How to Leverage E&I’s Cooperative Buying Benefits in Higher Education

While buyers can purchase goods or services, procurement teams have to manage the entire procurement vs purchasing process. This means end-to-end sourcing, negotiating, contracting, and managing vendor relationships. Cooperative buying streamlines the entire process by making pre-negotiated contracts available, generally at significantly discounted prices.

E&I Cooperative Services® is a member-driven organization that focuses exclusively on procurement for educational institutions. We understand the challenges in higher education procurement and have the expertise to maximize your results.

Leveraging E&I’s Cooperative Buying Expertise in Higher Education Procurement

Save Money

E&I aggregates purchases across its 6,000 members to leverage bulk-buying power. Combining purchases of multiple colleges and universities produces cost savings that might be difficult to achieve on your own.

This produces significant cost savings on the purchase of goods and services. You can also reduce administrative overhead costs by eliminating the time-consuming practice of crafting and evaluating RFPs. Additionally, As a nonprofit, member-owned organization, E&I members aren’t charged fees, which typically isn’t the case for most group purchasing organizations (GPOs).

Save Time

Cooperative buying significantly accelerates the procurement process. When you need to make a purchase, you can review a list of ready-to-use contracts and compare them to the pricing you normally get. If the pricing is better, you can opt-in to the contract and move forward immediately. It’s also crucial to remember that time is money as well, and even if you’re not seeing the cheapest price, you can rest assured knowing E&I has handled the competitive solicitation process for you.

Cooperative buying is especially useful when you need to make an emergency purchase, are dealing with tight deadlines, or are managing with limited staff or budget resources.

Each E&I contract is competitively solicited to meet both public and private institution compliance and diversity requirements. Validated by the Institute for Public Procurement, practices comply with generally accepted public procurement standards. This includes RFP development, issuing and advertising, and evaluating and awarding of contracts.

Get Rebates and Incentives

Many E&I’s suppliers offer exclusive contract incentives or rebates. There are also some options for creating revenue-producing programs.

In addition, E&I provides members with patronage refunds based on board approval. That means you share in the proceeds in the form of cash or equity in the organization.

Diverse Suppliers

E&I can also help higher education institutions meet their goals for supplier diversity without sacrificing cost savings. A McKinsey study of minority and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) reported an 8.5% savings during the procurement process.

E&I updates its portfolio of Tier 1 diverse suppliers and strives to establish relationships with suppliers who offer diverse spending solutions.  

Leverage Best Practices

Another significant benefit of working with E&I is the ability to tap into a broad cross-section of peers. Members have deep experience in higher education procurement and can help brainstorm ideas or provide suggestions to improve operations or overcome unique challenges.

Many members of the E&I staff come from member institutions with years of experience leading higher education procurement programs.

Use Strategic Spend Assessments

A Strategic Spend Assessment (SSA) is a powerful tool to look for potential cost savings. Available to E&I members, an SSA is a structured review process that analyzes spending data against available contracts. This process often produces significant cost reductions. The data also helps colleges and universities to refine their sourcing and purchasing processes for the future.

All E&I contracts have pre-established pricing, terms, and conditions, making them easy to purchase. Cross-catalog searching helps you find exactly what you want. Purchases can be made using P-cards or purchase orders. You also have the option to submit RFQs and RFIs.

If you are using an ERP, you can integrate at low or no cost and manage approval workflows and punchouts.

Trust E&I Cooperative Services for Higher Education Procurement

Your college or university can become an E&I Cooperative Services member at no cost with no minimum purchasing requirements. By working as an extension of your procurement department, E&I can help you save time and money and meet your commitments.

Contact E&I Cooperative Services today to discuss your higher education procurement needs.


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