Region 18 Educational Service Center (Region 18 ESC) is one of 20 service centers that serve Texas educational needs by collaborating and supporting school districts. They assist in improving student performances, enabling districts to operate more efficiently & economically and implement initiatives assigned by the legislature or the commissioner. Region 18 ESC serves as a liaison between the Texas Education Agency and local school districts by disseminating information, conducting training, and providing consultants for both federal & state programs. One way in which Region 18 ESC supports its school districts is through its Purchasing Cooperative. 

With Pavilion’s free platform, the Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative is enhancing the member district experience by making it easier to find Region 18 ESC-approved supplier contracts and supporting documents, plus shareable contracts from across the country.

Partnering with Pavilion

Viviana Alonso, the Director of Purchasing for Region 18 ESC, oversees the creation of approved supplier contracts and manages the process for sharing contracts with member districts. “I first discovered Pavilion last year and immediately realized the benefits of this tool. The opportunity to leverage Pavilion’s free technology to improve the search experience for Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative member districts was a no-brainer. The purchasing Cooperative was formed to reduce the cost of purchasing and bidding for member districts, and this partnership will drive that vision forward”, said Viviana. The Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative currently serves all 29 educational entities within Region 18’s assigned regional area and 19 entities from surrounding areas.  

With the support of the Pavilion team, Viviana added all Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative 2022-2023 approved supplier contracts to the Pavilion platform and embedded Pavilion’s search bar directly onto the Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative website. Now, member districts have fast and easy access to Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative contracts and beyond. 

Benefits of partnership

Helping school districts connect with approved suppliers via shareable contracts

“Shareable contracts are so valuable to our district because they help us save time and leverage the shared buying power of other public entities. We didn’t always have the time to look for contracts,” says Carrie Arnold, Purchasing Director at Elgin ISD and Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative member district. Previously, Region ESC 18 member districts could only discover Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative contracts by searching through a long, multi-tab, complex spreadsheet to identify categories of contracts and awarded suppliers, then using another third-party system to find and download the contract documents. Member districts can now instantly access shareable contracts from the Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative, including all related supplier information and due diligence documentation in one place, with Pavilion.

In addition, Region ESC 18 Purchasing Cooperative member districts can now access contracts they may have otherwise never discovered from Pavilion’s more than 40,000 awarded suppliers, hundreds of public entities, and more than 30 purchasing cooperatives across the country - in just a few seconds.

“Since I was introduced to Pavilion, it’s been essential to my work as a buyer for Elgin ISD. Having everything all in one place helps me save time and money for my district. I recommend Pavilion to all public entities,” said Carrie.

Reducing the administrative burden of managing Region ESC 18 Purchasing Cooperative

The process for facilitating collaboration between the Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative and its member districts required a high administrative effort from Viviana. To manage the program, Viviana spent hours updating the approved supplier spreadsheet and reviewing all the due diligence documents in a third-party system. On top of this, she spent time responding to member districts who called in to ask about contract availability. Partnering with Pavilion has enabled Viviana to eliminate a large amount of the administrative burden of managing the program and redirect her efforts toward new efforts to improve the member district experience.

“I used to spend a lot of time on inquiries from members regarding status or supporting documents of approved suppliers. Since we partnered and implemented the support of Pavilion, those inquiries have drastically decreased,” shared Viviana. 

More time for improving the Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative member district experience

With fewer administrative burdens, Viviana now has in-depth conversations with current and potential suppliers to increase supplier categorization accuracy, which in turn helps her identify gaps in her supplier pool. “In the past, suppliers would broadly self-categorize their offerings. Now I can talk to them to learn precisely what they offer and find new suppliers for the goods and services we need,” says Viviana. With this new process in place, member districts can know exactly what a supplier offers, eliminating the tedious back and forth. Plus, the approved supplier list is growing now that Viviana is actively looking for new suppliers that can fill the gaps she’s been able to identify. 

What’s to come

With Pavilion’s search embed, Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative not only improved how their members find and use shareable contracts but is changing the way approved suppliers are evaluated and selected. The upgrades don’t stop here, however. Viviana tells us, “now that I have the time to look for potential suppliers, I’m hoping to grow our local supplier pool by 5% to support our local communities and deliver on requests from members. I’m looking forward to our continued partnership with Pavilion and exploring new avenues for the Region 18 ESC Purchasing Cooperative.”