The power of a group purchasing organization is more evident than ever at Rivergate KW Residential. With properties in six states, the multifamily housing provider has made forming partnerships that efficiently drive sound operations its highest priority. Last year, the company received the 2018 Satisfacts Company Award for Resident Satisfaction, a stipend that suggests Rivergate KW Residential is successfully focusing on its residents.
One way to put more effort into pleasing residents is streamlining and maximizing back-end processes that keep properties moving forward, something that Rivergate KW Residential has done through a new way of purchasing goods and services. About eight months ago, the company adopted eSupply GPO, RealPage’s group purchasing solution. The company has since realized significant savings buying everything from office supplies to in-apartment fixtures and amenities across 10,000 units.
“Within our portfolio where we have had the eSupply GPO implemented in the last six to eight months, we have already saved over $120,000,” said Business Support Manager Christine Stone.
Leveraging the industry’s buying power to achieve NOI
Dana Castelvecchi, Vice President of RealPage’s vendor solutions platform and spend management, said group purchasing offers multifamily companies the ability to leverage the industry’s buying power to get the right price, from the right supplier, for the right property without a lot of shopping around and staffing.
The strategy is getting legs at a time when multifamily’s recent normalizing, which has de-emphasized achieving NOI through primarily growing rent, has put more focus on spend management.
“Management companies are paying attention to expenses more than ever before, trying to make good spending decisions including the vendors they partner with,” Castelvecchi said in a recent webcast. “Rents are no longer the way to increase NOI. Rents have been pushed to the max in many markets. The best way to increase NOI is to reduce spending.”
Property management companies are looking for ways to reduce expenses and improve operational efficiencies. Many are also looking for ways to take advantage of discounts and suppliers who know the multifamily industry.
Castelvecchi says companies have found answers through RealPage’s eSupply GPO, a system agnostic platform that automates a portfolio’s entire purchasing and invoicing experience with online catalog shopping. In addition, a team of purchasing experts helps properties manage vendors from onboarding to credentialing to getting pre-negotiated discounts with major suppliers to mitigating risk.
Gone are the headaches of enlisting dedicated staff or relying on site personnel to get the best product or service for the money.
“You don’t have to worry about shopping prices, shopping suppliers,” Castelvecchi said. “They can order from the right vendor with pre-negotiated discounts and spend less time with suppliers and more time focusing on residents, which is the most important part of doing their job.”
Achieving increased compliance and new savings opportunities
Properties often continue to do business with vendors they’ve adopted prior to onboarding with a group purchasing organization, but get more bang for the buck working with consultative purchasing experts.
Such was the case at South Carolina-based PK Management, which specializes in affordable housing options while providing residents first-class amenities and resources.
“Having eSupply has given our team access to a product expert that proved instrumental in reducing our team’s learning curve resulting in both increased compliance and new savings opportunities across our portfolio,” said Project Coordinator Harvey Buller.
Castelvecchi said the beauty of eSupply is that, in addition to offering pre-negotiated discounts with industry suppliers, a dedicated account management staff works with clients to ensure compliance, maximize savings and drive NOI. Some of the largest suppliers in the industry – including PPG Paints, Staples, Sherwin Williams, HD Supply and Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies – are critical vendors.
Growing buying power to negotiate better savings
eSupply GPO clients, Castelvecchi says, save an average of $13 per unit per year. Last year clients saved a combined $6.8 million.
“Group purchasing pools together the buying power of many property management companies with a strategically selected group of supplier partners,” she said. “As it grows, we’re able to negotiate better savings.”
And devote more time to a property’s greatest asset – it’s residents.
To learn more about the benefits of group purchasing, watch the free On-Demand webcast, “Unleash Your Buying Power with Group Purchasing.”