Procurement collaboration in the digital age: 3 pioneering approaches from California

That there’s a lot to be gained from working together. Public procurement professionals are extremely generous with their time, and public entities are legally encouraged to collaborate. So why doesn’t collaboration happen more in practice? There isn’t enough time!

CoProcure and our friends at CAPPO (California Association of Public Procurement Officials) sat down with 3 California procurement leaders who are leveraging technology to minimize the time spent on the logistics of collaboration and maximize its value for their agencies and the public. Here’s how these leaders are pushing the boundaries of procurement collaboration in the digital age – and how you can, too.

Save time and delight end-users

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Rondell Schroeder

Purchasing Specialist

Mt. San Antonio College, CA

For Rondell, even though her community college had made cooperative procurement more permissive, finding contracts she could use was still time consuming. For instance, she recently had to purchase flooring. When she hit a dead end with a CMAS contract she’d planned to use, she turned to CoProcure. She did a quick search on CoProcure and found a University of California OMNIA contract. Rondell was able to piggyback on this contract to purchase instead of putting out a lengthy bid – exceeding expectations of her end users. They saved months of time, were able to stay on schedule, and opened a gym on time for local students.

“Has someone in my network already done this before? If so, I want to find it to achieve my goals.”

Support regional collaboration and economic development

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Maria Agrusa

Procurement Officer

Orange County, CA

Maria and her team at Orange County have launched a first-of-its kind, tech-enabled initiative to drive regional collaboration. Maria and her team led the creation of the Orange County Procurement Alliance, an alliance across the 34 local entities in the County. The Alliance aimed to facilitate better collaboration to save time, achieve cost savings, and promote local economic development within the region. But the Alliance didn’t have a mechanism for sharing information. At the 2022 CAPPO Conference in Pasadena, Maria found CoProcure and realized its technology was the missing piece. Orange County partnered with CoProcure to embed a customized version of CoProcure’s cooperative contract search engine directly on the Orange County website. This made it easier for County departments from Orange County to “meet users where they’re at” and see their own entity’s contracts, as well as members of the Alliance to discover and share contracts across the region. Additionally, these local governments are now able to discover more local and diverse suppliers they already have on contract. Win-win!

“The county has never had a contract management inventory. We are excited that we can now share each other's contracts - which we weren’t able to do before.”

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Share what’s working with other entities

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Justin Sullivan

Executive Director of Procurement

University of California

Cooperative procurement can also be a way to quickly disseminate best practices from one agency to another. University of California (UC) leverages cooperative contracts and serves as a lead agency on cooperative contracts like the Tarkett Flooring contract that Rondell at Mt. San Antonio College utilized. By serving as a lead agency with a national purchasing cooperative, UC can help other public entities take advantage of the expertise it has developed in a particular area. In this way, cooperative contracts enable public entities to share valuable “research and development” resources.

“At UC we have environmental sustainability and diversity and inclusion goals. Cooperative procurement gives you an opportunity to build those into the supplier elements you create. One example is recycled furniture and flooring, and high standards for sustainable management. We build those into the supplier program and work hard to make the sustainable programs cost competitive - which other agencies can then benefit from.”

Tech tools like CoProcure make it so easy to share contracts like UC’s by making these contracts more discoverable.

Start maximizing the value of cooperative procurement for your entity

If you’re looking to leverage the benefits of procurement collaboration to save time and delight end users, support regional collaboration, or share your expertise with the broader procurement community, CoProcure can help.

Start searching with CoProcure or schedule a demo today! It's easy and totally free for public entities.