By Joel Nihlean, Content Marketing Manager, Texas Association of School Boards
Big changes are coming to the BuyBoard® online platform soon. These significant upgrades will bring the ease of online shopping to government procurement while maintaining the legal compliance counties expect.
The new platform will be a welcome change for local government procurement staff who are looking for public transparency and the confidence that they can find the best price through the online system.
"With the new BuyBoard, the local government procurement and buying experience will be unlike any cooperative purchasing experience available today. Just a simple online shopping platform to connect you to vetted, compliant contracts with vendors you can trust," said Brian Bolinger, associate executive director of business services at the Texas Association of School Boards.
The August upgrade means local governments will have another edge in saving taxpayer dollars. County officials and procurement staff interested in getting a look at the new platform before it launches can visit www.buyboard.com/new to sign up for an invitation to an exclusive preview.
Internet retailers moving into public procurement has experts concerned
For more than 20 years, BuyBoard has been one of the best ways for counties and other local governments to save time and money while staying compliant in their procurement. As internet giants and online retailers who have traditionally focused on consumer goods have entered the government purchasing market, experts have raised concerns about legal compliance and other issues.
A 2018 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) outlined a series of concerns, including:
- Dynamic pricing (constantly changing prices), which means popular internet retailers can fail to secure the best price for local governments and lack pricing protections that are standard in public procurement.
- Slower delivery times for local governments because of the terms of service offered by online retailers.
- Contracts that adopt the online retailers' own terms and conditions over local governments' in a way that compromises public transparency.
The report also raises concerns about the long-term effects of local governments shifting their spending away from local office supply companies, or from chains that have local locations, to multinational online retailers who have moved their tax obligations offshore. The shift, according to the ILSR, contributes to the erosion of the local tax base.
BuyBoard brings compliant online shopping to the public procurement process
With budgets tight, staff sizes small and time always at a premium, simplicity, transparency and confidence in compliance can make the difference.
All 254 counties in Texas are required to follow procurement law. The process of do-it-yourself procurement can be labor-intensive. The work includes the following actions:
- Researching specifications of the product needed.
- Writing a request for proposal bid.
- Advertising to solicit responses.
- Receiving and evaluating responses, including checking references.
- Recommending the vendor offering the best value to the commissioners court.
- Awarding the contract.
There are additional special rules for construction procurement.
A simple, economical way to make sure your county’s purchasing is compliant is to take advantage of a cooperative purchasing organization. With BuyBoard, county procurement staff will find what they need quickly and will shop with confidence. The new BuyBoard platform includes:
- Thousands of items that have already gone through a competitive public procurement process.
- Advanced keyword search and filtering options that allow users to browse by product, vendor or contract and to quickly sort and compare results.
- A transparent procurement experience where users can see list prices, BuyBoard discounts and product price comparisons across vendors.
- Top-notch customer service, meticulous attention to compliance and request for quote and purchase order processess for the 21st century.
BuyBoard was created specifically to support and serve county governments, public schools, cities and other local government agencies. The goal is to provide competitive pricing, a trusted and transparent procurement process, reduced administrative costs and superior service.
BuyBoard is endorsed by the Texas Association of Counties, Texas Municipal League, Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards. The cooperative is also a strategic partner with the Texas Association of School Business Officials.
Visit www.buyboard.com/new to learn more about the launch of the new BuyBoard and sign up for an invitation to an exclusive preview.