Skip to Content

On the podcast: How cooperative bids boost efficiency and impact

August 5, 2021 | Bonfire Interactive

Procurement team working on a cooperative bid for their county

Public sector budgets may be bouncing back in 2021 but, no matter what, agencies are always under pressure to give taxpayers more bang for their buck.

Driving value increasingly requires creative solutions, which is why more and more procurement teams are turning to cooperative bids. But how do they work? And how can you show taxpayers measurable results?

In our first episode of Inside Public Procurement, we’re joined by Jennifer Frates, Chief Procurement Officer at Barnstable County and President of the Cape Cod Association of Public Procurement Officials (CCAPPO).

Jennifer discusses the value of cooperative bids and shares her experience leading collaborative purchasing for the 15 towns in her county. Plus, she gives us her insights from 15 years in the field, breaking down the importance of transparent reporting and the role of technology in public procurement today.

Tune into episode one on our website or wherever you get your podcasts!

powered by Sounder

The scoop on coops

Many public organizations use cooperative bids, or coops, to optimize how taxpayer dollars are spent—and unlock better pricing too. But did you know they can also strengthen your organizational capacity?

In this episode of the podcast, Jennifer explains how agencies drive more efficient processes, eliminate duplication of effort, and save time when they work together—a strategy that’s especially valuable if you don’t have a dedicated procurement department.

Barnstable County has seen these benefits firsthand thanks to cooperative contracts with the 15 towns in the county. Plus, Jennifer says it’s been a win for continuity planning. “The more collaboration and involvement from different towns, the more that institutional knowledge will have a better chance of staying.”

Time-saving technology

Along with the efficiencies created by cooperative contracts, Barnstable has seen big time savings in other areas over the past year. Jennifer says moving procurement processes online and working remotely has totally transformed how her team collaborates with the towns in the area, internal clients, evaluators, and vendors, allowing them to “do a lot more with less.”

“Even now as people are starting to go back in person, I’m hoping that [remote work] is one of those efficiencies that we keep a little bit longer,” Jennifer says. “I can’t even begin to talk about the benefits of having that extra time.”

Let’s get transparent

As her organization realizes more time and cost savings thanks to strategic purchasing and streamlined processes, Jennifer says she wants to be as transparent as possible about the value of those wins.

While they may not be the decision-makers, procurement provides “a service that’s probably just as important as any elected official,” she says. “It’s not only the compliance, but also data and reporting. And, with that, [elected officials] can make better decisions, save money, and provide services for their constituents based on the savings we’ve made.” 

Jennifer says it’s in agencies’ best interests to use their data to report back to stakeholders. By demonstrating how their strategy spends taxpayer dollars responsibly, they can win confidence and show the real value of procurement.

Listen today

Tune into episode one today for our full chat with Jennifer—and more tips, insights, and inspiration you can use to level up your procurement strategy.

Hungry for more in-the-field insights from the world of public procurement? Head over to our website, or find Inside Public Procurement on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts!

About the author

Bonfire Interactive blog author default

Bonfire Interactive

Bonfire helps public procurement teams reach better sourcing outcomes through an experience that’s blazingly fast, powered by peer insights, and so easy to use—vendors love it just as much as buyers do.