procurement process is less than optimized.    

OMNIA Partners operates within a flexible framework that allows members to enjoy all the benefits of group leverage while retaining the ability to negotiate adjustments and incorporate options that address specific needs. Our members participate in structuring our supplier agreements so that we can create options best suited for their goals, no matter how unique those goals may be. 

Q: How can I implement a GPO strategy for my organization?

A: After filling out a short form, OMNIA Partners will help analyze your current spend to locate areas we can enhance your current procurement strategies. We'll then assist in any change management efforts followed by continuous supplier management and market checks. Joining is free, the process is simple, and we facilitate your direct relationships with supplier partners to get you going right away.

Q: What is a GPO Contract and what are the benefits of a GPO contract versus going out for bid/submitting an RFP?

A: GPO Contracts are pre-negotiated or pre-leveraged contracts with supplier partners that create cost savings for strategic spending. GPO contracts: 

  • Are vetted by similar organizations for a common goal 

  • Act as an extension of the organization to manage categories in the best interest of their members 

  • Allow for configuration to support unique requirements 

  • Have terms and conditions to stay within market pricing throughout the duration of the agreement 

Q: How is a GPO Funded?

A: Suppliers pay the GPO an administrative fee in exchange for their expanded market share, increased access to industry insights and data, and enhanced buyer relationships. This ensures that OMNIA Partners members do not have a membership fee, minimum order, or any spend obligation to join and benefit from the buying leverage.