A Leading Buying Group: Trustworthy, Transparent and Member Driven
Buying groups have been around for decades offering their members a range of benefits from discounts, rebates and industry news. While there have been many iterations of this concept, few have seen the growth and stability of Graphic Arts Alliance (GAA).
Formed in 2002, GAA is one of the only groups of its kind which is member owned and controlled, ensuring that the interests of its members are given top priority.
Darrell Moore, President of Modern Litho, shares his experiences with GAA in this interview.
Tell us a little bit about your company.
Modern Litho is a commercial printing company with an annual revenue of $32 million, of which, roughly half comes from periodicals and print publications. We joined GAA about 5 years ago and I have personally served on the board both as a member as well as president for 3 years.
When did you first hear about GAA and when did you join?
I heard about GAA several years ago but was very cautious. A few years later, I was told about GAA from a trusted peer group member who strongly encouraged me to look into membership but I waited over 2 years before joining.
What caused you to wait before joining the group?
At the time, I felt that my purchasing team was doing a good job of negotiating vendor contracts so I didn’t see the value of joining a buying group. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong. Over the course of the two years that I delayed joining, my friend in the peer group continued to nudge me, even offering to pay the membership fee for me if I gave him half of my first quarter’s rebates. He clearly knew something I didn’t. I finally relented and paid the annual dues for my company since there was a money-back guarantee. I figured it couldn’t hurt, especially if I could leave the group and get our membership fee reimbursed. It was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made.
But the two years of deliberation cost the company $20,000 worth of benefits from the group. Caution cost the company money and we’ll never recover that lost opportunity.
How has your experience been since joining?
GAA is about its members and that became clear from the moment I joined. By far, the best programs for us are the paper and Kodak consumables rebates. We also get a really nice discount on our Kodak service agreements. One of the best things about this group is that there is very little work to get the rebates. Our paper and consumables usage data is gathered automatically by the vendors and GAA so there’s no extra work or heavy lifting on our end. We haven’t had to change a single thing in our operations or purchasing since before joining, except now we get to deposit a quarterly rebate check.
Do GAA programs overlap with some of your existing vendor programs?
For the most part, the rebates are not mutually exclusive. We buy the paper that is the best for our company, with the best negotiated pricing and the volume goes toward our rebate. There are no conflicts with what GAA provides versus what the purchasing team negotiates. What I really appreciate is that we aren’t obligated to use GAA vendors so we’re never captive to any one program.
In your opinion, what makes GAA unique?
GAA is a “zero risk proposition.” When you join, if you’re not satisfied, you can get your annual membership fee refunded so there’s really only upsides to membership.
Also, GAA is very open with its books and is audited annually. There is full transparency and disclosure regarding program setup and contracts. I have total trust in how things are handled at the management level. GAA is focused on ensuring that members see a benefit, which makes the group strong and trustworthy.
Any closing thoughts?
All I can say is that I wish I had joined sooner. It has been a great investment for Modern Litho.
About Graphic Arts Alliance
Graphic Arts Alliance is a member-owned and controlled buying group for mid-sized commercial printers. For more information visit GraphicArtsAlliance.com.