County participates in procurement program
For Hennepin County, Minn., obtaining office supplies was a long process, and, because the county was limited to accepting local bids, it was not getting competitive prices. To speed up the procedure and to save money, the city joined the Government Purchasing Alliance (GPA), which assists public agencies in reducing the cost of purchasing goods.
The GPA uses the collective purchasing power of public agencies nationwide to win lower prices from vendors. There is no fee for local government agencies to participate.
Before joining the alliance, Hennepin County purchased office supplies from a local retailer using an inefficient paper-based system. A typical requisition would take up to seven days to process, and the city did not receive a substantial discount. “Typically, we were involved in contracts of a local nature, but we wanted to include a national scope to get some cost savings,” says Mike Scanlan, senior buyer for Hennepin County.
By joining the GPA, the purchasing division was able to use a competitively bid contract from its office supplier, which is one of GPA’s vendors. The division now spends 10 percent less than what it previously spent on office supplies. Additionally, the division saves time ordering supplies by using the company’s proprietary Web site. Upon requisition approval, city employees can order items from the Web site with a secure code and receive their orders the next business day.
The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based GPA was formed by the National Association of Counties, the United States Conference of Mayors and the Herndon, Va.-based National Institute of Governmental Purchasing. For more information about the GPA, visit the organization’s Web site at www.uscommunities.org.