Meet the Pros: Airport Embarks on Unified Course
Airport Purchasing Embarks on Unified Course
Under the formation of a cooperative alliance, the Airport Purchasing Group (APG) provides a runway for procurement efficiency
Photo courtesy of the Greater Orlando (FL) Aviation Authority.
The flight plan of the Airport Purchasing Group (APG) is relatively simple. By banding together, airport purchasing professionals can share knowledge and streamline methods to cut costs.
“Our focus is on sharing information to help each other on current concerns and on providing information on improving processes and efficiency,” says David R. Wagner, who serves as APG President, as well as Purchasing Manager for the Greater Orlando (FL) Aviation Authority.
Initial groundwork for the association was launched in 1999, when a core group of purchasing representatives from nine airports met at Orlando International Airport. Meetings were held regular-ly thereafter, and the Airport Purchasing Group, Inc., became legally incorporated in May 2001.
The APG offers membership to anyone involved in some aspect of purchasing for an airport. Currently, the group’s roster includes 156 members from 32 states and provinces, including airport agencies in the United States, Canada, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Member agencies range from city or county airports to port authorities, airport commissions, or state departments of transportation.
Membership dues are $50 a year for each entity. “Dues are purposely kept low to encourage participation by airports of all sizes,” Wagner notes.
In their jobs as airport purchasing professionals, members procure a wide range of products and services necessary to operate an airport and maintain the buildings and grounds—from airfield lighting, security systems, and baggage-handling equipment to construction or concession services.
By joining the APG, members can access a range of resources, including an e-mail membership list to collaborate with other airport purchasers.
“Members regularly query the group with questions relating to a current purchase or issue, and they receive numerous responses on how others resolved the same or similar purchase or issue,” Wagner states. “Chances are that if an airport has a new purchasing requirement, one or more of our members has experience with that requirement and can be counted on to provide advice if asked.”
“Sharing formats, documents, sup-pliers, and processes via e-mail or at meetings has saved time and effort for many of us and has improved our efficiency in carrying out our individual job responsibilities,” Wagner adds.
Soaring Toward Liaisons
To expand their horizons, APG members can attend semi-annual meetings to participate in roundtable discussions or learn from a wealth of presentations. Covered topics range from insurance and legal requirements to environmentally sensitive purchasing.
The next APG meeting will be held in Vancouver, Canada, from April 30 through May 2, 2003. The second APG meeting is held each fall, complementing APG’s affiliation with the National Purchasing Institute (NPI).
As an NPI partner, APG holds its fall meeting immediately prior to or after the NPI convention to encourage attendance at both educational events. The APG also promotes NPI’s Achievement of Excellence in Procurement award program, as part of the joint affiliation.
This year, NPI’s annual conference and product exposition will be held October 19 to 23, in Austin, TX.
“We do not compete in any way with the NPI, NIGP, ISM, or other purchasing associations,” Wagner says. “We support the professional certification programs of all these organizations and benefit from not having to duplicate training they conduct. Most of our members belong to one or more of those organizations.”
In addition, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, APG held a jointly sponsored meeting with the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). During the meeting, security firms presented their products, and members discussed the impact of 9/11 on airports.
The APG is currently evaluating the feasibility of cooperative purchasing programs for security equipment and other products or services.
“Cooperative purchasing is a complex process for an organization spanning a continent, two countries, and many political subdivisions,” Wagner says. He adds that varying approval requirements among airports pose specific challenges.
However, diversity among members can also provide benefits.
“APG members are exposed to different ways of doing things and creative ways to solve their individual problems,” Wagner explains. “This takes place due to the mix of large and small organizations, airports operated by authorities, cities, and counties, publicly-run or private.”
Whatever the size of airport, APG can provide mission-critical information to procurement professionals.
|For more information about the Airport Purchasing Group (APG), visit www.airport purchasinggroup.org on the Internet, or contact Tammy Ma, APG Secretary, via e-mail: [email protected]. For questions about joining the APG, e-mail Joanne Machold, Member-ship Chairperson: [email protected]|