Much like GPOs provide their members with programs to reduce costs and improve efficiency, buying groups work to provide distributors with tools to improve their success in healthcare. Strengthening partnerships is the ultimate goal — equipping distributors with what they need to help healthcare customers clean in a way that improves patient satisfaction and prevents infection.

“Success requires a combination of innovative products and processes,” says Ranger. “We want to help the customer recognize the positive impact effective cleaning can have on the things they care about.”

By inviting representatives from GPOs to its annual healthcare symposium, AFFLINK works to improve better relationships and partnerships with its members.

“When our members have the chance to hear directly from the GPOs and learn how to best work together, it’s not me interpreting their perspective,” says Carr. “When there’s better understanding, everyone wins — the manufacturer and distributor win, and the customer wins big.” 

When distributors fully invest their time into buying group resources, they are more successful. Carr says distributors who participate in their healthcare steering committee are not only the most engaged, they are the most successful. She’s seen distributors grow their business by more than 400 percent when they work with a buying group and utilize their healthcare resources.

In addition to increasing sales, buying groups also cite a reduction in HAIs as a key metric they look at when evaluating the success of their program.

“Due to the time and effort Triple S members have devoted to solving issues in healthcare, we’ve seen a decrease from 46 to 75 percent reduction in healthcare-acquired infections,” says Ranger. “This leads to a saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars and makes their facilities safer for patients, staff and visitors.”

Ultimately, success in healthcare requires an investment in both time and training. From identifying appropriate sales contacts within a healthcare organization, working through the terms and conditions of an agreement, communicating value-added services and helping identify solutions that meet the pain points within a healthcare system, navigating the labyrinth of healthcare system requires work. 

For those looking to forge better partnerships with healthcare customers, a buying group may have the tools distributors need to improve their success. SM

Andi Curry is a freelance writer based in Cincinnati. 


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