Co-ops & Contracts

Why to Consider Procurement with Purchasing Contracts

What is the definition of procurement?

Procurement is a method by which organizations, particularly schools and government entities, purchase goods and equipment. It is a strategic process that involves research, negotiation and planning which can require a significant amount of time. It is important to note that procurement is separate from purchasing. While purchasing falls under the procurement umbrella, it involves how products and services are ordered, received and paid for. It is strictly transactional and occurs after the procurement process takes place.

Cooperative purchasing is an arrangement between multiple entities like schools, government and other organizations to combine demand in order to secure the lowest prices possible. Alone, each has less negotiating leverage for better pricing with their lower volume needs. For example, a school district or government agency simply may not be large enough to justify volume purchases to earn pricing discounts.

What are the benefits of using a cooperative purchasing contract?

With a cooperative purchasing contract, participants enjoy reduced pricing from suppliers. The purchasing contract represents the needs of a specific industry, like schools, to ensure there is sufficient volume to be competitive. With membership, a school can:

  • Save time. The hours spent on planning, researching and negotiating can be countless.
  • Conserve financial resources. Saving staff hours on the pre-work allows time to be redirected to other school needs.
  • Gain assistance. Purchasing cooperatives are administered by knowledgeable personnel who are available to support members.
  • Secure competitive pricing. Aggregating demand boosts volume to drive down supplier pricing for all members to take advantage of.
  • Work with credible vendors. All suppliers are fully vetted and measured against a strict set of requirements prior to approval.
  • Enjoy quality products and services. Working with vetted suppliers ensures peace of mind that the products and services are among the best.

What are some examples of cooperative purchasing contracts for those in education, government or nonprofit?

Cooperative purchasing contracts are designed to serve a particular niche to take advantage of economies of scale. By joining forces, larger volumes of common supplies and services are leveraged to secure lower pricing than would be obtained as separate entities. In the education, government and nonprofit sectors there are many options available for cooperative purchasing at both the national, regional and state level, including:

To learn more about the many options available with cooperative purchasing reach out to our experienced contracts team at 1-800-260-2776 or

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