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FAQ's


How do group purchasing programs save money?
In three ways; first (and most important) we negotiate deep price discounts with our vendors, based on the combined purchasing power of the CommonWealth members. Second, our vendors will do an analysis of your purchasing and recommend lower-cost alternatives wherever possible. These are usually generic or house brands that are functionally equivalent to the name brand products you may be using now. Third, the vendors will work with you to assure proper inventory management, to make sure you always have the goods you need but don't over-stock, tying up capital and creating storage problems.

What amount of savings can I expect from the CommonWealth program?
Of course this depends on the specific circumstances, and will vary among health centers. But in general, if you are not currently part of a group purchasing program you can expect total savings of 18 to 20 percent. Most of this will be immediate savings, and some will come as you identify lower-cost alternatives and improve inventory management.

How will these savings affect my bottom line?
A typical human service provider or similar nonprofit organization spends 9 to 10 percent of the total budget on supplies, so a savings of 18 to 20 percent of supplies costs will yield a 1.5 to 2 percent savings on the overall budget. CommonWealth Purchasing Group is a powerful tool to help you improve your financial performance. What about service? We're generally satisfied with our current suppliers. Great service is just as important as low prices. And of course most health centers are satisfied with their current suppliers; if they weren't they would switch. But with CommonWealth you don't have to sacrifice service in order to get low prices. Our program can often improve the level of service you receive. CPG staff members can be reached anytime and act as an additional division of customer service if any issue arises with one of our vendors – no matter how large or how small of an issue there is! CPG has the ability to escalate any unresolved issues to different parts of our contracted vendor’s management to ensure that any of our member’s issues are immediately addressed. Though CPG is available to assist with issues, we are confident you will not need it. Our vendors have worked hard to get your business, and they want to keep it! Our vendors have top quality national distribution and service networks to provide prompt and efficient services to every member.

It's often difficult to change vendors. How can CommonWealth help us with that?
It can be difficult to change vendors, but when you change to a group purchasing program like CommonWealth the benefits will always far outweigh the costs. With our years of experience, CommonWealth and our vendors are very qualified in helping health centers to make these changes. Vendor representatives will meet with you and your staff to discuss all aspects of the business and operational relationship, including ordering, delivery schedules, the availability of samples, return policies, and answer all questions.

How do I know that your contracts will save me money?
CommonWealth Purchasing Group will complete a product cost comparison analysis for you at no charge.We will need copies of one month’s worth of invoices or more for your office supplies, medical supplies and dental supplies from your current vendors so that we have a broad enough sample that reflects a good cross section of your most frequently ordered items. We want to demonstrate what savings opportunities and value are available to you as a member of CommonWealth Purchasing Group and the analysis is the best way for us to accomplish that.

How do the products that your vendors offer compare to my current products?
In most instances the products from our vendors will be from the same manufacturer that you currently use. Samples will be supplied for evaluation when the manufacturer is different than the manufacturer of your current product so that the provider can evaluate the ease of use and quality of the product.

How many contracts do I need to use to become a member of CPG?
Contract usage is voluntary and using one contract is all that is necessary with the opportunity for CPG to review other vendor contracts in the future. Of course the purpose of using a GPO is to gain better use of your time by not having to request a quote for the most commonly used items. The more vendor contracts that we can identify that save you money will also save you time for your managerial duties and other mission driven initiatives. The more CPG vendors you use, the more money you’ll save.

What are my volume commitments to a vendor to use their contract?
There are no volume commitments.

What makes you different than other GPO’s?
CPG contracts directly with each vendor for products that are most commonly used by community health centers and does not use contracts developed by another GPO that focuses on a wide scope of health care providers. This means that CPG keeps the focus on the products and services that are most commonly used by a community health center and can better control the content of our vendor contracts that reflect what our members demand. Our vendors work with each member to drive down the hidden costs such as establishing re-order levels and product standardization that keep product from going obsolete and helps maintain an optimum number of product manufacturers which promotes healthier cash flow .

If you have more questions, call CPG at 617-426-2767.
Saves Millions CommonWealth Purchasing Group
40 Court Street, 10th Floor,
Boston, MA 02108
tel. 617-426-2767
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Copyright 2015