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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.2A 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.3Some 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.