Hot Tips (Purchasing Cooperatives)
How A Purchasing Co-op Can Help
- By Angela Webb
- October 1st, 2016
For people working hard to educate students,
time and money are invaluable; there’s
not a minute or a dollar to spare. That’s why
it’s so important for districts to take advantage
of every resource. Purchasing cooperatives are
a great place to start.
Co-ops save you time and money by doing
the work for you. Co-ops can offer competitive
pricing that’s otherwise unavailable to
individual districts by nationally leveraging their
purchasing power. In other words, vendors are
willing to exchange lowered prices for a pool
of customers. When you’re part of a co-op, the
vendor will provide a list of eligible and approved
products available at exclusive prices —
all you have to do is shop the list to save money.
If you’ve got a large project, you can use
your co-op as a centralized place to see all
products, so there’s no need to get multiple
bids. These items are pre-approved to make
sure they’re competitively priced and meet
state guidelines — which means you don’t
have to spend time wading through red tape.
Since they’re designed to meet statutory,
policy and administrative requirements, you
can think of co-ops as a one-stop-shop for your
district. Plus, you’ll benefit from “customized
contact” perks. These include coordination of
delivery and certain on-delivery services not
available to individual customers.
When you join a co-op, you become a
member of a network of educators. You’ll be
invited to exclusive conferences on current
trends, summer-creditive programs and
opportunities to meet other educators. Essentially,
a co-op offers a place for you to do
all the things you want and need to do, but
wouldn’t otherwise have time or money for.
Many co-ops offer free membership.
TIPS is available nationally, is free to join and
includes all standard services. Shop around
and see what’s best for you.
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.
Angela Webb is director of Sales at School Outfitters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.