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The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing defines cooperative purchasing as “the combining of requirements of two or more political entities in order to obtain the benefits of volume purchases and/or reduction in administrative expenses.”1

Cooperative purchasing requires individual purchasing units in multiple government environments to have a willingness to look beyond individual preferences with regard to detailed specifications, preferred product brand names, etc.2  A variety of arrangements can be used whereby two or more units purchase from the same supplier using a single IFB/RFP as the basis of the contract documents or cooperative pricing agreements.3  Some possible objectives of cooperative purchasing are:

  • Lower prices from competition for larger volumes.                   
  • Reduced administrative costs—one organization handles bidding process.
  • Combined expertise of many purchasing professionals.                         
  • More favorable terms and conditions (e.g.,possible lower freight costs)

            1National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, The Dictionary of Purchasing Terms, 8.

            2National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Advanced Public Procurement, (Herndon, VA: 2001) 16-17.

            3ibid, 16.