By Glen Witsaman
A procurement services company provides a volume-based system of buying products and services through relationships with large, multi-facility clients, as well as with hundreds of manufacturer and distribution partners.
With a sufficient base of customers, procurement services companies are able to leverage this collective volume and offer discounts and value to a variety of smaller clients — including, for example, church ministries, which might not buy quite as much on their own.
Cost savings benefits for your organization
For a church organization, the main benefit of purchasing this way is to simply save money for your ministry on quality products and services that often come with the support of manufacturer and distributor partners. The pure cost savings can be seen from the moment you sign on, with discounted prices on thousands of products for your foodservice, facility and sanctuary.
For example, entegra has a negotiated contract for a popular brand of flatware (stainless steel forks, knives, spoons) in a Windsor pattern. This exact set of flatware would cost 14 percent more if purchased directly from a wholesale restaurant distributor at their list price. With price reductions like this across your church’s budget, the savings will be significant. That savings can be redirected to support the important outreach of your ministry.
In addition to products, a variety of services — such as facilities management and cleaning services — are also offered through many purchasing organizations. Using these services frees up your staff and volunteers to devote their time to ministry tasks, instead of obtaining supplies or fulfilling janitorial responsibilities.
Logistical benefits for staff and clergy
Through the use of a procurement services company, a church can reap the benefits of a tested process that provides local and national purchasing options, as well as the ease of consolidated delivery through an established supply chain. There is a large industry distribution network throughout the country and having a company that can use that network provides you with reliable and safe delivery to your door.
The process should also include responsive customer services to help the church customize its buying and maximize savings, with a live call center and client account representatives. This should include active procurement-based websites, such as entegra’s informative internet presence at entegraPS.com. Online tracking tools will help you to seek out more savings opportunities within a program. A website can also deliver expertise from dietitians and chefs, educational webinars, recipes and menu guides — all resources that help you optimize your ministry.
Intangible benefits for parishioners
Flexibility to choose from hundreds of suppliers for your individual needs helps you to create a unique atmosphere in your church. Through a full-service procurement company, you will gain the ability to provide on-trend foodservice with healthy menus, sustainable foods, recipes and Grab ‘n Go options. You have opportunities to update every part of your facilities with new, affordable products. This can range from finding affordable warming ovens for your kitchens, to absorbent hand towels in the bathrooms, to the most beautiful flowers for your worship space.
“[E]ntegra has a negotiated contract for a popular brand of flatware (stainless steel forks, knives, spoons) in a Windsor pattern. This exact set of flatware would cost 14 percent more if purchased directly from a wholesale restaurant distributor at their list price. With price reductions like this across your church’s budget, the savings will be significant.”
The advantage of working with a procurement services company like entegra Procurement Services depends on the use that your church organization makes of the purchasing opportunities, and the ongoing support available. One church will save money. A larger organization that can spread the savings across many facilities — such as an area conference of churches or a network of outreach centers — will likely realize the most value and savings when purchasing this way.
Regardless of the volume, your ministry can use the savings it gets toward its mission, no matter how large or how small.
Glen Witsaman is National Director of Business Development, Leisure & Faith-Based segments at entegra Procurement Services, a non-fee-based purchasing company that provides customized procurement and distribution services for food and related supplies to many industries — including hospitals, schools, restaurants and church groups — in the United States and Canada.