In recent years, there has been a growing trend in the way schools are purchasing the supplies and resources they need. Now, more than ever, schools are moving away from inefficiencies in the procurement process (i.e. soliciting daily quote requests, price checking, time-intensive and costly bids) and moving towards the option of cooperative purchasing.
Simply stated, cooperative purchasing is when two or more entities combine their need for a good or service to leverage their purchasing power. It’s a classic example of strength in numbers. Cooperative purchasing comes with many benefits, such as lower pricing, lower administrative costs, improved response and competition from vendors, and significant time savings (perhaps the greatest benefit).
While there are several purchasing cooperatives doing business today, Iowa schools are fortunate enough to have one located right in their backyard – AEA Purchasing. As an initiative of Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs), the vision of AEA Purchasing is to collaborate with Iowa schools in providing a world-class student experience. Guided by strategic sourcing and sensational service, AEA Purchasing offers ethical procurement services, resources, and support to ensure prudent use of school resources.
Utilizing a competitive bid process, the staff at AEA Purchasing go to work in soliciting, bidding, evaluating, and managing service and commodity contracts with suppliers so that school procurement staff can allocate their time to more deserving areas. AEA Purchasing does the work so you don’t have to.
With eight purchasing programs and over 80 contracts, there’s a great chance that AEA Purchasing has a contract for any school’s procurement need. Their purchasing programs and awarded partners cover office/classroom supplies, school foodservice, and everything in between.
In addition to competitive pricing, AEA Purchasing also offers online shopping and order management via the AEA Purchasing Marketplace
. When using the AEA Purchasing Marketplace, shoppers can quickly compare the price of items across all awarded contracts, finding the best price with the click of a button. Shoppers can also build and transfer shopping carts for internal approvals, request quotes from multiple vendors, and track their order status all within one place.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not! AEA Purchasing is a service organization driven by the values of integrity and unity, all while remaining humble. Many of the services we provide are at low or no cost to every public and private K-12 institution in Iowa. What sets us apart from other nationally based purchasing cooperatives is that portions of every dollar spent using our contracts stays in Iowa to support the workforce and educational initiatives in the state.
For more information on the services and resources available from AEA Purchasing, visit us online at www.aeapurchasing.org
or contact Joni Puffett, Marketing & Vendor Relations Facilitator at firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you are planning on attending IASBO’s Spring conference next week, feel free to stop by our booth and visit with us in person!