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There are multiple points of pain on both sides of an equipment transaction in today’s healthcare industry – for both providers and suppliers, all of which point to effective equipment negotiation as one way to buy more strategically. In this final installment in our series on seven key negotiating strategies, OpenMarkets takes a look at Proper Preparation as a best practice.

“This one is simple,” says OpenMarkets Co-founder and Senior Vice President Tom Derrick. “Supply chain folks simply must find a way to work efficiently and map out how they will put the six other best practices into motion. We’ve got to be prepared.”

Critical actions involved in preparation for an effective equipment negotiation include identifying the universe of suppliers out there, taking the steps necessary to vet them, and looking carefully at new suppliers. Market share evaluation is a key data point as well, to help determine how best to implement other best practices, such as establishing your BATNA or introducing an anchor price.

“Knowing the market share and identifying the suppliers emerged as a pain point for a lot of providers in our research,” Derrick says. “Providers don’t know who all the suppliers are out there in the equipment industry. And no wonder. There are actually 2,000 different healthcare equipment suppliers in the United States. Keeping track of 2,000 different suppliers is impossible for any given team.”

From grounding in solid data, well-prepared providers lay out their plans to effectively leverage the other six negotiating best practices: Anchoring, Establishing Your BATNA, Negotiating in Bundles, Distributive and Integrative Negotiation Strategies, The Good Guy Discount, and Multi-Party Negotiations.

“We created The Exchange to make it really easy for hospitals to do the proper preparation, identifying the suppliers that are out there, knowing the market share, getting comparable quotes and ultimately being in a position to have a win-win, integrative negotiation with a supplier,” Derrick says.