Earlier this week, the management team at Source One, a consultancy that has also dabbled in free sourcing and contract management tools, launched a new business that they're calling Master Negotiator. During and after the briefing, I got into a semantical debate with them about whether the model is in fact similar to traditional GPO businesses -- I'll leave that up to individual readers to decide -- but the general concept is that the site offers pre-negotiated prices from different suppliers in a range of categories. The company makes its money on fees paid by suppliers to either access customers or based on volume levels (similar to traditional group buying models or warehouse discount models like Sams / Costco). Focused on the small and medium-sized business market, Master Negotiator might be a way for companies to get quick savings in categories such as credit card processing/merchant services, telecom, freight and even manufactured products. Of course the savings will depend on the types of deals the organizations are already getting from their current providers. But given the ease with which you can quickly benchmark the deals on offer, why not give it a try? And if you do, drop a line or post a comment and let us know your thoughts.
- Jason Busch