Who We Are


In September 1978, the Niagara Public Purchasing Committee was established. An executive committee was formed, comprised of representative from the Regional Municipality of Niagara, Brock University, the Lincoln County Board of Education, Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology, the St. Catharines Public Utilities Commission and the City of St. Catharines. This executive committee was charged with the task of assuring that all contracts called on behalf of the membership would be handled in a professional and ethical manner. It was agreed that membership should be open to any agency whose principal funding is derived from tax dollars.

The object of a group co-operative purchasing program, was to derive the maximum value from each dollar spent, through co-operation and Professional Purchasing Procedures. Co-operative purchasing is a technique whereby a number of authorities agree, jointly, to invite quotations or tenders on selected commodities and services. Each authority can review items under consideration for co-operative bids and participate if it is to that authorities advantage to do so. Control of ordering, scheduling and payment against each contract is retained by the individual purchasing authority. The responsibility for calling bids is decided on an individual basis with the designated authority normally being the largest user or having the greatest expertise on the particular commodity.

The concept of co-operative purchasing is not to be misinterpreted as being synonymous with central purchasing. In central purchasing, one authority controls all buying and normally provides warehousing and distribution. All supplies and services are not adaptable to co-operative buying programs. Each case must be given careful consideration with respect to supply and current market conditions. The following are a few factors considered prior to any commodity being selected for a co-operative bid.

  1. There must be a potential cost savings.
  2. Standardization might be necessary prior to any volume savings being possible.
  3. Current market conditions and supply situation.
  4. Will the combined volume exceed the capabilities of the potential supplier/manufacturer
  5. Will individual suppliers provide quality service considering total volume.
  6. Effect of combined volume on competitive situation. Is there a danger of creating a monopolistic condition.
  7. Are current discount structures already providing optimum pricing.
  8. Is there a possibility that costs could increase due to total service requirement.
  9. Will total volume have a detrimental effect on current suppliers.

The Niagara Public Purchasing Committee has been in existence Since 1978. During that period of time not only has the membership increased to fifty-two participating agencies, but also the participation by agencies in the co-operative buying of the various commodities has increased. All members are working together at what is considered to be part of the purchasing function and that philosophy has provided a solid foundation for the committee.

All participants have endorsed the concept of Co-operative Purchasing through their continued participation in our contracts. Considerable dollar savings have been realized, product standardization has occurred, a sharing of product knowledge and specifications freely exist between agencies on a daily basis and good open discussion on any subject relating to the management of purchasing takes place at our regular meetings.

In 1991 the Niagara Public Purchasing Committee developed a Strategic Plan in order to set its course for the next ten years. The Strategic Plan, is updated annually and has initiated some new actions and acted as a catalyst for others.