Utilizing Purchasing Cooperatives/GPO’s2015-04-23_11-00-25

Purchasing (or Buying) Cooperatives (not-for-profit) and Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO) (for-profit) are organizations that combine the buying power of many institutions to reduce costs and create efficiencies for its members.  In return the coops get a percentage of sales back from the vendors.  There is no cost to the University to participate.

TCU currently has membership in the following:

Educational and Institutional Cooperative www.eandi.org
Primary function is to satisfy the procurement needs of higher education; especially the members of the National Association of Educational Procurement.

U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance http://www.uscommunities.org/
Primary function is to satisfy the procurement needs of public agencies like cities, counties, schools, higher educational institutions, special districts, state agencies, and nonprofits

TCU can buy from any or all of these groups with no long term commitment and, generally, no minimum order.

Most of the contracts are competitively bid via Requests for Proposals and are evaluated by a lead agency or, in the case of E&I, committees made up of various university representatives. Some older contracts were negotiated, but these are going away due to public agency requirements.

If you are able to identify contracts that might benefit your department, contact Roger Fuller at extension 7199 and he will assist in setting up an account with the vendor.

Typical product portfolios include:

Office Supplies
Scientific Equipment and Supplies
Office Furniture
Classroom Furniture
Facility Management Supplies/MRO
Office Machines (copiers, mfd’s)
Information Technology Products
Multi Media Products
Athletic Training Supplies

Each cooperative has a website.  The primary use that an end user might have for these sites is to find out what types of products are available.  Some of the sites contain pricing, but most do not.  Many of the pricing structures are based on a percentage off of list prices.  The cooperative’s local representative or the chosen vendor can provide pricing information.  The Purchasing department will be happy to assist with pricing inquiries or any other questions you have about the cooperatives.

You cannot place orders through these three sites, although some contain direct links to their suppliers.  If you want to order from a particular vendor utilizing the cooperative’s pricing, an account must be set up with the vendor or, if there is an existing account, it must be converted to the new pricing.  Please contact Roger Fuller to assist in this process.

The websites have their suppliers and product categories listed as follows:

For the E&I Cooperative, place your cursor over the “Contracts” tab and you will be presented with a menu of web pages that might be of interest to you.  You can view an alpha search of vendors or view by commodity.  You should also check out the “Regional Contracts” to see if any apply to your department. There is additional information available on the E&I website for registered participants.  If you are interested in creating your own login for the E&I Cooperative, here are the steps to take:

  1. Go to the E&I website at http://www.eandi.org/
  2. In the top right hand corner click on “Request ID”
  3. On the “User ID Request” page, choose “Texas” on the “Select State” drop down menu and the page will automatically reload.
  4. Then choose “Fort Worth”, then “Texas Christian Univ”
  5. Complete your contact information and then choose which contracts you are interested in.  You can choose multiple contracts by pressing and holding the “Ctrl” key while you click on the appropriate contracts.
  6. Complete the other areas as necessary being sure to click the box certifying that you are a TCU employee.
  7. Enter a login ID and Password of your choice and then click “Submit Form”
  8. Wait for your email and you will be registered!

U.S Communities lists their product categories in an easy to use format at the top of the page.  Click on any of the categories and get detailed information.  U.S. Communities allows the primary contact to add additional users.  Contact Roger Fuller if you would like to have access to U.S. Communities’ restricted area.