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How Schools Can Streamline Purchasing With Cooperatives

By Ledena Cayetano

What should a school do if it has 200 aging end-user devices that need to be replaced? How about a school district that needs to upgrade their fleet, but does not have the time to write and advertise an RFP?

These aren’t hypotheticals, they’re real-life examples. With schools reopening and playing catch up on procurement tasks, while impacted by pandemic-related budget cuts and staff cutbacks, many schools do not have the resources to go out to bid.

Fortunately, there is a solution, and Toshiba is helping schools alleviate that stress with cooperative agreements available to fill their needs. By using cooperative contracts, schools are realizing the same great value as competitive bidding without going through the costly and time-consuming process.

What Is Cooperative Purchasing And Why Is This Significant?

The use of cooperative contracts reduces the cost of goods and services by leveraging the buying power of schools and other agencies. Using a contract from a nationally recognized cooperative helps schools streamline the buying process by meeting all state and local competitive bidding requirements without having to put these items out to bid for themselves.

Instead of seeking quotes, bids, or proposals, schools can simply choose products and services from the cooperative’s contract portfolio, such as:

•  Office Technology

•  Educational Supplies

•  Classroom Technology

•  Playground Equipment

•  Sports Surfaces

•  Music Theater & Performing Arts

•  K-12 Food Distribution & Services

These products have been pre-selected by the agency behind the cooperative through its own competitive procurement process. When schools make purchases using a cooperative contract, they can feel confident that they’re complying with all local, state, and national procurement laws.

How Does Cooperative Purchasing Streamline The Process?

It is no coincidence that the use of cooperatives has taken off in the last decade. One of the greatest benefits of cooperative purchasing is the tremendous time savings for education buyers. Compare the use of cooperative contracts with the traditional RFP process:

The traditional RFP process is a time-consuming and lengthy process that can take 4-24 months to complete. Rather than spending the time researching a category, writing the solicitation, evaluating the responses, and negotiating terms and conditions, schools can streamline the process into four simple steps by utilizing a cooperative agreement. The process can take mere weeks and requires fewer resources.

The need for efficient purchasing is a key reason why procurement through public bids and RFPs have taken a big hit during the pandemic. For example, the education sector saw a 31% drop in purchasing using traditional procurement process. Instead of enduring the lengthy process of publishing bids and RFPs, schools are turning to cooperative contracts, which allows them to make quick purchases for mission-critical products like office technology and personal protective equipment.

Why Toshiba?

Toshiba’s partnership with nationally recognized cooperatives – such as OMNIA Partners and NASPO ValuePoint – makes Toshiba’s award-winning products, including hardware, software, and services, available to schools and other agencies. Not only will schools receive competitive discounts by taking advantage of Toshiba’s contract portfolio, but they can streamline the purchasing process especially when it’s needed.

If you want to know more about how Toshiba’s cooperative contracts can help streamline your procurement process, contact your local Toshiba representative today.

You can also join me on Wednesday, April 28 at 2pm ET for an informational webinar. Register here for “Making Every District Dollar Count, Finding New Ways To Save.”

 

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