Business partners shaking hands in office building



ARTICLE

The Benefits of Developing a Successful Purchasing Partnership


As a purchasing professional, it can seem like your biggest hurdle is figuring out how to do more with less, especially in today’s ever changing work environment. Getting the highest quality product for the lowest possible cost can be challenging.

Working together with expert partners can often yield better results than going it alone. That’s especially true in negotiating prices. Joining a network of like-minded professionals as part of a cooperative contract provides an innovative way to get better pricing and save time.

What is a Cooperative Contract?

A cooperative contract is an arrangement between businesses to combine demand to get lower prices from suppliers. Cooperative contracts are commonly used by counties, municipalities, school districts, colleges, and universities to streamline purchasing.

As these organizations now look to provide safety solutions for on-site staff and visitors, purchasing through one contract vehicle can simplify the process. Cooperatives vary in size, but most are based on voluntary membership and democratic leadership. In order to use a cooperative contract, an organization usually must confirm their eligibility. While processing and assessing options, the purchasing agent or manager needs to assess a request for proposal (RFP). The RFP information can be used to ensure that local requirements were met through the competitively-bid, legally-awarded contract offered.

Once a price is established upon a contract award for a specific product (thermal detection cameras, for example) this price would remain constant for an agreed upon time. Knowing the price will remain stable can make budgeting easier and provide long-term peace of mind for purchasing departments even as markets fluctuate.

Three Ways a Cooperative Contract Can Benefit Your Organization

1. More Demand = Lowers Prices

The ability of a purchasing agent to precisely budget cost can have a direct impact on an organization’s profitability. Cooperative contracts provide members with access to an aggregate volume of specific supplies. This results in better pricing than a purchasing department could have acquired on its own.

2. Streamlines Purchasing by Eliminating Steps

Tasks such as researching the latest product categories, sourcing competitive quotes, and negotiating pricing can be time-consuming. Cooperatives have a contract development process in place to eliminate these tasks. This allows the purchasing department to focus their time and resources on other areas and can help increase productivity.

3. Expands Your Network

Cooperatives act as an extension of a purchasing department to save time, money, and resources. They also provide a way for members to gain education and training while growing their personal and professional networks. By becoming a member of a cooperative, your organization becomes part of a tight-knit network. Take advantage of these networks by staying up to date with exclusive training, attending virtual cooperative events, and engaging with other members to leverage their expertise.


Rob Bezjak

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob Bezjak
Senior Director and GM, SLED Business
Rob Bezjak is a 35-year veteran of the distribution industry and has extensive experience in sales through cooperative contracts. He previous chaired the NIGP Business Council and is active on the Supplier Advisory Council for the National Cooperative Procurement Partners (NCPP). Rob currently leads Wesco’s sales efforts in the education and state and local government markets.



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