In the second annual Survey of Government Procurement Professionals, 40 percent of public sector buyers said they were overworked. Buyers today struggle to conduct the research needed to write good bids and requests for proposals. As contracting workloads increase and budgets become more strapped, state and local government procurement professionals seek efficient ways to meet the needs of their agencies and taxpayers. To ease the strain, these professionals are turning to cooperative purchasing to save valuable time and money.
Cooperative purchasing provides resources and solutions to local and state government agencies at the best overall government pricing. In accordance with state procurement laws and regulations in all 50 states, there are numerous advantages for public agencies. Cooperative contracts are competitively solicited and allow public sector buyers to avoid the bid process. This saves valuable time and money by lowering the effort and cost associated with traditional procurement.
Stephanie Brice, purchasing supervisor for Cobb County, Ga. said: “Cooperatives allow county governments to purchase through an already competitively-bid contract thereby saving local time and resources, which can then be focused on other ways to support the community. They allow us to efficiently make sure our citizens come first.”
Purchasing cooperatives also expose agencies to quick and efficient sources to procure supplies and services by leveraging the volume of public entities across the country. Once a supplier is chosen, any public agency — as long as they are registered with the cooperative program — can piggyback off of that contract and receive the bulk purchase discount as negotiated by the lead public agency. By using a lead public agency model, the costs of preparing a bid and managing a contract can be significantly reduced or avoided. Contracts are non-exclusive and discretionary, so an agency can choose to use any contract that is in their best interest. There are no fees to participate and no purchasing minimums, allowing maximum flexibility for participating agencies.
Cathy Muse, chief procurement officer for Fairfax County, Va. said, “U.S. Communities allows public agencies to be nimble and efficient in the acquisition process while bringing innovative solutions to our customers and citizens.”
Each month new public agencies register with U.S. Communities in the interest of simplifying their procurement process. This continuing growth is fueled by the program’s proven track record of delivering excellence in procurement solutions.
For more information on U.S. Communities, please visit www.uscommunities.org.
NACo is a founder and sponsor of the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance. U.S. Communities is the only accredited national government purchasing cooperative providing world-class government procurement resources and solutions to local and state government agencies, school districts (K-12), higher education institutions, and nonprofits at the best overall government pricing.