Streamlining Procurement with The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS)

by | Sep 27, 2023 | News

Efficient procurement is a crucial component of any organization’s success, whether it’s a school district, a local government, or a non-profit organization. Many entities turn to cooperative purchasing programs to achieve cost savings, compliance with regulations, and streamlined processes. One such program making waves in the procurement world is The Interlocal Purchasing System or TIPS.

What is The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS)?

The Interlocal Purchasing System, commonly known as TIPS, is a Texas-based cooperative purchasing program that serves the procurement needs of various public entities across the United States. TIPS was established to simplify and enhance the purchasing process for schools, colleges, universities, municipalities, counties, and other government and non-profit organizations.

TIPS operates as a national purchasing cooperative, providing members access to a wide range of competitively bid contracts for goods and services. These contracts are awarded through a National competitive solicitation process, ensuring members receive quality products and services at favorable prices. By leveraging the collective purchasing power of its members, TIPS aims to reduce administrative burden, save time and money, and foster collaboration among public entities.

Benefits of TIPS

  1. Cost Savings: One of the most significant advantages of participating in TIPS is the potential for cost savings. TIPS leverages the collective purchasing volume of its members to negotiate competitive pricing and favorable terms with vendors. This enables participating entities to secure goods and services at lower prices than they might achieve through individual procurement efforts.
  2. Time Efficiency: The traditional procurement process can be time-consuming, involving various stages such as writing specifications, issuing bids, evaluating proposals, and negotiating contracts. TIPS streamlines this process by offering pre-qualified contracts that members can access directly, saving valuable time and resources.
  3. Compliance Assurance: Compliance with procurement regulations and requirements is a critical concern for public entities. TIPS develops contracts with a strong emphasis on adhering to legal and regulatory guidelines. This assures members that their purchases comply with applicable laws
  4. Vendor Selection: TIPS conducts a thorough vetting process to select qualified vendors who meet stringent criteria for quality and reliability. This eliminates the need for individual members to conduct extensive vendor evaluations, reducing the risk of choosing unproven suppliers.
  5. Transparency and Accountability: TIPS operates with transparency and accountability at its core. Members have access to detailed contract information, pricing, and terms, allowing them to make informed decisions. Additionally, TIPS conducts regular audits to ensure vendor compliance and contract performance.

How TIPS Works

TIPS operates on a membership-based model, where eligible public entities can become members to access its cooperative purchasing program. The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Membership Application: Organizations interested in becoming TIPS members submit a membership application. The next step is to review for eligibility. Eligible entities include schools, colleges, universities, municipalities, counties, and non-profit organizations.
  2. Membership Approval: Once the application is approved, the entity becomes an official TIPS member and gains access to the cooperative’s contracts and services.
  3. Contract Access: TIPS offers various competitively bid contracts across multiple categories, from classroom supplies and technology to construction and facility maintenance. Members can browse these contracts on the TIPS website.
  4. Ordering Process: Members can issue orders or directly purchase orders from approved vendors under TIPS contracts. The purchasing process is simplified, as members can skip the time-consuming bidding and negotiation stages.
  5. Compliance and Reporting: TIPS monitors contract compliance and performance to ensure vendors meet the agreed-upon terms and conditions. Members also benefit from access to reporting tools that help track spending and contract utilization.
  6. Support and Training: TIPS provides ongoing support and training to help members maximize the benefits of the cooperative purchasing program. This includes assistance with contract selection, procurement best practices, and access to TIPS staff for any inquiries.

Why TIPS is a Game-Changer

  1. Nationwide Reach: While TIPS started in Texas, it has expanded its reach and now serves public entities across the United States. This nationwide presence allows organizations in various states to benefit from its cooperative purchasing program.
  2. Diverse Contract Offerings: TIPS offers contracts in a wide range of categories, catering to the diverse procurement needs of its members. Whether an organization needs classroom furniture, IT equipment, or facility maintenance services, TIPS likely has a contract that fits the bill.
  3. Cost-Effective Procurement: Public entities can achieve cost-effective procurement without extensive negotiations or competitive bidding processes by participating in TIPS. These cost savings can be channeled into other essential areas, such as improving services or investing in infrastructure.
  4. Compliance Confidence: TIPS strongly emphasizes contract compliance and adherence to procurement regulations. This helps organizations mitigate the risk of non-compliance, audits, and legal challenges related to their procurement activities.
  5. Time Savings: Members can access pre-qualified contracts and streamline their purchasing process, freeing valuable staff time for other critical tasks.


The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) has emerged as a game-changer in the world of procurement for public entities. With its commitment to cost savings, compliance assurance, and streamlined processes, TIPS offers a compelling solution for schools, municipalities, counties, and non-profit organizations seeking efficient and effective procurement methods. As TIPS continues to expand its footprint and offerings, it has become an invaluable resource for organizations looking to make the most of their limited resources while adhering to procurement best practices.

K-Con Construction and TIPS

K-Con and the TIPS Cooperative have partnered to bring nationwide contract savings and efficiencies to public agencies. TIPS helps provide quick and efficient delivery of K-Con, Inc. services while maintaining procurement compliance. You can visit the KCON TIPS Purchasing Contract under brochures to learn more about our vendor membership. 

Are you a member of TIPS? Do you need a general contractor for your next project? Please visit K-Con’s vendor profile to submit your next purchase order!