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SAVING BIG WITH COOPERATIVES: 6 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN DOING YOUR DUE DILIGENCE

By Ledena Cayetano

The world has changed. Business has changed. The way we work has changed.

Because of the pandemic, government and education executives are being forced to make huge pandemic-related budget cuts with staffing reductions.

There is some relief.  Purchasing cooperative contracts can provide an effective and efficient procurement process, especially as contracting workloads increase and resources decline.

Benefits for education

School districts are projecting up to 25% budget cuts going into the next school year, which means pressure to monitor spend even closer. Using a cooperative contract provides discounted pricing to stay within budget.

With limited resources, there is often not time to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP). The lengthy process can take up to 100 days and can cost up to $35,000 to process. A significant advantage of “piggybacking” off a cooperative contract is all the vetting and research has already been done.

Schools can also benefit from the portfolio of products and services that cooperatives have to offer. In fact, OMNIA Partners provides more than 300 contracts offering everything from playground and athletic equipment, to office and janitorial supplies, even food.

Impact on government

Ask any government office, “what do you think of your purchasing processes?” and the answers can vary from “slow and cumbersome” to “hard to navigate and understand.”

Again, that’s where cooperative contracts can help.

Especially in this current environment, procurement organizations have already lost a few months and need to make last-minute purchases as they’re approaching the end of the fiscal year.

Staffing reductions are also taking place. Experts predict as many as 40% of baby boomers are set to retire from the public sector in the next few years, known as the “silver tsunami” effect. These veteran employees are taking years of knowledge, history, and experiences with them.

It’s reassuring to piggyback off a competitively bid award rather than go through all the work involved in writing a sole source contract and paying a higher price.

Due diligence

With the option to choose from many cooperative purchasing agreements, it can be overwhelming for procurement staff to identify, assess, and determine if using such agreements is a good fit for their organization.

What should you ask?

Here are six questions to help effectively evaluate cooperative purchasing contracts. Toshiba has three significant contracts available through OMNIA Partners, Public Sector and NASPO ValuePoint:

• Does your agency have to pay a fee use the contract? In order to use Toshiba’s contract awarded by Region 4, an agency must be a participant of OMNIA Partners, Public Sector. There is no cost to join and no spending requirements. As for NASPO, there are no fees to use NASPO contracts.

• Was the contract awarded by a public agency? Toshiba’s contract available through OMNIA was awarded by the lead public agency Region 4 Education Service Center. Toshiba’s contract available through NASPO was awarded by the lead state of Colorado.

• Was the contract competitively solicited and publicly awarded? Toshiba’s contract was competitively bid allowing other public entities to piggyback and satisfy their bid requirements.

• Do you have copies of all the bidding documents? All contract documentation is posted on OMNIA’s and NASPO’s websites, including a copy of the solicitation, how it was advertised, the evaluation, and a copy of the award. It’s all available online and reduces red tape.

• Is the pricing competitive? By leveraging the aggregate buying power involved, a local school or small town can receive discounted pricing commensurate with a learning institution the size of Region 4 or the state of Colorado. In fact, customers can save up to 81% on Toshiba MFPs.

• Is this a good business decision? It’s a simple equation, time equals money. Especially with less resources, many government and education organizations do not have the time to get an RFP out the door.

Now more than ever, government and education procurement organizations have an opportunity to play a critical role in driving down total costs and freeing up resources for mission-critical operations like student success and community development.

To learn more about how Toshiba’s contracts can help you save time and money, contact your local Toshiba representative today.

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