State Spending Becomes More Efficient

The quest for improved government efficiency has never been more important than in the fiscally challenging world we currently live in. Since 2009, the Texas Procurement and Support Services Division (TPASS) of the Comptroller’s office, which handles non-delegated state purchasing and operates the State of Texas CO-OP for local government entities, has operated the TxSmartBuy.com online ordering system. It allows state agencies, universities and all levels of local government to get online and order their items at one time. For an extreme example, they would be able to order pencils and road asphalt at one time in one transaction.

State agencies and local governments have been able to adapt to the TxSmartBuy system by learning its efficiencies. A purchaser can order multiple items and roll them into one transaction, instead of needing six purchasers for multiple purchases — efficiency is greatly increased and costs are reduced.

State obtains discounts for TxSmartBuy customers

All levels of government are helped by the TxSmartBuy system on our discounts for volume purchasing. Vendors often will give tiered discounts based on the level of spend through our contract. For example: if there is $1 million in spend, they may give 1 percent discount; if there is $5 million in spend, they may give 5 percent discount. Because TxSmartBuy tracks every purchase through the system at the state and local level, we are able to make sure the vendor is giving us the exact discount that is required by the contract.

Better bidding practices produce better contracts

The process for awarding state contracts also has changed for the better. Previously, the state would put out a solicitation and vendors would submit a single priced bid; the state would go with the lowest-priced vendor.

In past couple of years, the process has been changed as contracts have come up for renewal. Now state purchasers put a solicitation for proposals, and review the vendors’ responses.

“We will actually come up with a competitive range of vendors that we think will match the best range of value to the state,” says “TPASS Director Ron Pigott. “We will sit down with them, we will talk with them, we will help them understand the requirements of the state contract.

“We will negotiate their pricing with them and give them a chance to come back with another dollar bid on their contract,” he says. “Then we go after the lowest priced bidder. That gives a chance to go for the lowest price and through negotiation reach the maximum value to the state.”

Find out more about state purchasing.