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Succeeding in Agency Partnerships

Succeeding in Agency Partnerships

Procurement is changing. Reduced budgets and economic downturns have shifted the focus for government purchasing officials to lowering costs, saving time and working with limited resources. Local public purchasing organizations are turning to regional purchasing groups powered by SourceSuite to access a larger network of suppliers and increase efficiency through shared resources. These bid systems unite a group of local government agencies from a specific region or state on a centralized, cloud-based e-procurement platform.

Combined Resources Creates Efficient Bidding

SourceSuite purchasing groups offer local government agencies an opportunity to leverage their buying power. By combining resources, public purchasing entities generate a single vendor database to increase supplier competition and drive down pricing. Member agencies may also utilize shared resources archived within a purchasing group. Past documents including bid specs, addenda and award information are available for viewing. In addition, purchasing group agencies are given access to BidNet's national library of archived bid and RFP documents. As purchasing director for Chaves County, Tammy Brisco West has become more efficient in her bid specification writing process by having access to shared resources via the New Mexico Purchasing Group, powered by SourceSuite. "I can go into the bid library and get a minimum of 3-5 past bids that are similar to what I'm looking to send out. It's extremely helpful," Brisco West said.

Joining a SourceSuite Purchasing Group

SourceSuite currently hosts 15 purchasing groups across the United States. Its Empire State Purchasing Group has grown to nearly 150 local governments throughout New York State. Over 45,000 solicitations have been posted on the New York bid system. SourceSuite's MITN Purchasing Group, serving the state of Michigan, has nearly 120 local government agencies actively publishing bids and RFPs through the e-procurement system. The MITN purchasing group has surpassed 8,000 registered active suppliers, of which 67% are local vendors within the state of Michigan. Regional purchasing groups are configurable based on specifications provided by the founding purchasing organizations. For example, SourceSuite's Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing Group connects local government agencies across the states of Colorado and Wyoming, while the Morris County Online Bid System is targeted specifically to the region of Morris County, New Jersey.

A Customer's Prospective

Judson Crane, Director of Purchasing for the Santa Rosa County School Board in Florida, has seen the powerful effects of joining a regional purchasing group. Crane said the purchasing group works to "empower not only our own agency, but all agencies within the Florida Panhandle, by giving them access to a system that we control, is easy-to-use and saves us all time, money and resources." Santa Rosa County School Board is a founding agency of SourceSuite's Florida Purchasing Group, now utilized by 20 local government agencies. "I don't think it will be long before purchasing professionals and vendors alike wonder how we ever existed without this type of system," Crane stated.

The Future of Public Purchasing

SourceSuite regional purchasing groups are paving the way to the future for procurement professionals. Local government agencies are partnering to not only improve their own efficiencies, but also to make it easier for vendors to do business with them. It's a solution that saves valuable time and resources for both vendors and buyers involved in the purchasing process. "The benefits to participation in the procurement network and sharing resources with other agencies are tremendous. [Our agency] has been able to lower costs for both our agency and its vendors -- which is critical in the current economic climate," remarked Mike McElgunn, Purchasing Manager, Detroit Public Library, utilizing the MITN Purchasing Group.

Existing purchasing groups and all participating government agencies can be found online. If your region is not currently represented, a configurable procurement solution for buyers and suppliers in your area is simply waiting for you to take the first step.

Mike Nolan | sourcesuite.com

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