Cooperative purchasing helps public agencies, educational institutions and nonprofits stay on budget while delivering efficiencies. All procurement professionals strive to stay on top of procurement best practices and get the most out of their resources. These five tips will help you get the most out of your cooperative purchasing partnership.
1. Choose the Right Cooperative Purchasing Partner
Cooperative purchasing programs offer a range of services and differ in their approaches. Before selecting a cooperative with which to partner, carefully evaluate their track record and capabilities. Ensure that they can help your organization meet its purchasing and cooperative procurement goals. They should follow cooperative procurement process best practices, which includes being fully transparent and offering cooperative contracts that have been competitively solicited and publicly awarded via a thorough RFP process. Finally, seek a partner with open and clear communication that will quickly answer questions and handle concerns.
2. Cooperatives Should Be Competitive
Cooperative purchasing removes time and effort from the procurement process, but it should also deliver the best value. Review each solicitation and award process to ensure that the awarded supplier and that the solicitation process was competitive and awarded by a true lead agency be that a government entity or educational institution.
3. Use Cooperative Procurement Optimally
Good cooperative purchasing partners help agencies understand when cooperative purchases are warranted. Solid due diligence will determine if a contract meets your organization’s needs and whether a cooperative purchasing approach makes sense for each need. Make sure you look at the supplier contract details and terms and conditions to make sure the contract meets your needs. This can help you better understand potential issues and evaluate each procurement requirement.
4. Stay Compliant
Generally, a public body may participate in a cooperative purchasing agreement with other public bodies or agencies of the United States to increase efficiency or reduce expenses. Try to use cooperative contracts properly solicited by a lead agency. Although your agency may have its own purchasing procedures, following a lead agency in a competitive process satisfies competitive bid requirements for most state and local government agencies. As a best practice, also review all contract and RFP documents as well as state statutes to ensure compliance.
5. Leverage Cooperative Program Resources
Strong cooperative purchasing programs will provide resources to assist public agencies. If you have a question on contract solutions for your particular sourcing requirements, need details on a specific contract, or need assistance working with the supplier, your OMNIA Partners regional account manager is available to assist and serve as a liaison to the supplier. Find your dedicated contact here.
If you are a procurement professional for a school system, local/state government office, or nonprofit, it’s your responsibility to use your organization’s resources to their greatest advantage. By taking the time to choose the right cooperative purchasing partner, you can be confident that you’ll save money, improve efficiencies and meet your procurement rules and regulations for a competitive solicitation.
NRPA Premier members can register with OMNIA Partners, Public Sector today to have access to the thousands of quality products from hundreds of suppliers available through its contracts.
To learn more about procurement best practices that make the most of cooperative purchasing, contact OMNIA Partners, Public Sector.
Christine Gilbert is the Vice President of Marketing for OMNIA Partners.