Orange County, California, is the 6th largest County in the United States. Each year, the County’s more than 250 deputy procurement officers purchase more than $2 billion dollars worth of goods and services. A recognized industry leader, the County has been accredited as a Quality Public Procurement Department (QPPD) by NIGP and consistently awarded NPI’s Achievement of Excellence in Procurement (AEP) award. The County also plays a leadership role in the region, serving as a resource for over 30 local public entities within the County, including the City of Anaheim, the City of Huntington Beach, and the University of California, Irvine (UCI). 

With Pavilion, Orange County is enabling its County departments and members of a first-of-its-kind regional Procurement Alliance to save staff time, achieve cost savings, and support local and diverse businesses.

The need to work together as a County and a region

When Orange County Procurement Officer Maria Agrusa stepped into her role, she quickly identified the need to strengthen Countywide procurement operations. According to Maria, “We’re all procuring the same goods and services under the same constraints. But there was no collaboration or standardization across the 22 departments, leaving each department on its own to figure things out.” 

Maria realized this lack of coordination was a problem not only across the County’s departments, but across entities within the County, too. “A long term goal I had was to collaborate more within the region,” says Maria. “We’re all procuring the same goods and services, under the same constraints. So why not eliminate the duplication of effort and take advantage of our buying power wherever possible?”

She and her team launched the Orange County Procurement Alliance, a group of more than 30 public entities working within the region, to collaborate on procurement. “I just had one major issue,” Maria recalls. “I had no platform to drive the sharing of information.”

Collaborating with Pavilion 

It became clear to Maria that there was a need for a singular space where everyone in the County could share and view contracts. She was looking for a technology partner when she met Pavilion at the CAPPO Conference in Pasadena, CA in 2022. Pavilion’s platform empowers public servants to find thousands of shareable contracts from hundreds of local, state, and national sources— all in one place.

“Pavilion was the perfect solution, and the team was just as excited and passionate as we were about building this platform. We immediately sat down in the middle of the conference and began strategizing on a partnership to allow the County to leverage Pavilion’s search engine to support cross-County collaboration.”

To support the County’s objectives, Pavilion created a first-of-its-kind search experience embedded directly on Orange County’s website. Orange County staff and Procurement Alliance members can find and use contracts from Orange County, plus Pavilion’s growing marketplace of contracts, directly from the Orange County website.

“From kickoff to go-live, implementing the solution with Pavilion took just five business days,” says Maria. “It was amazing!”

Working together to save staff time, reduce costs, and support local economic development

Today, hundreds of public servants from more than 46 agencies across Orange County search for shareable contracts with Pavilion.

Saving time for departments and agencies across the County

To help support County staff and entities in the region that utilize County contracts, Orange County added its contracts to Pavilion. “The platform gave us a free contract management repository, which the County has never had, to allow internal collaboration that has always been missing,” said Maria. 

Now, the County can not only easily access its own contracts, but also search across tens of thousands of shareable contracts from other local entities, the State of California, national purchasing cooperatives, and hundreds of other sources. “There is so much information at our fingertips!” says Maria. Since these shareable contracts have already been competitively solicited, fast access to shareable contracts saves administrative staff time and expedites the purchasing process.

In one instance, John Wayne Airport found a shareable contract with Acronos Corporation on a TIPS contract for airport furniture. At the time, the County had not used TIPS, but the CPO’s office approved the use of the contract, and the airport could quickly acquire the furniture it needed. 

As a surprising bonus, Orange County has reduced the time spent responding to public records requests. In one recent case, rather than assigning a team to pull information together, they directed a requester to Pavilion by simply sending a link—saving hours of staff time.

Achieving cost savings and better value for taxpayers

Pavilion provides a way for procurement teams to save millions of dollars annually by using shareable contracts and taking advantage of economies of scale. The County is making progress towards its goal of leveraging its immense buying power as a region to continue reducing costs and making the most of taxpayer dollars. Maria shares, “The industry standard savings from utilizing cooperative procurement is between 5-15%. If Orange County, with contract spend of over $2B, can save just 1%, that’s $20M in savings!”

Supporting local and diverse businesses

By making it easier to quickly access shareable contracts, Pavilion has helped Orange County staff discover and buy from new businesses. “Pavilion allows me to find local, small, and disadvantaged businesses, so our County can support those business communities and meet our goals,” says Maria. 

Additionally, publishing Orange County contracts on Pavilion drives more business to the local suppliers that have been awarded a County contract and are now discoverable to other public entities across the country. Shadowhawk, a local small business with 27 employees based in Orange, CA has gained increased visibility. Five new agencies within Orange have discovered their contract for paper recycling and destruction services since Orange County shared the contract. 

Just the beginning

Orange County and the Procurement Alliance are already making great gains when it comes to supporting more collaborative and efficient procurement operations and supporting local and diverse businesses. Still, Maria says, this is just the beginning: “We are extremely excited and extremely grateful to have found Pavilion as our partner.”

Pavilion looks forward to continuing to help Orange County and public servants across the nation work smarter with technology.