Purchasing In Packs

How companies can cut costs by joining buying pools

Kevin Vargas figures he buys $1 million worth of circuit breakers and wiring each year for Comdisco Inc.'s computer refurbishing plant in Schaumburg, Ill. As a top purchasing manager for the $3.2 billion computer-leasing company, he has the clout to drive a hard bargain with suppliers. But Vargas thinks he has found a way to "supersize" his clout. He's testing on-line buying groups that purchase equipment in huge volumes for equally big discounts. The potential savings: $200,000 a year.

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