NASPO positions WSCA/NASPO cooperative purchasing entity as a national cooperative purchasing power

Published: February 27, 2013

Contract Awards

Written by Lindsay Clifton and Joseph Lee
The National Association of State Procurement Officials(NASPO) has restructured its subsidiary cooperative purchasing organization, the Western State Contracting Alliance (WSCA), into a separate legal entity to position the program for further growth. While this change may not immediately impact vendors, it is expected that this new entity – the WSCA/NASPO Cooperative Purchasing Organization – will accelerate the benefits for state and local governments and vendors in the coming years.  
Originally formed as a cooperative purchasing program about 20 years ago for 15 western states, WSCA has matured over time due to its popular program benefits. The program had limited success until about 10 years ago when the WSCA computer equipment contract took off. The contract is now leveraged by 45 states and has $2 billion in annual volume, while the WSCA portfolio of about 40 different contracts nets about $8 billion annually.  
The program was originally intended to benefit 15 remote and smaller states, but is now being repositioned to expand benefits nationwide. About five years ago, the NASPO Board of Directors recognized how successful the program had become and how other states had begun using it. So, when the board evaluated the program last year, its members wanted to position it as more of a national cooperative program.  
The solution was for NASPO to operate as its own separate legal entity, effective January 2013. The goal is to utilize the current model that embraces multiple states and multiple disciplines, hopefully resulting in even more price discounts than the program already provides.Moving forward, this will be seen as a national initiative that will encourage more collaboration between states as it accelerates the world of cooperative purchasing. 
How can Deltek help contractors gain insight into cooperative purchasing programs?
Deltek has a new State and Local Term Contracts resource with more than 15,000 IT term contracts, including contracts from the WSCA/NASPO Cooperative Purchasing Program. Vendors can explore these term contracts to discover which contracts are a good fit for their products/services, gain insight into their competitors’ contracts and pricing, and understand which governments are using cooperative purchasing. 
So, how will this affect vendors?
This new cooperative purchasing engine will hopefully result in even more state participation on available contracts. NASPO hopes to provide more standardized terms and conditions so all states will follow the same guidelines. The association also has a goal to improve maintenance and services agreements, and is looking to develop an e-market center – an online marketplace for better end-user buying activities – and to expand overall transparency into spending. 
Key take aways
With its ever-increasing popularity, WSCA/NASPO is gaining heavy momentum, and you can expect continued growth in the coming years. We believe that it will soon become the cooperative purchasing program of state governments. While the recent legal and name changes will not immediately impact anyone, they prove to be a sign of the volume and significance of this collection of contracts.