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Group purchasing organizations make sense during a crisis

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Group purchasing organizations make sense during a crisis

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UPG here to help

To say the least, 2020 has been trying thus far. The effects of the novel coronavirus have changed our lives in countless ways. The last few months have: tested the limits of our patience on a personal level—kids, school, technology, work and health colliding in chaos; shattered our sense of well-being and safety—routine errands like grocery shopping now require risk-assessment and personal protective equipment; and challenged our basic ideas about work and the workplace—businesses closing, employees working from home, new health and safety concerns—all requiring compliance with and  understanding of new and complicated government programs. With all of these changes and challenges, most businesses face an uncertain economic future.

But Americans are creative and resilient, and we have quickly adapted to new ways of assuring that life—and business—goes on. Especially in business, innovation, flexibility and new technologies create opportunity and success.

One opportunity for protecting your business during this challenging time is by joining a group purchasing organization (GPO). GPOs are membership groups for businesses that provide negotiated discounts on critical business services and products. By leveraging the buying power of its members, GPOs help businesses access volume purchasing discounts for which they might not otherwise qualify. Unified Purchasing Group (UPG), a longtime supporter of LBM Journal and the LBM Strategies Conference is a GPO that provides this purchasing power to building material manufacturers, dealers and suppliers. Typically, GPOs charge membership fee, but UPG does not. If you own any size business, you can join UPG and then enroll in any of its vendor partner programs to save on important products and services.

UPG logo branded contentWith discounts on Verizon wireless phone and data service, office supplies, uniforms and facility services, payroll and HR services and other key business products and services, UPG lets you save money on the basics and focus on the big stuff. For example, with UPG’s Verizon discount, an eligible company with 100 corporate lines of phone/data service that is paying $150 per month per line, can save up to $3,300 per month or nearly $40,000 per year. Whether you are powering a fleet of iPads, rugged PTT phones for your onsite crews or basic data for the office, the savings is significant.

Another UPG vendor partner, ADP, not only provides a discount, but important and timely resources for business owners and managers. Right now, ADP is keeping UPG members up to date on policies and protocols related to the pandemic, including the Paycheck Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) of 2020. The PPPFA was signed into law on June 5 of this year as a modification to the original Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Although the PPPFA is a business-saving program, it can be hard to navigate. ADP had the expertise to assist you with interpreting the requirements and deciphering the application process. They can consult on certain aspects of the program or manage the entire process for you. According to a recently posted article on their website (www.adp.com), the PPPFA includes provisions that expand the time periods to spend PPP loans and provides increased flexibility to spend PPP funds on expenses other than payroll costs. Some of the key provisions include:

The PPPFA also includes other provisions that expand the time periods to spend PPP loans and provides increased flexibility to spend PPP funds on expenses other than payroll costs. Some of the other key provisions include:

• Reduction of the percentage of loan proceeds that must be spent on payroll costs from 75% to 60%;
• Extension of the “covered period” for use of funds from eight weeks to 24 weeks (or 12/31/2020, if earlier);
• Extension of the period of time for employers to reverse decreases in employment and/or wage levels that occurred between February 15 and April 26, 2020 from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020;
• Lengthening the period of loan maturity from two years to five years; and
• Permission for borrowers to defer payment until loan forgiveness is determined, instead of six months after loan disbursement.

You can see a more thorough discussion of all of the changes to the PPP made by the PPPFA, by reading ADP’s Eye on Washington article. Assisting with implementation of governmental pandemic response programs is just one of the many ways ADP can help. ADP specializes in payroll, human resources, workers’ compensation, time and attendance, benefits and insurance and talent acquisition. These are all services you may want to explore as you return to business-as-usual.

There are many more examples of how UPG vendor partners can save your business money. From office supplies to a discount marketplace portal for your employees, UPG gives you a wide range of discounted brand name products and services to choose from. And, not just UPG. Many other GPOs can help you with supplemental insurance, healthcare benefits and other industry-specific needs. There are many to choose from and they all strive to save your business money.

As you look to the future—whatever it may hold—joining a GPO is an idea worth considering. By protecting your bottom line and tapping into valuable resources, you and your business will be ready for anything.