Experienced procurement professionals know that no matter how smoothly things are going, someone in your agency probably thinks that you can do better, delivering what they need faster, cheaper, and better.
But fleet procurement isn’t like buying a personal car. You face strict requirements in understanding, applying, and complying with agency and government rules and many aspects of the law. Being a responsible steward of public money is one of your most important responsibilities.
Despite the challenges, the most successful procurement managers are always looking for ways to improve. One source of potential improvement to help make your stakeholders happy is cooperative purchasing. It provides the “killer app” as you determine how to improve procurement strategy across your agency.
Taking a cooperative approach simplifies and streamlines various processes in acquiring vehicles for your fleet, saving you time and money and supplying your agency partners with what they need to serve the public.
Here are three benefits that emerge from cooperative purchasing, enabling you to obtain vehicles faster, at a lower cost, and when needed.
Short procurement cycles
Piggybacking on cooperative contracts allows fleet and procurement managers to compress cycle times in their procurement challenges, in comparison to conducting in-house solicitations. Cooperative purchasing turns the contracting process upside down. Rather than focusing on seeking quotes, bids, or proposals, fleet managers can move quickly to obtain quotes after becoming a member of a cooperative agency or contract. The pre-bid work is behind you.
In essence, cooperative purchasing enables you to select the products and services that you need from a larger contract/purchasing catalog or database. With cooperative contracts, you can tap into a vendor base that’s already been qualified. It’s not quite like buying what you need off the shelf, but it’s close. You will still have much to discuss with cooperative contract managers, such as contract documentation and pricing, but it will be a discussion that moves you much closer to an outcome than doing it in-house.
Be careful in understanding what type of cooperatives you may be joining, as procedures can differ. These types include piggyback contracting, true cooperatives, and third-party aggregators.
The most significant time savings comes from joining cooperative contracts, specifically those organized by agencies such as Sourcewell or via piggybacking on contracts from other agencies.
In the long run, either model provides a roadmap of ideas for improving public procurement strategy and better serving your internal partners.
Convenience and efficiency
Another way that cooperative contracts help you purchase vehicles for teams faster is by providing streamlined processes, getting you through the steps of the procurement quicker and more efficiently.
For example, public agencies participating in cooperative contracts can reduce or eliminate the amount of time spent on pre-bid research needed for in-house contracting. The contract vehicle is established and ready for use in a cooperative contract; the pre-bid work is done.
One area for economies of scale is compliance. Most laws require public agencies to bid competitively for their purchases, and a cooperative contract has already been legally vetted for you to use.
Cooperative purchasing can also show you how to improve your public procurement strategy by offering a pathway to satisfy other priorities, such as vehicle standardization, service contracts, and vehicle replacement cycles.
Having these issues thought through before you engage helps save time and focuses your efforts on your client's needs.
Saving money for your agencies
By learning how to improve procurement strategy through cooperative purchasing, you and your team can save your agency and its stakeholders money.
Cooperative contracts inherently create significant economies of scale for vendors. Their whole purpose is to aggregate demand and provide procurement pros and fleet directors with a ready-made database of qualified vendors. Since cooperative contracts offer the potential for high volumes, thousands of potential sellers may take interest. Certain contract vehicles may reach as many as 50,000 agency buyers.
Cooperative contracts are often marketed nationally, making it easier to aggregate the supply and push toward lower costs. With more bidders pursuing large-volume bids, you can obtain substantial unit cost savings and do so faster, since the contracts are already in place.
You also save money by creating more efficiencies in your operations. Since time is money and in-house solicitations require staff time and resources to manage, cooperative contracting enables you to reallocate resources to where they are better utilized.
As a result, your cost-per-unit for the vehicle that you need is lowered by reducing the time it takes to close on a purchase, as well as your administrative overhead.
Let Sourcewell help improve your public procurement strategy
With more than forty years of experience, Sourcewell is dedicated to helping public fleet managers in government and education operate more efficiently.
The Sourcewell team specializes in contract purchasing solutions solicited competitively across the nation, with hundreds of contracts awarded and delivered through local dealers. Cooperative purchasing offers choice, value, and peace of mind. Search Sourcewell’s contracts to expand your purchasing options.
Here at Sourcewell, we help public agency buyers procure fleet vehicles faster by fulfilling the time-consuming bid process for them. Through cooperative contracts, we expedite the fleet vehicle procurement process so you can better serve your teams.
Want a faster procurement process? Contact one of our specialists today to buy the fleet solutions you need!