Cooperative Purchasing — Your Questions Answered
As a government procurement specialist for Volvo, I’ve witnessed an approximate 300% increase in national buying contract sales growth at Volvo over the past seven years — and now more than 35% of all municipal sales are going through cooperative purchasing contracts.
If you’re not familiar with them, cooperative purchasing agencies are government entities that competitively solicit, evaluate and award cooperative purchasing contracts, streamlining the procurement process for their members by satisfying the bid process. Cooperative purchasing is becoming increasingly attractive for many government agencies who are facing budgets cuts, personnel reductions and demand for increase in efficiencies, as the contracts allow compliance without duplication of effort. These contracts give municipal customers the freedom and flexibility for advanced budget planning, while saving time and money for them and their taxpayers.
Volvo holds national cooperative contracts with Sourcewell (formerly NJPA) and HGACBuy, giving municipal customers an easier and more efficient way to purchase Volvo equipment, ensuring the best price without going through a traditional bid process.
Below I’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding cooperative purchasing to help you better understand the benefits:
What is cooperative purchasing and is it allowed by my procurement team?
The easiest way to explain cooperative procurement is to purchase from an already established contract, that combines the spend of many entities, to bring the best value possible. Approved by the American Bar Association and supported by numerous procurement organizations as an accepted contracting practice, it can save time and money. The solicitation process has already been done, by another government agency or cooperative organization, and ready to be “piggybacked” upon without have to go out to conduct your own bid process.
What are the benefits?
Instead of taking months to purchase an item, it can be done in days with a cooperative contract — a huge time savings. If you’re dealing with a short timeframe, such as the end of a fiscal year or upcoming grant deadline, a cooperative contract for the needed item might be the fastest way to go. It also saves resources within your teams, as the solicitation process is complete, thus freeing your team to work on other procurement tasks. By leveraging a greater spend volume across one contract, it may bring better pricing than what you can obtain on your own.
In addition to the time and cost savings, cooperative purchasing allows us as the manufacturer and dealer to provide unique solutions and work more directly with our governmental customers to satisfy their specific needs. The customer and dealer can work together to tailor the equipment specifically to certain applications, ensuring the customer gets exactly what they need. Customer satisfaction is very important to Volvo and our dealer network.
What about my own agency’s rules and regulations?
Most cooperative contracts are specific for government customers and already incorporate most provisions and requirements needed. However, if your assigned counsel insists that your agency’s terms and conditions or indemnification language be incorporated, that can be an addendum to the existing contract. It would just require the contracted vendor to agree and sign the addition to make it part of the contract.
What can I purchase on a cooperative contract?
The list is growing on a weekly basis. While commodities have always been the most frequently offered contracts, the opportunities are growing in heavier equipment, consulting services and construction. By contacting a cooperative organization, you can easily obtain information on all the contracts that are available.
What does Volvo offer on its cooperative contracts?
We offer our entire equipment offering on both Sourcewell and HGACBuy. Our products include a comprehensive range of wheel loaders, hydraulic excavators, articulated haulers, landfill compactors, soil and asphalt compactors, asphalt pavers, compact excavators and compact wheel loaders.
Want to see how it works? Covington County, Alabama, purchased an EW180E Volvo wheeled excavator using Sourcewell and found the process faster and more cost-effective than going through a bidding process.
And local Texas officials are using cooperative purchasing to buy wheeled excavators to replace their truck-mounted excavators.
To learn more about how you can procure Volvo equipment through cooperative purchasing agencies, visit our government sales site for information on Sourcewell and HGACBuy, or feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com.
By Kathy Tedone