Cooperative Contracts Streamline Food-Buying Process & Simplify Billing, Payments, and Deliveries
State and local governments trimmed payrolls during the COVID-19 pandemic as they faced budget shortfalls, according to research from the Pew Charitable Trusts. And COVID-19 has also affected public procurement teams and foodservice departments. One useful tool that has helped government and education foodservice departments cope during the pandemic is a cooperative contract from OMNIA Partners. The company manages a US Foods cooperative contract that is compliant; it has already been competitively solicited and publicly awarded. The food company is a leading foodservice distributor, partnering with approximately 250,000 restaurants and foodservice operators to help them succeed. The firm has nearly 28,000 employees and more than 70 locations.
Keeping staffing levels up for foodservice operations in education and government can be a difficult task at this time. A national business publication reports that the foodservice industry has been one of the hardest hit by COVID. It has affected the industry and produced staffing issues and product shortages. The pandemic has been a big challenge for foodservice operators everywhere.
Foodservice managers and procurement teams benefit when they can piggyback on a cooperative contract as opposed to having to do their own individual solicitations. The contract is useful for cities, counties, state operations, school districts and other public jurisdictions. The cooperative contract available through OMNIA Partners can potentially save time and effort.
Solicitations can be quite time-consuming. Governments, school districts and colleges/universities can adopt or piggyback on the US Foods cooperative contract available through OMNIA Partners. It is a comprehensive food purchasing program that is already in place. In many cases, the contract meets an entity's solicitation requirements, which can vary depending on the jurisdiction. Where buying agencies don’t have enough staffers in their procurement departments to conduct all the home-grown individual solicitations that are needed, the cooperative contract can be a useful solution.
The contract available through OMNIA Partners features deep discounts on products. The contract helps reduce supply chain risk for government, school district, and higher education buyers and foodservice managers. Long-term cooperative contracts can help hedge against inflation, which is critical at this time. The cooperative contract is also useful in this era of supply chain bottlenecks. US Foods’ 70+ distribution centers in the lower 48 and Alaska ensure prompt, worry-free delivery of food and other products in these times of fragile supplier networks.
The OMNIA Partners cooperative contract consolidates all of the buying power of the members that participate—so no individual member can match the purchasing power of all those cooperative contract members combined, and that’s the true value of cooperative contracts.
Menu planning and food buying for the upcoming school year takes place in February in many school districts. That way, districts will have key decisions made by the start of the fiscal year on July 1. Districts often buy hundreds of different food products. With a standard bid solicitation, districts will bid and award those items out by line item, and then they could have anywhere from three to six distributors that supply their products. It’s much more complex and time consuming, and that creates a whole additional layer in the ordering process with multiple distributors with additional steps in the delivery and billing-payment processes. So that just magnifies the work that school business offices and foodservice directors have to do.
Through the OMNIA Partners cooperative contract, participants have just one primary vendor and one invoice. And typically, governments, school districts and colleges buy about 80 percent of their food needs under this cooperative contract. They may buy a small amount from other vendors, but it’s quite common to get about 80 percent through the primary vendor. And the cooperative contract really does streamline the process. Participants get deliveries from one supplier –the one primary supplier – and far fewer invoices and billings to pay. All the way down the line, the cooperative contract saves time for all concerned, including foodservice directors and the school or government finance department.
Food buys in a government or school tend to be a collaborative decision. That holds true when entities decide whether to go forward with a cooperative contract. It definitely tends to be a team effort because procurement is there to make sure that the guidelines are followed. The foodservice directors also have to participate because RFPs for food purchases have become so highly detailed. Because there are so many line items that are addressed with the food purchases, the foodservice directors’ expertise is needed throughout the process.
OMNIA Partners and US Foods are here to guide you through these challenging times and help you get the most value out of your food program. For more information, visit the OMNIA Partners website or contact your dedicated representative today.
About US Foods
As a leading food service distributor, US Foods is one of America’s great food companies partnering with approximately 250,000 chefs, restaurants and food service operators to help their businesses succeed. With nearly 25,000 employees and more than 60 locations, US Foods provides its customers with a broad and innovative food offering and a comprehensive suite of e-commerce, technology and business solutions.
About OMNIA Partners
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.