Optical Supplies Purchasing Alliance FAQs

Common questions to ask before joining an optical purchasing alliancePurchasing Alliances and other value-based optometric networks dominate the eyewear industry. With estimates that over 90% of private practice OD’s take part in such buying groups, why go it alone? 
 
Yet, each purchasing alliance offers unique products and services to their members so it is important to research and compare companies before signing on as a buying group member. As part of your optometric network research we’d advise you to review our most common optical supplies and purchasing alliance frequently asked questions.

What is a Group Purchasing Organization Program (Buying Group)?

A GPO (Group Purchasing Organization) is designed to help aggregate member pricing and lower operating costs. Strategic vendor contract sourcing and collective bargaining, reduces the total supply and service acquisition costs through a combination of lower prices, reduced carrying costs, and payment term discounts.

What are the key benefits of joining The Alliance Buying Group?

When you become a member of The Alliance Buying Group you become part of a trusted industry collective with over 2,300 members. Our purchasing alliance provides numerous value-add support services alongside the traditional buying group product discounts. From helping our members with practice development strategies, IT, auditing, credentialing, billing and compliance support, marketing and adherence to other industry best practices, it is our goal to help you take your business to the next level. 

Are the Alliance Group Purchasing Programs successful in reducing cost?

The answer to this question depends heavily on the size of your practice along with your annual spend on optical supplies and services. However, for over 15 years The Alliance has been successful in reducing supplies cost for thousands of eyecare and physician practices. By leveraging our group buying power our programs continue to provide more competitive and aggressive pricing for Alliance members.

As a general rule, we believe that we can help OD’s spending over $500,000 save at least $20,000 in annual product costs ranging from frames and lenses to office supplies and other business expenditures. Outside of product and service discounts, which are easy to compare year over year, it is a bit more difficult to quantify the cost savings associated with streamlining processes, best-practice adoption, education or other growth-focused measures. However, in time, we promise that these big-picture efforts will you remain competitive with larger industry players and reduce the costs of running your business in the short and long term. 

How do I order supplies and how I am billed for supplies?

All products are ordered through your select vendors and distributors. Your relationships with your vendor representatives remain in place. All products will then be shipped directly to your practice with packing slips and all invoices will be sent to The Alliance for processing. The Alliance will compile one consolidated statement for all your purchases with all your vendors. With a few vendors you may receive a direct bill vendor but your Alliance contract pricing will be applied to these purchases.  

Are there costs to participate in the program or purchase requirements?

The Alliance DOES NOT charge a fee to participate in our program. We encourage you to utilize your Alliance account on a monthly basis but realize your product needs may fluctuate, therefore, we ask that you maintain an annual purchase minimum.

At The Alliance Buying Group our product discounts are offered to members at no charge, regardless of the size of your practice. Nor do we charge administrative or membership fees. Instead, our extensive array of business development programs and support services are provided ala carte for an hourly consulting fee to members interested in those services. Other services, such as networking, are offered at no additional cost to members, whereas education and CE courses are offered at discounted rates to members.

How can I really determine if the Alliance is going to save me money?

We have negotiated the best pricing possible with our supplies and support services. We also invite you to compare our discounts and pricing to your current vendors or buying groups to ensure we are providing the lowest pricing possible.   Your savings will be maximized by utilizing as many Alliance contracts with our vendors, distributors and affiliates as possible.

Can the Alliance help with discounts with equipment?

The Alliance has contracts and resources to help with equipment purchases for capital medical and dispensary equipment, computers, printers, fax machines and copiers. If we do not have a resource or contract, we will be happy to pursue your needs and negotiate on your behalf.  

What is the process for applying for an account?

We realize that your time is valuable and limited due to your clinical responsibilities.   We have streamlined our paperwork to help expedite a quick process on setting up your account.  We handle the transfer of all your vendor accounts without interruption to your ordering processes. We also help establish any new vendor relationship for your account and get you contacted to The Alliance pricing and contracts.  

What are the different types of contracts offered by The Alliance Buying Group?

Our optical supplies and purchasing alliance members are required to sign an open-ended contract which can be terminated at any time. With this flexible, no-cost membership arrangement we simply ask that our members commit to paying for products and services in an agreed upon time frame. We don’t believe that a fixed contract length or minimum monthly spend is in the best interest of any business relationship. And, with the financial freedom to control your monthly expenditures you can use your cash-flow for business building measures instead of simply stockpiling inventory.

What vendors does The Alliance Buying Group work with?

We work with an extensive list of the optical industry’s largest, highest rated and most diverse vendors. With 250+ vendors to choose from, we can help you save money on everything from prescription frames and lenses to sunglasses, optical supplies, eyewear accessories, lab services, exam equipment and even office supplies. Chances are that you’re already working directly with a number of individual vendors from our portfolio of partners so why not pool your resources and know-how with other industry experts in support of discounted product pricing, contract negotiations and lab services?

How long does it take to start realizing The Alliance Buying Group’s member benefits?

The purchasing power benefits don’t take long to kick in when you join a like-minded and goal-driven professional organization. In fact, you’re likely to see proof of your optical supplies savings on your first Alliance Buying Group invoice! While you won’t see a specific line item quantifying savings for other services, such as streamlined medical reimbursement, over time you should begin to see an uptick in your practice’s financials, a decrease in operating costs and a weight off our admin teams’ shoulders. 

What do I need to give up to join The Alliance Buying Group?

There are no compromises to make when you join The Alliance Buying Group, only benefits! For example, if you are already enjoying a great discount through a direct vendor partnership, we’d never ask you to give that up! Your membership with our purchasing alliance and optometric network will provide you with outstanding benefits if you’re committed to networking and playing an active role in our community. The true benefits of your membership extend far beyond product discounts!

Who are The Alliance Buying Group’s typical members?

The Alliance Buying Group currently has over 2,350 individual members representing 2,050 unique practices. This group of members includes mainly private practice ODs, primary care practices and independent eye care professionals of all sizes and kinds.