State of Texas CO-OP Purchasing Saves Time, Money
Time is money, and managing money – earning, collecting and saving it – is paramount to the efficient function of local government.
Especially when they’re spending it.
“It would be extremely difficult for any county, large or small, to have competitive procurement procedures for every item to purchase,” says Martha Salazar, Hidalgo County purchasing agent. “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
The State of Texas CO-OP program helps local governments buy in bulk, cut costs and streamline their purchasing process — all while meeting their competitive bid requirements.
The Texas Comptroller’s office has created TxSmartBuy.com to allow governments to browse vendor catalogs and order hundreds of different items using a secure on-line server.
Work Already Done
The State of Texas CO-OP program, which is administered by the Texas Procurement and Support Services division, takes advantage of the state’s $13 billion purchasing power to negotiate contracts with vendors for a variety of goods and services, ranging from fleet vehicles to recycled envelopes.
Carolyn Hooper, a Montgomery County purchasing agent, says the program has helped save money by reducing time spent on buying. She says the county saved about 30 workdays on one large project by using the State of Texas CO-OP.
Salazar says a normal purchasing process, including acquiring specifications, issuing and publicizing bids and weeding through them, takes six to eight weeks. Similar purchases can be made in two weeks by using the State of Texas CO-OP.
Salazar says the program is particularly helpful in emergencies. When the county’s four precincts needed to get cracking on drainage and flood control projects in the aftermath of Hurricane Dolly-induced flooding in 2008, the program sped up the process.
“It was invaluable in getting heavy duty equipment, such as earth movers, trench boxes, dredgers, those types of things quickly,” she says.
Salazar says Hidalgo County, which has used the State of Texas CO-OP program for 20 years, receives rebates from the program for using it.
She says the county gets between $7,000-8,000 in a typical year, but got about $15,000 last year thanks to an increase in spending due to Hurricane Dolly.
Texas CO-OP Works for Hidalgo and Montgomery Counties
Hidalgo County uses State of Texas CO-OP because it:
- Meets all open bidding requirements
- Combines with the TXMAS (Texas multiple award schedule) program to earn significantly savings on heavy equipment and vehicle purchases.
- Halves the time required to make purchases.
- Reduces the cost of advertising bids by 25 percent.
- Provides rebates on money spent.
- Includes options of using local vendors.
- Allowed for quick purchases of supplies for restoration after Hurricane Dolly in 2008.
Montgomery County uses State of Texas CO-OP because it:
- Saves costs on bulk purchases and purchasing vehicles
- Procures products and services in a timely manner
- Saves money on advertising when making a CO-OP purchase.