CLEVELAND — May 18, 2010 — Corporate United, the nation’s largest group purchasing organization (GPO), has been chosen by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine as an “Executive 100” supply chain thought leader for the fourth year. Supply & Demand Chain Executive selected Corporate United for the award for its role in preparing its member companies for post-recessionary growth.
The above paragraph is an excerpt from a company press release announcing that the Cleveland-based Group Purchasing Organization “GPO” has received the Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine’s designation as an “Executive 100 supply chain thought leader for the fourth year.”
Certainly industry accolades such as these are indeed noteworthy and, something in which the Corporate United organization can take a great deal of pride.
However, such an acknowledgment while nice is tantamount to saying that Wayne Gretzky was a great hockey player or that Jimmy Stewart was a great actor. We know this, as does anyone and likely everyone else in the industry knows it. A kind of placing a bet on the winning horse after the race has been run.
The real story with Corporate United extends well beyond being “honored as a thought leader for supply chain excellence and its role in preparing the supply chain for the post-recessionary growth” in the here and now. The real success of Corporate United, and what makes the organization unique goes back to when GPOs were first introduced in the health care industry in 1910, and how the company has redefined the Group Purchasing organization and industry.
In short, it is the foundational principles upon which the company has been built that has uniquely equipped or perhaps empowered Corporate United with the ability to adapt and impact the market on a consistently expanding basis.
This is no small feet within an industry sector which has been at times “shackled” by controversies such as the one referenced in a January 22nd, 2009 article “Sunshine bill is back with sharper teeth” which “requires that manufacturers or group purchasing organizations disclose all payments or transfers of value to physicians worth $100 or more.”
Let’s also not forget the May 20th, 2009 article titled “Cook County economy would be harmed by health system plan, Commissioners say” which was referring to the proposed utilization of a Group Purchasing Organization.
References to these as well as similar stories are seemingly inexhaustible, which makes the Corporate United story that much more meaningful.
In fact when I interviewed the company’s Vice President and 2009 Supply and Demand Chain Executive “Pro To Know” David Clevenger this past January, we discussed these very situations. (Note: here is the link to the January 21st PI Window on Business segment “The Modern Group Purchasing Organization: Leveraging Spend, Increasing Value” to which I referred.)
Clevenger, who bravely went where some may be less inclined to go when examining both the promise and problems associated with their particular industry or model, was both knowledgeable and frank in his assessment of where the sector has been in the past, where it is today and, even more important, where it is going in the future.
This keen understanding and objective view of the GPO landscape explained, at least in part, why Corporate United has almost “tripled in size to more than 130 member companies” (now 160, or 30 more members since January, which is a story in itself) since Clevenger joined the company in 2004.
I would of course encourage you to listen to the January interview in its entirety as it will clearly demonstrate why the recent industry accolades are for all intents and purposes a forgone conclusion. Once again, it is easy to pick the winning horse after it has crossed the proverbial finish line. What is more interesting is to really understand why they – being Corporate United, were able to scale the GPO heights in the first place.