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Why Correctional Facilities Should Purchase Products in Bundles
By Robert Kravitz, President AlturaSolutions
Published: 05/03/2021

Prison wall In the early 2000s, a small independent internet service provider (ISP) found it was facing a growing army of stiff competition from much larger ISPs worldwide. Making matters worse, many of these larger companies were offering the same services at a lower cost.

Looking for ways to compete, the smaller company realized quickly that lowering their charges was not in the cards. As a small, independent company, if they competed on price, they would soon be out of business.

Then it occurred to them, instead of competing on price, why not compete on services? The idea was to provide their customers with a range of services, many not offered by their competitors. This certainly could make them more competitive.

Then they decided to take this one step further. The small company decided to offer these services in “bundles.” A “bundle” is when a company offers two or more products or services all for one price. We know it today as "bundled services" or "bundled products."

This was back in the early days of the internet, and few companies were offering bundled services. Most just hosted a website and provided email services. That was about it.

But our small independent was now offering those services along with website security programs and malware protection; domain address purchasing; e-commerce and re-seller platforms; even a newsletter service all at one price for all services. This bundle of services was designed to attract business clients, and it worked. This company was now offering more value to their customers, and in the process was able to grow significantly, holding their much bigger competitors at bay.

Offering Value to Correctional Facilities

OK, so we can see how businesses can succeed by bundling products and services. But how can it work for correctional facility administrators?

In other words, where is the value in purchasing a bundle of products or services from one vendor?

To get answers, we turned to Gretchen Friedrich, marketing manager at AFFLINK, a 300-member sales and marketing organization that markets bundled products to the food service, health care, educational, and correctional industries throughout the country.

According to Friedrich, among the benefits—or the value—correctional administrators may realize selecting products in bundles are the following:

Competitive pricing. “At the end of the day, bundled marketing is a pricing strategy. The vendor will sell two or more products at a special price, typically less than if each product was purchased individually, making it a cost savings for the consumer.”

Product alignment. Many products are designed to work together, and working together, they provide more benefits for the customer than if the products are purchased individually. For example, due to the pandemic Friedrich says her organization bundles the following products for their customers:
  • COVID-fighting disinfectants.
  • Electrostatic sprayers to mist disinfectants on to surfaces.
  • Ready-to-use antimicrobials to spray surfaces to prevent the growth of germs and bacteria.
  • Hand sanitizers.
"We decided it would benefit the customer if we offered all of these products in one bundle at a special price. They are all designed to work together, and we find customers need all four to help stop the spread of the infection.”

Convenience. Very often, building managers and correctional administrators find they are selecting certain products from one vendor; another set of products from another vendor; and still another set from a third vendor. “Many bundling programs allow customers to just call one vendor for an array of competitively priced products.” (See Sidebar: Lowering Accounting Costs.)

Many times, products are bundled as to the needs of the customer. This is known as the Good, Better, Best approach.

However, in most cases, Good, Better, and Best have less to do with the products and more to do with the needs of the customer. “For instance, one office building may have little foot traffic, so when it comes to floor-care products, all they need are Good products. Another facility may have very heavy foot traffic. They need the Best products we have to offer.”

Friedrich adds that purchasing products in bundles may not work for all correctional administrators. Further, some products are not offered in bundles. “However, it is always best to ask if the vendor is offering products in bundles. Invariably, it’s a cost savings.”

Robert Kravitz is a frequent writer for the correctional industry. He can be reached at robert.kravitz@outlook.com

Sidebar: Lowering Accounting Costs

Many of us do not realize it costs money to process invoices. While the costs can vary, it is estimated to cost anywhere from $12 to $30 to receive, post, process, and pay an invoice.


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