Here are the views and predictions of TCPN contract specialist Clint Pechacek on 2014 government procurement activity. The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN) assists in helping public agencies and non-profits reap the benefits of national leveraged pricing. There are no costs or fees to register with TCPN. The organization is based in Houston. The Texas Region 4 Education Service Center (ESC) provides lead agency overview to TCPN.

GPN: How do see you public sector purchasing shaping up in 2014?

Clint Pechacek: Public sector agencies are remaining prudent with their budget expenditures. However, there are indications that agencies are beginning to emerge from the financial constraints that were prevalent throughout the recession.

During the fall, voters passed significant bond packages for school and infrastructure improvements. The uptick in public sector construction and building projects is resulting in agencies continuing to look to cooperative platforms for facilities and job-order contracting solutions.

GPN: What about technology buys in the government market in 2014? Do you see any trends developing?

CP: TCPN noticed a strong uptick in public sector technology spend in 2013. Tablets, e-readers, and cloud-based computing were all in high demand. Many agencies also continued to invest in technology to improve safety and security throughout their campuses. In addition, agencies are using technology to help drive operating efficiencies. Ecommerce platforms, such as ESM, Oracle, SciQuest, SmartProcure, and others, are helping agencies manage their budgets while ensuring contract compliance.  
Furthermore, furniture-buying trends in the public sector were very strong in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2013. There appears to be a pent-up demand for furniture in the public sector as agencies are upgrading their offices to more of a shared work environment, similar to what many private sector organizations have done over the past few years. Chairs and seating is the product category that is seeing the largest uptick in demand.

GPN: TCPN has a Diversity Initiative Program. Your organization encourages vendors who hold minority, women, disabled, veterans, underutilized, small or otherwise disadvantaged business certifications to respond to its lead agency’s solicitations. Do you see any developments in 2014 in this area?

CP: Many public agencies continue to increase their goals and requirements to utilize diverse vendors. This is helping to keep jobs and revenues in the agencies’ respective communities. It is also encouraging to see several big-box retailers focusing on expanding their efforts to partner with diverse vendors in regional markets.

GPN: Do you see any overall trends in the government market in 2014?

CP: In general, as the economic pressures of the recession are easing somewhat across the nation public agencies are continuing to strive for greater operating efficiency moving forward.

More than 35,000 eligible entities actively use at least one TCPN contract. Some of the commodities that TCPN covers: facilities, furniture, office supplies and equipment, security systems, various services, energy and technology.  The Region 4 ESC's contracting process is ISO-certified.
GPN will have more 2014 government procurement and budget forecasts in the 2014 Keating Report in the January GPN and on the GPN website.

The video shows how TCPN uses its buying power to provide savings to its members. The video outlines Office Depot’s relationship with TCPN.


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