Key takeaways:


The need to work together as a County and across the region

As the sixth largest county in the United States, Orange County was looking to strengthen their procurement operations and support local economic development. With 250 deputy procurement officers managing more than $2 billion dollars of spend, it was difficult to effectively coordinate across procurement teams.

Maria Agrusa, Orange County Procurement Officer, noted, “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.”

In an analysis, Maria’s team showed that establishing a new 5-year contract through a complex RFP process costs the County upwards of $80,000 in staff time. Even when soliciting responses, few businesses were willing to invest in a response. Maria emphasized, “On average, we receive 2 responses to our solicitations. That means there are some solicitations that get one or zero responses.”

While buyers could leverage cooperative procurement to purchase faster and reduce administrative costs, they still had to search disparate, cumbersome systems to find cooperative or piggybackable contracts.

These challenges were not unique to Orange County. Others in the region were facing these hurdles, too. Maria saw an opportunity: “Why not eliminate the duplication of effort and take advantage of our buying power wherever possible?”

Harnessing the power of cooperative procurement and regional collaboration

In 2022, the County launched the Orange County Procurement Alliance, a group of 34 local public entities in the region, to collaborate on procurement.

One of the first steps she took was to implement Pavilion as their search engine to find, use, and share contracts across Alliance members. Pavilion allows public entities to search across the nation’s largest network of national cooperative, state, and local contracts – for free.

Within a week, Orange County started adding its awarded contracts to Pavilion and was the first public entity to add the Pavilion search bar directly into their County’s website. This made it easy for County staff and Procurement Alliance members to find and use Orange County contracts, plus Pavilion’s broader network of shareable contracts, all in one place.

The County also instituted policy changes to include cooperative language in its solicitations and contracts by default. This change has helped expand the availability of piggybackable contracts in the region. By actively educating its awarded suppliers on the value of their contracts through vendor fairs, educational material in solicitation packages, and Pavilion onboarding programs, the County is also helping its vendor community reduce its costs of doing business with the public sector by leveraging cooperative procurement in the region. 

The impact: operational excellence, regional efficiencies, and local economic development

Save staff time for Orange County

Now, Orange County can search its own 2,200+ contracts on 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.

The County also can search Pavilion’s broader repository of 100,000+ shareable contracts from other local entities, the State of California, national purchasing cooperatives, and hundreds of other sources. Since these shareable contracts have already been competitively solicited, fast access to shareable contracts saves administrative staff time and accelerates the procurement process. The County also recently launched OpenGov as their eProcurement tool, where buyers can directly search Pavilion for contracts they can use before crafting a new solicitation.

Moreover, the County has reduced the time spent on responding to public records requests. Rather than assembling a team to compile information, they can now simply direct the requester to the relevant Pavilion page.

Achieve regional collaboration efficiencies

Today, hundreds of public servants from more than 68 entities across Southern California search for shareable contracts with Pavilion.

Pavilion provides a platform for the County to actively promote and distribute contracts across the region – and beyond. Already, Long Beach and other neighboring entities are finding Orange County contracts on Pavilion and piggybacking off of them. For example, a copier contract was awarded to a small local business, and neighboring entities started piggybacking a few months later.

Support small and local businesses

Small and local businesses are now more educated in cooperative procurement as a strategy to skip redundant RFP processes and reduce their customer acquisition costs. For these businesses, Pavilion serves as free distribution for their awarded contracts to buyers across the nation. Orange County contracts have now been viewed 1,600+ times on Pavilion, reaching across 320+ entities outside the County. When small or local businesses win a contract with Orange County, they not only win a contract they can use to sell to other entities, but also benefit from it being promoted across the country.

Other entities are following in Orange County’s footsteps

Now, other entities in California are following similar steps to save time and achieve regional efficiencies. The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District is now looking to drive procurement leadership for transportation agencies in the Bay Area. They have started to add cooperative language to their contracts, and are publishing contracts on Pavilion via their existing eProcurement tool Bonfire

Interested in joining the movement? Take these following steps today:

  1. Add cooperative language to your contracts
  2. Publish your contracts to Pavilion
  3. Add the Pavilion search bar to your website or intranet page

To learn more, contact us at