Seamless Cooperative Experience Saves Indiana City Exponentially in Time and Money
Significant new responsibility in an unfamiliar spend category didn’t intimidate Jasper-Dubois County Public Library Director, Christine Golden. What could’ve been an overwhelming furniture project for a state-of-the-art, 67,000 square foot new facility turned into a seamless, stress-free experience through a cooperative purchasing strategy.
“Stress-free” may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s the result that cooperative purchasing provided for Golden and her team as they embarked on a $17 million project—the largest project in her 21 years at the library—in their growing community of Jasper, Indiana. The Jasper-Dubois County Public Library launched a venture to build a multi-faceted, community-centered facility, the Thyen-Clark Cultural Center, to house the main library branch and Jasper Community Arts. After nearly a decade of planning, the vision was to create an environment where residents and visitors could view art, meet, learn and gather with flexibility and comfort.
Partnering with local manufacturers to honor the town’s heritage of furniture and woodworking industries mixed with the buying power of a cooperative purchasing organization was a recipe for success. Watch as Golden describes her first experience with cooperative purchasing on this multi-million dollar project.
Office interiors and furniture designs continue to evolve to accommodate the changing needs of organizations in a post-pandemic environment. Furniture plays an impactful role in public spaces and was a large part of Golden’s budget to create a space where community members with diverse needs could spend the day. As public procurement leaders everywhere are well aware, staying within budget is paramount.
“With anything in government there are limited resources, and you have to make sure that when you go into a project, you know what you’re going to spend,” says Christine Golden, Director of the Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library. “We set our budget for this project before we knew what type of furniture we were going to need. You have to. With that uncertainty, the most important part for us is to stay close to that budget.”
“I would say we easily saved several hundred thousand dollars by being able to use an OMNIA Partners cooperative contract. It also saved us so much time and money that we didn’t have to hire someone else to do it!"
- Christine Golden
Director, Jasper-Dubois County Public Library
“It just saves a lot of headaches when you avoid the RFP process, pick the products you want, and get what you want. We were down to the wire, dealing with COVID-19 at the time and thankfully, it all went very smoothly and quickly.”
- Jason Southwell
Senior Associate, Hafer
Golden noted that meetings around finalizing furniture ideas took about a year due to the sheer amount of furniture they needed. Those meetings, however, were expedited by meeting with teams locally. We then finalized our requests after seeing what the Kimball International team had proposed and Hafer finalized. The furniture was ordered in late September 2020, delivered in December, and installed before opening in late January 2021.
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Emphasizing the unique relationship with furniture manufacturers in the southwestern Indiana community, Golden knew she wanted to work with furniture supplier, Kimball International and its family of brands, Kimball, National, and Etc., headquartered in Jasper. For project inspiration, Golden’s team also partnered with architecture and design firm Hafer, where Senior Associate Jason Southwell guided the team in their goal to have local products represented in their facility, introducing the benefits of purchasing from Kimball International’s contracts through the OMNIA Partners cooperative. This route would provide major time savings since the RFP process had already been completed.
“It helps to keep your profit margin if you have to do less, along with not having to go through the whole bidding process, proofing alternates, and staying on top of everything,” says Southwell. “It just saves a lot of headaches when you avoid the RFP process, pick the products you want, and get what you want. We were down to the wire, dealing with COVID-19 at the time and thankfully, it all went very smoothly and quickly.”
“We are in a unique position that we have wonderful corporations that specialize in furniture right here in our community,” says Golden. “We didn’t have to travel to different places or even look at catalogs. I was able to drive 9 blocks to go see the furniture we wanted at Kimball International. It was really wonderful not to play guessing games on what kind of furniture we were going to get. We got the products we wanted for this project, and everyone who has come into the center has been so amazed by what we have available.”
Golden described how using Kimball International’s cooperative contracts through OMNIA Partners saved her from worry and concern knowing cooperative purchasing is a great way for procurement to achieve success in all different types of projects. She says having that knowledge makes her stronger, more strategic, and agile.
“It was also a significant discount from what you’d see in the list price,” says Golden. “I would say we easily saved several hundred thousand dollars by being able to use an OMNIA Partners cooperative contract. It also saved us so much time and money that we didn’t have to hire someone else to do it! We wanted to work with community partners here, especially an organization like Kimball International, who has been amazing to us throughout this whole project. We wanted to make sure they were represented in the cultural center.”
Procurement professionals purchasing for their agency or school are focused on meeting the needs of stakeholders and end-users while managing multiple complex spend categories. Leveraging a cooperative as part of the strategy can simplify and streamline processes while providing access to guidance from the cooperative’s subject matter experts. That industry insight helps organizations make innovative workplace or classroom design updates.
“I’m thrilled to be able to share this info on cooperative purchasing with other government entities and library directors saying, ‘We were able to provide quality furniture that’s going to last so you don’t have to settle for just buying furniture at a furniture store,’” says Golden. “I’ve been able to let several people know how to save time money and headaches with OMNIA Partners being so great to work with and helpful setting everything up.”
Golden says she and her team at the Jasper-Dubois County Public Library continue to benefit from the buying power of cooperative purchasing and described a recent library branch remodel that was made simple by the cooperative contract already set up and ready to use.
“We were able to seamlessly work through it and all it came down to was me seeing the quote, taking it to the board to approve and we moved forward,” says Golden. “I could see us using cooperative contracts down the road over and over again.”
Kimball International is a leading omnichannel commercial furnishings company with deep expertise in a wide range of markets. From our family of brands, Kimball and National are proud suppliers of OMNIA Partners, Public Sector. Both the Kimball #2019.001896 and National #R191811 contracts are competitively solicited and publicly awarded to help organizations leverage group volume to reduce costs and save time, effort, and resources. Our contracts are open to any organization that exists for the public benefit, including state, city, and local government, higher education, K-12 education, and non-profits.
OMNIA Partners is the largest and most experienced organization in procurement and supply chain management. Covering both the private and public sectors, OMNIA Partners unites industry-leading buying power and world-class suppliers to offer an extensive portfolio of sourcing solutions and partnerships. Learn more about the contracting process here.