Cooperative purchasing is a contracting option for public agencies, such as educational facilities (K-12 and higher ed.) and non-profits, to purchase equipment, products and related services without going through the time-consuming public solicitation process. Contracting agencies (Coops) such as the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) conduct a competitive solicitation process of vendors (for equipment, products, etc.) and once awarded, the vendor is contracted with the Coop at set unit prices. The Coop has already conducted the required competitive bidding process. Once a member of a Coop, schools or other public agencies can purchase from vendors at the contracted unit price, without having to put in the time/effort to conduct their own public bid process.
Cooperative Purchasing can be used by schools and towns to purchase synthetic turf and infill (materials) for athletic field installations, including running track and tennis courts. Municipalities are permitted to request a quote directly from the various coop contracted vendors for their specific products. Using this purchasing mechanism, public sector clients may save money as the costs for various products are often less than when publicly bid. This also allows the municipality to purchase the exact product they want (i.e. turf and infill) rather than settle for a product that may meet a more general public bid specification.
Gale recently assisted a local Regional High School with the purchase of materials through NJPA, the process consisted of the following:
1. Establish membership with a Coop, at no cost.
2. Review Coop’s Contract Directories to view the list of awarded vendors available. (example: NJPA)
3. Contact the vendor directly, letting them know you are interested in using their Coop contract. (Vendors will then provide you with a quote in accordance with their Coop contract and their pre-established pricing).