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Public purchasing professionals in Ohio have been working together to improve procurement strategies and internal best practices, with impressive results. By collaborating with other buying organizations throughout Ohio, public agencies can keep up-to-date with new purchasing policies, learn new cost-cutting strategies, and improve process efficiency during purchasing with e-procurement. Local associations including NIGP & NPI provide purchasing professionals the opportunity to further their education through structured meetings and classes, and to develop working relationships with other procurement specialists from across the state. These organizations foster an environment of innovation in strategic public procurement but what if this type of collaboration could be done in real time?
States and municipalities across the United States are increasingly turning to local and regional suppliers to provide the goods and services needed to fulfill the hundreds of Requests for Proposals published by governments each year. In the wake of economic recession, regional governments in the U.S. are more focused than ever on improving efficiency in public spending and investing in local communities. As these governments adopt policies to promote local sourcing and invest resources in technologies to facilitate bid management, it is clear that the trend toward efficient and transparent regional purchasing is accelerating.
Local and small businesses are an important part of the American economy. According to the SBA, small businesses make up 54% of all sales annually within the United States. In the public purchasing sector, our state and local governments procure billions of dollars worth of goods and services every year, many of which are sourced from local businesses within their region. A majority of states - 37 out of 50 - have laws or policies that favor local vendors when sourcing public purchases. Countless local governments including counties, municipalities and school districts have followed suit and compiled their own vendor preference policies. How do local government purchasing professionals maintain a local vendor preference while ensuring a healthy level of competition?
In the fall of 2008, the world watched as the U.S. subprime housing market collapsed and the country entered what would become a protracted recession. Soon after the crisis began, the once-venerable investment bank Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and insurance giant AIG announced that they would be seeking massive taxpayer-funded bailouts.
In recent years, there has been significant progress made by federal, state and local governments in adopting transparent purchasing processes as part of a shift towards a philosophy of 'open government'. From the passing of new legislation to improve oversight of government purchasing programs, to technology-driven initiatives designed to push obscure procurement data into the public sphere for increased scrutiny, it is an exciting time for anyone interested in efficiency and accountability in government purchasing.