Hot Tips (Cooperative Purchasing)

Cooperative Procurement for Public Purchasing

The procurement process for public institutions, like schools, requires careful navigation and patience for dealing with rules and regulations. Procurement also requires spending time and resources that are often limited. Now, school districts have the option to turn to cooperative purchasing networks to get the biggest bang for their buck.

Cooperative purchasing happens when one public agency competitively bids and establishes a contract available for other government agencies to “piggyback” or adopt as their own. The combined leverage of multiple agencies’ budgets creates a price advantage and the piggybacking agency saves time and resources by using existing contracts.

While traditional construction procurement has a reputation for being expensive and inefficient, purchasing construction services through a co-op can streamline this inflexible process. By utilizing contracts through co-ops, school districts have access to competitively-awarded, local contractors who are available to start work immediately. They also see efficiencies across their schools increase as operational processes related to procurement become streamlined. School districts of all sizes and types save time and effort, avoid disputes and project delays, all while increasing budgetary control on construction projects.

Acquiring goods and strategic services through cooperative purchasing networks is now regarded as a best practice. By enabling school districts to trade the time and expense of traditional procurement for speed, efficiency, and the power of group buying, cooperatives networks are offering a new alternative to decades old processes.

This article originally appeared in the School Planning & Management November/December 2018 issue of Spaces4Learning.

About the Author

Matt Peterson handles Business Development – National Cooperatives for Gordian Group. He can be reached at [email protected].