College Planning & Management

MAR 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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Cooperative Purchasing Cooperative purchasing is another area that large university systems have traditionally relied on to obtain better contract pricing for supplies and services. Many universities that have adopted centralized purchasing still use contracts offered by cooperative purchasing organizations because of the savings they can generate. Working with more than 2,600 education member institutions of all sizes, E&I Cooperative Purchasing, based on Long Island, serves the largest higher educational institutions in the country, such as the University of California and Texas A&M. "We've seen a lot more usage in the last couple of years," says Mary Sue Goldwater, E&I's central regional director of contracts. "We believe it's because universities are being stretched really thin with the resources on their campuses. And even though large campuses may have the volume to get good PHOTO © JACOB WACKERHAUSEN SPEND AND SAVE LET'S POOL OUR RESOURCES. A benefit of cooperative purchasing is access to expertise. Each participant may not be an expert in phone systems, technology solutions, or complex equipment, and even if you are able to draft the RFP, do you have the knowledge to confidently evaluate the responses? Cooperative agreements have undergone strict review and have been selected based on their merits to meet industry needs. contracts on their own, they find the E&I contracts save them both time and money by avoiding the RFP process." Another cooperative that works with multi-campus universities is Keystone Purchasing Network (KPN), based in Milton, PA. One of KPN's services for the Pennsylvania State University system is job order contracting, which assigns firms that do construction and renovation work at campuses that request them. "KPN can be an effective tool for universities with multiple campuses to use when they need to purchase supplies or construction-related products," says Mary Beth Brennan, a cooperative purchasing representative for KPN. In a twist on the cooperative purchasing model, the University of Colorado has in the past three years begun to invite other higher educational institutions to join in two of its own agreements with suppliers — for multifunction devices and green janitorial chemicals. In return for serving as a cooperative, the University of Colorado receives incentives from the suppliers based on the number of products sold. "We hit the market with really great pricing," says Hicks, Colorado's chief 46 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / MARCH 2013 WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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