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Ease the Process
National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA), a member-owned cooperative, works to create an alliance between buyers and suppliers, providing efficient fleet purchasing and promoting educated decision making.
NJPA establishes and provides nationally leveraged and competitively solicited purchasing contracts in cooperation with the Uniform Municipal Contracting Law. Members contact vendors directly for specific product, service, ordering, delivery, and billing information. NJPA monitors vendor contract compliance to ensure a high level of service, quality of goods, and customer service are delivered to members.
NJPA membership allows the NJPA Board of Directors and NJPA staff to facilitate the bid and procurement responsibilities on members’ behalf. More information is available at www.njpacoop.org.
Other cooperative purchasing programs, such as the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), can provide services to public sector fleets for competitive bids and proposals, such as conducting research and surveys, soliciting vendor participation and issue specifications documents, and conducting pre-bid and pre-proposal conferences.
Groups Collaborate for Mutual Gains
Spearheaded by King County, a consortium of 14 local and state government agencies in the State of Washington combined purchasing power to negotiate favorable pricing for medium-duty hybrid trucks and serve as a testing ground, providing on-the-road experience, data collection, and performance analysis of hybrid truck technologies.
Another purchasing partnership won NAFA Fleet Management Association’s 2009 Larry Goill Quality Fleet Management Idea Award. In Virginia, the Cities of Chesapeake and Newport News, and the County of York formed the Southeastern Virginia Public Fleet Consortium to increase purchasing power and reduce redundancy in members’ purchasing processes.
The consortium meets every two months to discuss bids and bidding processes for common procurements, including sedans, light- through heavy-duty trucks, construction equipment, generators, and turf equipment. The group develops specifications on a base piece of equipment and bids are placed on the group’s Web site.
Recently, the consortium also began contracting fleet services, such as body shop work and towing. The end result has been favorable pricing, greater flexibility, and lower administrative costs for each participant in procuring equipment, vehicles, and services.
Reverse Auctions Gain More Attention
Implementing a business concept, John Clements, fleet manager for San Diego County, has coordinated with the county’s purchasing staff to procure vehicles through reverse auctions. The process allows Ford dealerships to actively compete on a county fleet vehicle bid, generally resulting in lower purchase prices.
"Build your annual budget to address each year’s top five most persistent problem areas."
—Jim Wright, president, Fleet Counselor Services
"Fleet leasing results in a smoothing of cash flow requirements based upon regular monthly rental payments rather than periodic capital investment for direct vehicle purchases and ensures federal reimbursement for actual costs. It overcomes obstacles to federal reimbursement for vehicle replacement and fleet growth because there is no need to accumulate funds for these purposes. This offers both cost and administrative efficiencies to the State of Michigan’s fleet operation and optimizes depreciation management."
—Joyce Van Coevering, director of fleet operations, Business Services Administration, State of Michigan
"Research stimulus and other funding sources that could provide money for efficient fleet replacement with more fuel-efficient, reduced-emissions vehicles."
—Barb Bonansinga, fleet manager, Illinois Central Management Services
"Trade services. We try to help the highway departments around us. Instead of charging them, we fix their vehicles and they jet out our sewer line, or we get our salt/sand mix free of charge. The fire department will rinse off the parking lot instead of us renting a broom tractor. It benefits everyone, and best of all, it costs nothing."
—Jack Jones, head mechanic, Broadalbin-Perth CS, N.Y.