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National Cooperative FAQ

 

The BuyBoard National Purchasing Cooperative is an administrative agency created in accordance with Maryland and Rhode Island state statutes. Its purpose is to obtain the benefits and efficiencies that can accrue to members of a cooperative, to comply with state bidding requirements, and to identify qualified vendors of commodities, goods, and services. The Cooperative also relieves the burdens of governmental purchasing by effectively using current technology and realizing economies of scale.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) administer and handle the day-to-day activities of the Cooperative. The Cooperative is sponsored by a number of state school boards associations and other state trade/education associations from across the country. The Cooperative is governed by an nine-member board of directors composed of members and the organizing state associations.

Membership is free and open to all types of local government agencies. Revenue to operate the system and the Cooperative comes primarily from a service fee payable by participating vendors. The only exceptions to this are for vehicles. The Cooperative charges a flat amount per purchase order, regardless of the number of vehicles on the purchase order, as a service fee for the purchase of vehicles. This service fee is payable by the member entity but is collected by the vehicle dealer as part of the overall vehicle price. The flat amount per purchase order is as follows:

  • Vehicles and trucks - $400
  • Ambulances and school buses - $800
  • Fire apparatus - $1,500.

The Cooperative analyzes and makes award recommendations for products and services that have been submitted through a competitive proposal invitation process.

All awarded items or catalogs will be posted on a secure website, called the BuyBoard, so that Cooperative members can search for and select items. The BuyBoard is only available to members.

Each user has a security role, defined by the entity that allows them to shop, and/or transmit a purchase order to the vendor. Individuals can be assigned multiple roles or a single role, such as a shopper only. Only those individuals with the authority to transmit a purchase order to a vendor will have the ability to do so.

The other option is to simply e-mail your purchase order to the BuyBoard for input.

An automated request for quote (RFQ) function allows members who buy in volume to create a request for a selected item and select the vendors from whom they want to solicit a price quote. When the RFQ closes and vendors have responded, the system automatically tabulates the results. For any large-volume purchases, the RFQ process allows for additional price concessions from awarded Cooperative vendors without members going through the formal competitive bid process themselves.

For governmental entities, membership is as easy as completing the required fields to execute the National Purchasing Cooperative Interlocal Participation Agreement on the "How to Join" page and submitting. Your entity can join the Cooperative at any time.

Nonprofit entities are not eligible for Cooperative membership but may use the BuyBoard by completing the Nonprofit Subscriber Agreement.

As many as you choose to authorize. There is no limit on the number each entity can authorize. All employees can be issued passwords to search and shop for products without any compromise to the purchasing process.

A variety of products is available at discounts from manufacturers' prices. Members can elect to do all their purchasing from these discounted catalogs or only purchase selected items. After becoming a member, you choose how to participate, product category by product category, item by item.

  1. Advertisements are placed in 11 newspapers across Texas for once a week for two weeks.
  2. The proposal invitation and specification document is posted to the website at www.vendor.buyboard.com. Registered vendors with BuyBoard are notified via e-mail regarding the proposal opportunity. 
  3. Electronic vendor responses are received. Vendor responses received after the due date and time are not opened.
  4. Proposals are reviewed, tabulated, and analyzed based on the criteria outlined in the proposal terms and conditions, and a scoring matrix is used to rank the criteria. 
  5. Recommendations are prepared and presented to the Cooperative Board for consideration of award.

The Cooperative evaluates vendor proposals on the basis of best value to Cooperative members. As a general matter, the Cooperative makes competitive and indefinite quantity awards to vendors that give the same or better discounts/pricing than they give their best governmental clients. Each vendor proposal is evaluated on its own merit and is determined to be fair and reasonable. Discount practices may be examined and evaluated based on historical data, sales information, discounts granted to other governmental clients, and other market research techniques. The Cooperative may award to multiple vendors supplying comparable products or services, known as a multiple award schedule, or award to a single vendor. The Cooperative’s decision to make multiple or single awards is based on the type of award that provides the best value to all Cooperative members. 

Yes, the final decision as to the best overall offer, both in terms of price and suitability of the proposed products or services to meet the needs of and provide the best value to Cooperative members, rests solely with the Cooperative’s Board of Directors. The Cooperative Board does not delegate authority to award contracts.

If the Cooperative member cannot resolve the problem directly with the vendor, members are encouraged to let Cooperative staff know.

We encourage their participation. In fact, by participating, your vendors may have greater business opportunities with a wider variety of local governments. We also would encourage your vendors to register with the Cooperative to receive notice of proposal invitation opportunities.

The overall objective of the Cooperative is to provide a mechanism for all local governments to pool their collective purchasing power. Cooperatives save money in two primary fashions: the price of the product purchased and/or in the administrative cost savings from eliminating a formal RFP process. Of course, there are no guaranteed savings, but cooperative buying power is a time-tested method of savings.