Qualities to Look for in an Optical Supplies Purchasing Alliance

Learn about the different services and qualities of various optical buying groups & alliancesOptical buying groups and purchasing networks offer many benefits for their members. However, when selecting a purchasing alliance it is important to make your decision based on the specific needs of your business. Don’t assume that all groups are alike or make your decision solely based on what you’ve heard from peers or read online. Make sure to ask yourself if a particular buying groups’ services, discounts and opportunities will truly benefit your business before you join.
While it can be difficult to compare one group to the next, here are some of the top benefits that The Alliance Buying Group offers to members. We believe that you should demand these services and qualities from any buying group, no matter if you’re a private practice OD, multi-location optical clinic or anything in between.  

Cost Savings and Discounts on Optical Supplies, Services & Equipment

Reducing costs on frames, contacts lenses, lab services and instruments is a key feature of many buying groups and can help you afford more expensive equipment or keep more inventory on hand. In addition to cost reductions, time is often saved by working through an optical buying group because there are fewer brand reps to communicate with. When you’re shopping around for a buying group to partner with, make sure to look at average savings and compare these savings across groups. Some groups, including The Alliance Buying Group, can even conduct an audit of your previous year purchases to outline specific cost savings. 

An Extensive List of Optical Vendors and Industry Partnerships

Optical vendors and eyewear groups love to partner with purchasing alliances because it requires less coordination and communication with individual opticians and clinics. Luckily, this translates to a wider selection of products and vendors to do business with. As you vet potential buying groups, look closely at the list of vendors they work with as you’ll want to make sure that you can continue to stock your customers’ favorite brands.

Practice Management Tools & Optical Support Services

If you choose to embrace them, practice management tools can really help to improve the operations of your business. In many optical buying groups, practice management tools help put members in touch to share best practices and to network with each other. This level of support can also include marketing tools, branding assistance and staff management. Each buying group is likely to differ in the specific practice management services, so if possible, you may wish to get in touch with a current member to inquire about their perceived value of available practice management tools and services.  

Optical Professional Education & Training

Typically, optical purchasing alliances also offer education and training opportunities to assist members with professional development. These types of services can help members stay on top of required CE credits or credentialing and often include discounted pricing or convenient online participation. Opticians and optical support staff are usually required to take such continuing education so any discounts or free courses can help to cut down on out-of-pocket expenses in this area. 

Optician & Optical Clinic Growth Services

Many purchasing alliances, including The Alliance Buying Group, also provide individualized strategic consulting for their members at a discounted rate. Such audits of an individual practice’s purchasing habits, record keeping and other operations can be thoroughly reviewed and decomposed to look for duplication of efforts along with opportunities to increase efficiency or simplify processes. Other efforts focused on increasing practice profitability may include assistance with short term goal planning or the execution of new services or programs.

These qualities and services are important considerations to think about when comparing optical buying groups. Of course, however, the most important consideration is whether or not the membership will work in the best interest of your organization or clinic.