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Industry Insights Blog

Alabama K-12 Procurement Savings Through a Cooperative

Posted by OMNIA Partners on February 23, 2022


Procurement teams are always strategizing better ways to serve stakeholders at their schools and agencies with diverse needs. You’re managing a complex spend cube with several categories and may be in an environment where you feel you're constantly reacting and putting out fires. By teaming up with a cooperative purchasing organization, your procurement team can become more proactive and have time to breathe.

To learn more from procurement experiencing success with their cooperative, we spoke to education leaders at Elmore County Public Schools around 25 miles north of Montgomery, Alabama. The district serves approximately 11,000 K-12 students at schools with varying purchasing needs. Director of Federal Programs Celeste Tilley and Federal Programs Accounting Specialist Cecile Sanford are dedicated to equipping their schools with innovative education supplies and health and safety items all to maximize student learning experience.  

classroom

 In this blog, hear how Alabama purchasing leaders leveraged their cooperative purchasing organization to achieve savings and spend relief funds.  

Collaborating With Their Cooperative

Tilley and Sanford admit they were initially reluctant to use a cooperative purchasing organization but after seeing the process simplified by cooperative purchasing, they’re undoubtedly on board now. It’s especially reassuring to have transparency and know the cooperative contracts are competitively solicited and publicly awarded by a government entity serving as the lead agency. 

Click below to hear more about what made Tilley's perspective change. 

 

Consistent Savings in Cost, Time & Resources

By partnering with a cooperative, Tilley and Sanford have already saved several thousand dollars which makes a huge impact as they worked to quickly and efficiently spend ESSER funds by purchasing for 15 schools with multiple large volume orders. 

"We would almost have to have another hired person to do [the purchasing] part if we weren’t a part of any cooperative. Because it’s so time-consuming."

    -Cecile Sanford, Federal Programs Accounting Specialist, Elmore Co. Public Schools 

Your procurement team may be stretched thin. With the current nationwide labor shortage, there are several schools and agencies already operating with fewer employees and focused on ways to attract and retain good talent. While you may be part of a lean team, adding a cooperative to your strategy can add the extra resources needed to get the job done. It has helped Tilley and Sanford save a “tremendous amount of time” by streamlining the bid process.

Tilley and Sanford explain that their state bid law is stricter than the federal law so the bid process slows things down. Click below to hear how it was a relief to have their cooperative take care of the process for them.  

Cooperative as an Extension of Your Team

Your cooperative is your teammate. Whenever a question comes up, they’re your go-to source for answers quickly. Have a category you need to better understand? Your cooperative partner is there to support, connect you to a robust contract portfolio and enhance your overall procurement strategy. Our team of certified public procurement professionals and cooperative purchasing experts is committed to bringing value to your school or agency. 

Topics: Procurement, K-12 Education, Cooperative Purchasing