The Ohio Schools Council is not your typical cooperative program. What sets them apart from other K12-focused councils of government and national public sector group purchasing organizations? OSC understands that delivering the greatest member value cannot stop at their menu of contracted suppliers.
Giving members the ability to easily identify, compare and choose the products they need from multiple supplier catalogs AND have their purchases automatically routed for required approvals, purchase order creation and transmission goes far beyond what the vast majority of cooperatives provide their customers today. While the cooperative industry has been slow to adopt these functionalities, OSC has been providing its members’ online supplier transaction capabilities since the early 2000s. OSC recognized that introducing marketplace and procure-to-pay technologies would streamline their members’ buying and financial processes to shorten purchasing cycle times and give them greater visibility into savings opportunities.
In November 2016, OSC implemented its EqualLevel-powered marketplace, the eBuy Cooperative Purchasing Portal. eBuy gives members both source-to-pay functionality and a customer-friendly environment on par with consumer online shopping sites. Kelly Rocco, OSC program manager, describes eBuy as “a one-stop e-marketplace that’s so easy for members to use. It’s like shopping on Amazon.” OSC has over 110 contracted suppliers in its online marketplace. From eBuy, members can purchase directly from multiple suppliers on one order or request quotes.
“Other [ERP and financial system] e-commerce solutions we looked at did not have the ability to search across supplier contracts and comparison shop. You had to go to each catalog one-by-one, take notes…Very time consuming and a lot of effort,” said Ms. Rocco. “Plus, for our members who want their own dedicated marketplace integrated into their financial system, we know EqualLevel integrates well with Tyler MUNIS, eFinance Plus, and [USAS] state software. That’s a huge plus for our members, and one reason we were recently contacted by a member who specifically asked for the EqualLevel marketplace.”
The Ohio Schools Council has many business services programs to support school operations. But by providing their members an easy-to-use, visually friendly online portal where they can easily compare products supported by system-identified savings opportunities, and transact with local and nationally-contracted suppliers, OSC takes an active role in connecting their members to greater efficiencies and real-dollar savings. A key message that Ms. Rocco takes on the road when she meets with schools and one that will be front-and-center in an upcoming webinar presentation this fall.
♦ To learn more about OSC and how they drive value for their members through the eBuy portal, reach out to Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (216) 447-3100 x6101.
♦ To elevate your customer procure-to-pay experience with the ELSA-powered Marketplace, contact Cathy Boyd at email@example.com or call (216) 403-8900.