State universities and colleges (880+ in the U.S.) spent over $47 billion last year on nearly 15 million items supplied by 550,000 vendors (Source: GovSpend). Unfortunately, most of these schools are paying thousands of dollars more than they should be — why?

Not long ago, there were few options when it came to analyzing government spending. How do you know how much agencies near you are paying? How much should you be paying? Perhaps most importantly of all, how do you know you’re not overpaying? Getting answers to questions like these was not easy or practical, so how could it possibly have been part of the everyday procurement process?

With the arrival of big data in recent years, buyers now have better tools — thousands of local, state, and even federal government agencies are harnessing the power of smart databases and other digital platforms to integrate agile price checking into their purchasing methodology. California State University (CSU), Bakersfield is one of the hundreds of schools currently leveraging competitive public purchasing intelligence to make better buying decisions. Michael Chavez, Senior Director & Chief Procurement Officer at CSU Bakersfield, and his procurement team utilize a combination of CalUSource, a collaborative online procurement tool, and GovSpend, an aggregator of government purchasing data, to ensure their university is getting the highest quality products for the best available prices.

“We were able to capture 10% in savings,” said Chavez when describing his experience with the two online procurement solutions.

In July, Chavez and his team were faced with the task of replacing the old gym equipment in the Student Rec Center by the time school began. They first evaluated what other agencies nearby were paying by running a search on the GovSpend database, which compiles over 400 million purchase orders from nearly 24,000 government agencies all over the U.S. After conducting invaluable research on the $95,000 worth of gym equipment they were looking to buy, and connecting with another agency they found on the platform, CSU Bakersfield’s purchasers were able to secure a University of California contract on CalUSource using the data they found on GovSpend. They further utilized this information to help negotiate a substantial trade-in value for the old Student Rec Center gym equipment.

“We ended up realizing a $17,500 cost savings overall mainly using the GovSpend tool but also CalUSource,” said Chavez.

Advanced data intelligence tools give purchasing departments more control in the procurement process and empower buyers to take back their most important resource: time. With traditional RFPs taking weeks or even months, and legacy systems continuing to create divides within the government marketplace, agencies like CSU Bakersfield are opting to facilitate change and make true progress in the realm of public purchasing.

“All of this was done within the course of a couple hours instead of a few weeks. At the time, we hadn’t even done the official GovSpend training yet which was scheduled for Tuesday, July 31st,” Chavez added.

Are you ready to employ powerful data analysis to boost your agency’s purchasing power while maintaining full transparency and accountability? Schedule a live demo of GovSpend now and see the platform in action:

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GovSpend is an online database of government purchase orders from federal, state, and local agencies. Government municipalities are provided access to the system to identify local vendors., evaluate pricing for best available rate, confirm vendor performance, validate sole source, and find piggybacking opportunities. In addition, this solution includes GovQuote, the first fully web-based digital platform to  seamlessly connect government agencies and private companies on the largest and fastest request for quote (RFQ) marketplace. Agencies request quotes in under 60 seconds, stay 100% compliant, and keep all of their vendor quotes centralized.