Aquatic Play Without Going to Bid: How a Purchasing Cooperative Saves Your Community Time and Resources

Readying for next year's refurbishments or renovations? When it comes to making a bid, two options generally present themselves: a standard Request for Proposal (RFP) or purchasing cooperative. If you're already familiar with what differentiates these two avenues, the choice should be an easy one. If you're not, we'll just go ahead and spoil the rest of this article: a purchasing cooperative is always the better option!

So what exactly is a purchasing cooperative? Simply put, it's a centralized hub that lets municipalities bypass the tedious bidding process for public projects (i.e. your splash pad or swimming pool). The cooperative, which is member-owned, does all the work to provide taxpayers with the best possible value. To give you a better understanding of how the process plays out and what makes it so superior, here are a few reasons why a purchasing cooperative is the way to go.

  • A Purchasing Cooperative Saves You Money: Cooperatives aggregate purchasing power. In other words, if multiple aquatic facilities are bidding for a product or service, a cooperative has the potential to consolidate the bids. This means bigger contracts for the vendors/suppliers, which in turn translates to greater savings for your community. Moreover, purchasing cooperatives are generally free to join and do not require purchasing commitments. So right off the bat, you've got nothing to lose.  
  • It Also Saves You Time: Acquiring contracts through the RFP process can be a tedious undertaking that drags on and on. Considered the amount of research and negotiations that go into developing a winning contract. A cooperative performs all these administrative tasks for you, eliminating the unnecessary prep work and back-and-forth between you and the supplier or service provider. Also worth noting is that within a cooperative's highly competitive framework, bid responses are greater and response times are quicker.  

  • Cooperative Contracts are Value-based: With an RFP, the selection process is often determined by the least expensive solution. This sole criterium is shortsighted for municipalities with complex requirements. Best price doesn't always mean the best value and all too often, communities are left with water-play installations that don't live up to the expectations of facility directors and, most importantly, families. With a cooperative, competitive bids always put value before purchase price, ensuring every key need is met.   
  • It Provides Greater Transparency: Cooperatives not only streamline your bidding process; they also offer a level of transparency that you just don't get with the RFP process. All the safeguards that go into a cooperative procurement are built around public trust. Independent audits, best-value practices and high-competition contracting ensure that tax dollars are being properly allocated and that all federal, state/provincial and municipal transparency regulations are being met.

 If you're considering integrating a Vortex aquatic play structure int your facility without having to issue an RFP, you're in luck. We work with a slew of purchasing cooperatives throughout both Canada and the US. The RFP process is can be a costly, resource-draining endeavor with unpredictable results. By streamlining the entire bidding process, a purchasing cooperative cleans out the clutter so that you can get back to focusing on the big picture!