Public Agencies across the U.S. depend on their procurement departments to source, bid, negotiate, and contract, critical business supplies and services. While such practices protect public interest and bring order and transparency to the purchasing process, they can require months to finally reap their rewards. In an environment where products and services need to be acquired quickly, traditional “requests for proposals,” otherwise known as RFPs, can hinder progress.
When time is of the essence, a purchasing cooperative (or “co-op”) can be a procurement department’s best friend. Contracts available through purchasing co-ops offer terms, pricing and project descriptions that are vetted and pre-approved. When a purchasing requirement and a co-op contract align, it can allow a school or government agency to bypass the time it takes to gather and evaluate competing bids, present those bids to decision-makers, gain consensus, set an implementation schedule, and finally complete a purchase.
Service and solution contracts found on co-ops like BuyBoard, GoodBuy, Purchasing Cooperative of America (PCA) and even the Government Services Administration (GSA), meet the procurement requirements for a direct and timely purchase.
Kumar Wiratunga, ARC’s VP of Strategic Partnerships notes that “Agencies are signing up at no cost with co-ops to access awarded contracts. Purchasing Cooperatives and the GSA Schedules are being leveraged actively across the nation to meet the needs of the county, city, K-12, higher ed, and specialty agency needs while reducing the cost and time of procurement.”
Here in the ARC Blog, we’ve profiled two of our own services that are available on purchasing co-ops. They exemplify a co-op’s ability to put important solutions in place quickly. The first was a contract for a million public health and safety graphics for the 600-plus schools in the Chicago Public Schools (CSP) to re-open safely late last year. The second was a contract for the digitization of more than two million paper documents that make up the design, construction and maintenance archive for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Texas’s fourth-largest school district.
In each case, time was a critical factor, and the return-on-investment of the purchasing contract was immediate.
As we’ve found out from the media over the past year, difficulties in acquiring critical goods and services can disrupt even the smoothest running organizations. But when materials, services and contracts are easily acquired they can help keep our businesses, economy and our communities efficient, productive and safe.
Curious about how you might be able to use a purchasing co-op to solve your procurement challenges?
Contact us today at (833) 272-8880 or explore ARC’s Co-op and GSA Awards at https://www.e-arc.com/gsa-purchasing-coop/. We’ll help you explore how to keep your agency’s procurement process moving forward.