What is Cooperative Purchasing?
GSA Schedule | 4 Min Read
The GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program allows federal agencies and other eligible entities to purchase products and services from commercial businesses, but what about state and local governments? State and local government entities have their own contract vehicles, but they can also purchase under the GSA MAS Program with certain stipulations. While they do not have access to everything on the GSA Schedule, they can purchase from certain categories determined under the Cooperative Purchasing Program.
The Cooperative Purchasing Program expands the market for GSA Schedule contractors and provides valuable access to products and services for state and local governments, but what is it exactly? At Winvale, we know it’s an important opportunity for GSA Schedule contractors, so let’s break down the components of the program:
What is Cooperative Purchasing?
The General Services Administration’s (GSA) Cooperative Purchasing Program allows state and local governments to access critical information technology (IT) and law enforcement products, services, and integrated solutions that help support their daily mission.
State and local governments can use GSA’s Cooperative Purchasing Program for certain Schedule purchases, such as purchases under Large Category F (Information Technology) under Section 211 of the E-Government Act of 2002, and Large Category J (Security and Protection) under the 1122 Program established in 2008.
Eligibility Requirements for Cooperative Purchasing
The General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM) offers the following definition of state and local governments:
"The States of the United States, counties, municipalities, cities, towns, townships, tribal governments, public authorities (including public or Indian housing agencies under the United States Housing Act of 1937), school districts, colleges, and other institutions of higher education, council of governments (incorporated or not), regional or interstate government entities, or any agency or instrumentality of the preceding entities (including any local educational agency or institution of higher education), and including legislative and judicial departments."
Eligible educational institutions that meet the threshold for Cooperative Purchasing include the following per 40 U.S.C § 502 (c):
- Education Institutions (elementary, middle, and high school) operated by Public School Boards
- Public Colleges, Community Colleges, and Technical Colleges
- Public universities that provide at least a two-year program that offers a degree or offers credit toward such a degree
It's important to keep in mind that while the threshold for Cooperative Purchasing eligibility is largely encompassing, the term does not extend to contractors or grantees for state and local government. If you are curious about whether an agency is eligible for Cooperative Purchasing through GSA MAS, you can submit an eligibility request for further information.
What Can State and Local Governments Purchase Using Cooperative Purchasing?
State and local government customers can utilize Cooperative Purchasing for a variety of product offerings available under legacy Schedule 70 (Large Category F) and 84 (Large Category J). It is worth mentioning that the scope of Cooperative Purchasing was previously aligned to the legacy Special Item Numbers (SINs) under Schedule 70 and 84, but is now aligned to match specific SINs under GSA consolidation.
GSA has provided the program scope on their website to include the following GSA Schedule product offerings available for state and local customers using Cooperative Purchasing:
- IT products, services, and solutions
- Mobile device and mobile application management (MDM/MAM) tools
- Automated data processing equipment (firmware)
- Law enforcement and security products, services, and solutions
- Security and law enforcement equipment
- Alarm and signal systems
- Facility management systems
- Firefighting and rescue equipment
- Law enforcement and security equipment
- Marine craft and related equipment
- Special purpose clothing
- Related services
What Are the Benefits of Cooperative Purchasing for State and Local Governments?
While state and local governments certainly have the autonomy to purchase the products, services, and integrated solutions they need to support their mission statement directly through their own contract vehicles, Cooperative Purchasing provides many features and benefits that serve as a value-add.
Some of the benefits for state and local governments are as follows:
- A myriad of solutions to meet information technology, law enforcement, and security needs.
- Standardized pricing that has fair ceiling prices and may offer additional discounts.
- Value-added features such as warranty, commercial terms and conditions, and expected delivery date with tracking information provided.
- Complimentary access to GSA eTools such as GSA Advantage!, eLibrary, and eBuy that come with free training on how to use these innovative procurement portals.
Since Cooperative Purchasing lends state and local government entities access to all these features, it’s important for your company to take advantage of this GSA program.
How Your Business Can Benefit from Cooperative Purchasing
Cooperative Purchasing expands the market available for your company as state and local customers can utilize the program to purchase IT and security products off your GSA Contract Vehicle. While there is certainly room for the program to expand to encompass more legacy Schedules beyond Schedule 70 and 84, the benefits for state and local government agencies should not be ignored.
With standardized pricing, rapid delivery, and total solutions available to state and local government customers, your company should take advantage of this and many other Cooperative Purchasing programs that exist.
About Bradley Wyatt
Bradley Wyatt is an Account Manager for Winvale’s Public Sector Technology department where he manages partner accounts as part of Winvale’s Schedule 70 Information Technology. Bradley is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia and a graduate from James Madison University with his Bachelor’s of Science in Public Policy and Administration.