Some providers in the procurement services market can be very complex and difficult to understand – and then there are group purchasing organizations (GPOs) like Corporate United. Buying consortia have been around for hundreds of years (think agricultural co-operatives), and the core value proposition remains unchanged: there is buying power in numbers.
Corporate United has over 200 member companies (typically mid-to-large size enterprises like manufacturers) who use over 30 pre-negotiated contracts with providers in major indirect spend categories such as office supplies, contingent labor, MRO, pharmacy benefits, and many others (the complete list of categories and suppliers can be found here). Corporate United makes money through a built-in rebate from the suppliers who offer up the agreements to the community members. The members still contract with the suppliers directly, using the GPO frame agreements as the core, but individual members will always have nuanced requirements that can be supported in the individual contract.
In full disclosure, Corporate United even offers up premium procurement content from Spend Matters in the form of a discounted Spend Matters PRO subscription. Spend Matters has no bias towards Corporate United over other providers in the market and we have covered this market in depth in our premium coverage here.
Corporate United works with buying member organizations to analyze their spend, assess potential benefits with the agreements, implement the appropriate agreements, and then monitor the contracts and supplier relationships to ensure that both parties are receiving value. Corporate United spends a lot of time building community with the buying member organizations and the suppliers at events such as its annual Synergy conference and other smaller forums. Based on our discussions with many members, the firm also seems to work hard at providing category management services that a procurement BPO might provide to drive value out of the category rather than merely trying to drive volume and the associated rebate.