DAWg Blog

Audio DAWg Featured in VoyageDallas Online Magazine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sondra Brunone.

Sondra, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Audio DAWg is a personal positive born from a negative you hope never happens to you.

One day, my husband Mike (affectionately known as “Spunky” in music circles) came home with bad news: the 100-year old music company he’d worked for as head of the professional recording division (for 14 years) was filing for bankruptcy and relaunching as a small music instrument rental company. Our first reaction was, of course, panic; jobs in the music industry were (and still are) hard to come by. My video production company was doing well, but didn’t pay ALL of our bills. So, just playing out in clubs, etc. (he plays keyboards) was not an option for him. He needed a job.

So, what was next for us? As an entrepreneur, I’ll admit, I’d always felt more comfortable knowing that one of us had a “real job”. And now one of us didn’t. What happened next was so natural and occurred so quickly, that it almost felt too easy. We decided to launch our own professional audio recording sales company – and after a few glasses of wine, named it Audio DAWg (DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation – the basis of any recording studio).

Honestly, I’d never thought of Spunky as an entrepreneur (translation: risk taker), even though, at my very core, I always will be. He doesn’t like change. He just doesn’t. But, it turns out he hardly noticed the difference. He’s an awesome sales person who genuinely loves what he sells. He already knew how to manage sales, inventory and purchasing. I have experience in marketing, advertising, creative writing and event production. And we already had a staff bookkeeper who could handle both companies easily. We are the perfect fit. But we weren’t 100% sure if his customers and suppliers would follow us into a new venture. Our fears were unfounded: When we announced our intention to open Audio DAWg, virtually all of his former customers and product suppliers immediately came on board. And, even the owner of the music company Spunky had worked for so long gave us the thumbs up.

Fast-forward 10+ years and much as happened: some good and some bad. We’re still here! And, we’re in the process of relaunching the Audio DAWg brand with a new look, an updated logo and, generally, a very robust new online presence. Our new Webstore is pretty cool and we’re investing in telling the world about us.

Why? Because industry we’re in certainly isn’t getting any easier. When we started out, there were no online retailers at all. Our competition was all brick-and-mortar based. Now, we’re one of the few places in the Dallas area where musicians and recording enthusiasts can still come and play with the high-end recording studio tools they need BEFORE they buy. And Spunky is just one of those guys everyone loves (and, yes, as the company’s marketer, I’m proudly exploiting him). He’s knowledgeable about what he sells and offers sound professional advice (something you can’t get online) to his (very loyal) customers. We definitely believe in going the extra mile for our customers – and they appreciate it.

Still, I’d be kidding you if I claimed we’re competing effectively with the giant online music retailers. We aren’t. But, we don’t need the biggest piece of the industry pie to thrive. We’ll never, ever give up our unique service ethic. Our online presence is growing quickly because we’re backing it up with a long-held tradition of caring, thoughtful, honest service. Turns out, people REALLY DO care about being treated well and LOVE knowing there are knowledgeable experts available to make sure they don’t make the wrong purchase. What we sell isn’t cheap – and audio professionals want value when they spend their hard earned dollars. We’ve been there. And our customers know we understand their concerns.

I finally sold my 15-year old video production company last year, and, just in time. Audio DAWg has become a full-time job for me and, thankfully, now I’m able to more fully utilize my own creative skills to promote and grow our (not so little, anymore) enterprise. I’m still freelancing as a producer, director and writer on video & TV projects – but it feels AWESOME to be able to dig in a little deeper at Audio DAWg – and to use my entrepreneurial skills to grow this business. It’s a fun time for both of us. We’re more of a team than ever now.

We’re also both avid travelers, hikers and love to spend time in our favorite place: Sedona, Arizona. Our goal is to eventually run the biz from there. Turns out we like small town life, beautiful scenery and nature right outside our window. I’m pretty sure our friends are getting sick of our Facebook & Instagram hiking posts. But WE never get tired of it, so too bad. ????

Has it been a smooth road?
Our biggest struggles over the years have been related to my lack of time to do my part in the business – during the periods when my other business (ImageMaker) was super busy. Spunky is great at what he does – but every business needs a strategy. When I was less focused, we sometimes missed opportunities for growth.

Of course, the growth of online music equipment retailers is by far our biggest challenge. We’re small and financing a gigantic online operation is impossible for us. So, we’ve had to focus on capturing a piece of the pie that makes sense and is profitable for US. Our competitive difference is service and knowledge. There was a period when customers seemed more enamored by online ease of purchase. That has shifted. We’ve all discovered that buying specialized products like we sell on line can really suck, when you need help, advice knowledge and follow up service. We provide that.

One of the most important and consequential things I’ve done recently to benefit our business is to enroll in and complete the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. It was challenging, demanding and provided an amazing “mini-MBA” experience that resulted in a 45-page business growth plan that we are now implementing for Audio DAWg.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Positives:
Most people think about the east and west coast when they think about the music scene. But, in reality, the DFW area is a close third!

The jazz music school at the University of North Texas is one of the very finest in the country. So, our area attracts an outstanding group of talented musicians, recording engineers, etc. These individuals are our customers.

And there is a thriving House of Worship market here. Our church clients are some of our very best, and most loyal. These days, churches aren’t willing to settle for “okay” when it comes to a music program. Parishioners expect professional musicians and great sound on Sundays – and we know how to make that happen. So, working with churches comes naturally.

We’re passionate about music, of course, so we’re also passionate about music education. We work with schools and universities all the time, as they enhance their own music programs with cutting edge music recording boards, software, mics, keyboards, monitors, etc. UNT (Spunky’s alma mater) is one of our clients. As are many colleges and universities in the DFW area.

We also like to give back. We donated three music recording studio packages last year to a local radio station’s Christmas Wish effort and also are in the process of launching a program called DAWg Pack – to allow non-profits with music programs to benefit from the purchases of their supporters. With the support of future DAWg Pack members, we look forward to delivering free music recording studio gear to local churches and schools next year!

Negatives?
Well, we don’t have mountains or a beach in Dallas. ???? And it’s too damn hot in the summer. But, otherwise, DFW is an awesome place to live and work! And, since we’re right in the middle of the country, we can travel to our favorite escapes easily (which we do all the time).

Contact Info:

Address: 2002 Academy Lane Ste 130
Farmers Branch, TX 75234
Website: https://www.audiodawg.com
Phone: 972-759-1131
Email: sondra@audiodawg.com or spunky@audiodawg.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/audiodawg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theaudiodawg/
Twitter: @AudioDAWgTX
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/audio-dawg-farmers-branch

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

University of North Texas Boosts Connectivity with Focusrite’s RedNet Systems

Pictured L-R: Ted White (RedNet Senior Technical Sales), Kurt Howell (RedNet National Accounts Manager), Blair Liikala (Director, Recording Services, UNT College of Music) and Derek Miller (Audio Technical Director, UNT College of Music), pictured in the Murchison Performing Arts Center with a portion of the University of North Texas College of Music’s arsenal of Focusrite RedNet devices.

DENTON, TX – The College of Music at the University of North Texas recently completed a large installation of RedNet components from Focusrite. A total of 44 RedNet units, which act as interfaces for the Dante Ethernet-based audio-over-IP network infrastructure, now connect the school’s two main performance halls. Pictured in the Murchison Performing Arts Center are, from left, FocusRite’s Ted White and Kurt Howell and UNT’s Blair Liikala and Derek Miller.

More details from FocusRite (www.focusrite.com):

Each hall has its own recording control room, and a portable jazz workshop, with a total of 64 I/O.

Seven RedNet 1 and seven RedNet 2 units provide the I/O interfaces; six RedNet D16 AES interfaces offer 16 channels of AES/EBU connectivity to and from a Dante audio network; a pair of RedNet D64Rs provides the link between the Dante network and any MADI / AES10 setup; four RedNet HD32R units are the interfaces that allow Pro Tools|HD users direct access to the full benefits of the Dante digital audio networking system; 17 RedNet MP8R units are 8-channel remote-controlled microphone preamplifiers and A/D-conversion for the Dante network; and a RedNet 3 connects the digital audio systems and components to the RedNet network, with up to 32 inputs and outputs and full software remote control. The system was sold and designed by A/V design and installation firm Audio DAWg (Spunky Brunone, owner) of Irving, Texas. The system installation at the University, located in Denton, Texas, took place in August of this year.

A portion of the University of North Texas College of Music’s arsenal of Focusrite RedNet devices, pictured in the Murchison Performing Arts Center, one of their main performance spaces.

“They wanted to get the system in and running before the semester began,” says Brunone, who brought the RedNet/Dante combination to the attention of Blair Liikala, Manager of Recording Services at the University’s College of Music, about a year ago. “It was a very good fit for what they wanted to do,” he says. “They had been looking at using MADI as the audio transport format, but they already had a lot of fiber in the buildings from a previous networking system they had been using which was no longer being supported, and a lot of their hardware, such as mic pre-amps and their ProTools|HD system, could be made to work on a Dante network using the RedNet interfaces. It was just a great fit and great solution.”

Audio DAWg principal Spunky Brunone, pictured with the RedNet units he spec’ed for the University of North Texas College of Music.
Blair Liikala agrees. “We have two buildings and multiple spaces that have to be connected, as well as new equipment that was part of the upgrade, such as a Yamaha CL5 console for FOH in one of the halls,” he explains. “The jazz program has been bringing in more and bigger-name guest artists, and that’s been driving up our channel count. So we needed a good connectivity solution that would encompass the entire facility, in two buildings, and increase the number of channels we had available. The combination of RedNet and Dante did exactly that.”

Derek Miller, UNT College of Music Audio Technical Director, adds, “The MP8R’s were ideal for us for several reasons – one huge thing we were looking for was remote control of the mic pre’s, which is very simple via the Rednet control app. Also, a bonus was the built-in splitter with gain compensation, since we share the mic pre’s between FOH and recording.”

Liikala adds that RedNet’s plug-and-play nature made it easy for him and his one staffer to install the entire system, taking advantage of the campus’ existing fiber cabling. “We went from 32 to 64 channels, so that solved that problem, and the very specific nature of the RedNet interfaces made designing the system very straightforward. For instance, the RedNet D64R units act as the interfaces for the MADI that we’re using to run between the two buildings a block apart, and we can use them as two separate networks or combine them into a single network. And routing audio anywhere with Dante and RedNet is a breeze.”

Spunky Brunone says he’s been increasingly seeing the RedNet/Dante combination as the perfect solution for exactly this kind of complex, multi-space situation. “Dante offers schools like the University of North Texas a way to move audio around a big campus efficiently and cost-effectively, and RedNet has the interfaces for any type of connectivity they need. It’s a great combination.”

WHY ARE INSTITUTIONAL PURCHASING COOPERATIVES POPULAR RIGHT NOW?

For retailers selling goods to schools, universities, counties, cities and states, there have always been hoops to jump through when it comes to selling to these entities. One of the biggest challenges has been getting on individual “bid lists”. Otherwise, as a retailer, there is literally no chance to participate in purchasing opportunities and Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) issued by these institutions. Of course, there are a lot of schools, universities, counties, cities and states to connect to! Imagine the time and manpower involved for retailers who wish to, for example, be listed on each bid list across a state the size of Texas or California! It’s a very tedious process (and is probably virtually impossible to achieve)!

Of course, in most cases these entities are actually required to find the lowest possible prices for the goods they purchase. And, since they also need to utilize vendors that are on their bid lists (or even those that can provide minority-owned or women-owned certifications, they’ve sometimes been forced to select and buy from a vendor that isn’t really all that well-suited to their needs.

Another challenge is quality, knowledge and experience. For example, just because a vendor can provide the lowest price on a much-needed piece of music software or a mixing board to record the school band doesn’t mean that this same company has the knowledge or expertise to provide accurate advice before the sale – or the capability to install an item properly after the sale.

In short, there’s more to a smart purchase than low pricing. And the traditional bid list/RFP process just doesn’t address that challenge effectively. But, make no mistake, competitive pricing matters.

That’s where Purchasing Cooperatives – also known as “Co-ops” – come in. The concept isn’t brand new; these modern, web-based organizations are essentially modeled, to some degree, after the old “farm co-ops”. The goal is the same: to increase buying power and access to quality and low pricing for Co-op members – many of whom will be purchasing key items quite regularly. Co-ops are not yet widely utilized in all 50 states, but their popularity is growing. And, Co-ops have truly become the norm among institutions in key (and very powerful) purchasing states such as Texas.

Thus, entities are addressing the delays, hiccups and procurement red tape of the past by signing on to Co-ops such as BuyBoard (a prominent co-op that enjoys a big market share in Texas and also services other states.). BuyBoard (and competing Co-ops) do serve as middle-men between buyers and sellers. And that can be a very good thing. The good news, is that it doesn’t mean that the professional relationships between buyer and seller are compromised. Co-ops do take a small percentage of each transaction from the seller. But, they also provide added value to buyers by offering an easily accessible list of competitively procured product resources ranging from audio recording gear to lunch tables – and everything in between. So, essentially, Co-ops can be convenient “one-stop shops” for government organizations and educational institutions.

Of course, both purchasers and retailers must rethink the way they work through the buying/selling process. They do need to learn a host of new procedures and be willing to embrace procurement adjustments if they want to work with a Co-op.

For schools and local/state government staff, they may be restricted to selecting a supplier that participates in a Co-op. So, they may be unable to buy from a long-standing preferred retailer that doesn’t belong to a Co-op. But, on the upside, the lengthy and exhausting RFP process can become a non-issue (nice time saver!), since Co-ops promise to provide product discounts and insure highly competitive pricing to their buying customers. So, purchasing from Co-op awarded suppliers offers institutional buyers easy access to a wide array of competitively procured suppliers, as well as reducing time and headaches. Sure, change isn’t easy. But sometimes it is actually an improvement.

For retailers, the time involved in uploading their (sometimes massive) list of products onto Co-op website platforms can be both challenging and time-consuming. And vendors should pay close attention to membership deadlines and details so they don’t miss an opportunity. Frankly, if a supplier decides not to list with a Co-op, they may find that they are unable to work with longstanding school and government clients. So the effort is, generally, well worth it!

Despite the pros and cons of trying anything new, Purchasing Cooperatives like BuyBoard and other Co-ops remain the trend in procurement and there’s no indication of that changing in the near future. In many ways, buying through a Co-op makes life much easier for procurement professionals. Co-ops offer a web-based interface through which orders may be placed – for any and all participating suppliers. And being a Co-op member certainly doesn’t preclude buyers from being able to take advantage of manufacturer limited time deals, since they’re still able to maintain a direct, personal relationship with their favorite Co-op vendors.

Once a retailer has successfully navigated the proposal process and been awarded a contract by a Co-op, they are likely to gain new clients that may have been difficult to reach previously. Additional exposure is never a bad thing. And Co-ops offer a far-reaching, new outlet for selling their goods!

Nothing’s perfect. But the Co-op concept is really gaining traction. More and more institutions – in more states – are adopting and working with Purchasing Cooperatives. So, it does look as though they are here to stay. And that can be a good thing for all involved.

Audio DAWg is an Approved BuyBoard Cooperative Purchasing Vendor

Does your government or educational employer require you to make your purchases through a cooperative purchasing organization? If so, never fear, Audio DAWg has you covered. We’re a member in good standing of BuyBoard, one of the nation’s most widely used cooperatives.

Purchasing Cooperatives ask vendors– like Audio DAWg – to provide their very best pricing to their customers. We’ve uploaded a comprehensive list of the pro-audio products sold by Audio DAWg and we’re here to help you navigate the purchasing process.

In Texas, many school districts, cities, counties and other governmental entities participate in The Local Government Purchasing Cooperative or are required to make their purchases through cooperatives like BuyBoard.

Nationally, members of the National Purchasing Cooperative have access to BuyBoard to take advantage of the streamlined purchasing process that complies with procurement laws of each participating state.

As an awarded pro-audio vendor on BuyBoard, we’ve already met competitive procurement requirements. So, if you’re ready to embark upon your next pro audio purchase, let us know.

Audio DAWg is always available to provide you with highly professional advice on recording equipment, audio editing software, acoustic studio treatments, consulting – and more. We’ve been doing this for a long time and we’re happy to share our knowledge and expertise with you and your staff! We take pride in helping customers learn about their options, so you are well informed BEFORE the sale. When you’re ready to purchase, we’ll make sure everything you need for your dream recording studio available.

Let us help take the hassle out of your life when purchasing professional audio products for your school or government entity. Search for Audio Dawg on BuyBoard!

HOW TO SAVE MONEY, HEADACHES AND TIME AS YOUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP MUSIC PROGRAM GROWS

Today’s Houses of
Worship are embracing music – and serious music programs – like never before.
This may sound like we’re stating the obvious, because, of course, pipe organs,
choirs and classical music were literally developed and thrived under the
guidance of the church. None of that is going anywhere. But, it is the
popularity of the contemporary music scene within the church environment that
has changed the way houses of worship spend their dollars. Building vibrant and
successful contemporary music programs is where they tend to focus their
efforts because the payoff is often new members (especially younger families
and young people). So, building a serious music program is a priority for any
church that wants to grow and remain relevant. Now, more than ever
before.

Wealthy, so called “Mega
Churches” aside, one of the most difficult, and surprising, challenges to
conquer for small and mid-sized churches is determining the appropriate technology
and professional gear needed to insure a positive listening experience for the
congregation.
Making the wrong choices can be a serious – and costly –
problem. Churchgoers – like everyone – are savvy audiences. A flawed sound system
(or a poor operator of a good sound system) can ruin the worship experience.
We’re all used to feedback-free presentations. We’re not tolerant of muffled
sound. We expect the volume and sound balance to be appropriate for the venues
where we gather.

There’s a lot to think
about, and much of it is ignored, because, in many cases, a church’s music
program expands – and audio purchases are made – at the same rate of growth as
its congregation. So, initially, many of these decisions are made by volunteers,
amateur music lovers or even well-meaning choir directors (all of whom may have
many talents, but are not necessarily well-trained when it comes to designing
and installing live sound and live sound recording systems). So, the results
can be disappointing. And that’s a shame, because small and mid-sized churches
have limited funds to spend. Poor equipment choices, shoddy installation,
attempting to retrofit an older system into a new space, etc. can prove costly
for a growing church and the decisions can have a lasting financial and
creative impact.

“I’ve seen
churches buy a wide range of different live sound and recording equipment for
different sanctuaries and presentation venues as they grow in size and scope.”
Says Corey Kirkendoll of 5K Technical Services in the Dallas area. He and his
staff have learned a lot about the struggles of small and mid-sized churches as
they design building connectivity systems for them. “They just can’t bear to
get rid of an older mixing board, for example, even when it doesn’t work for
the room any more. Or, they don’t consider future growth when they purchase the
board in the first place. Imagine having volunteers trying to learn 3 or 4
different mixing consoles or audio recording software – all within the same church?
It just creates problems. And it costs too much. It diminishes the power of the
choices they’ve made.”

Kirkendoll also points out that sound and recording purchases should not be
made in a vacuum. These days, live sound and recording gear should be connected
via the same digital cables that a church’s VOiP and Internet systems are
utilizing. That offers any church a great deal of flexibility as growth
occurs. So, a thoughtful strategy can really make the difference.

Pro-audio retailer Mike
“Spunky” Brunone of Audio DAWg (also in Texas) agrees. “The smart way for a
church to select the right gear for now – and for the future – is to bring live
sound and recording experts to the table, along with the experts in
connectivity. These days, each piece of gear needs to talk to each other.” Many
churches are also embracing products such as FocusritePro’s RedNet® line of Dante® interfaces that provide an audio-over-IP solution and a
scalable, modular audio system. Again, the goal is flexibility and easy connectivity.

But, there’s another
step that’s often overlooked: training. According to Brunone, “Churches often fail to build product training into the
plan, so they end up with incredible, professional sound systems but no one who
is qualified to operate them! Whether that person is a volunteer, a paid member
of a music program or an outside pro, it’s critical that training and
maintenance is built into the budget. Otherwise, there can be a lot of
frustration.”

Spending dollars wisely
is always a top concern. Tight budgets, and the popularity of
contemporary church music, has, sadly (for lovers of classical worship music)
means that some churches are simply no longer interested in maintaining an
authentic traditional music program – or even a real pipe organ with real
pipes, for that matter. Those that do (we applaud you!), recognize that, while
maintaining a pipe organ can be expensive, it also provides a truly
unmatched, rich worship experience.

For those seeking a
reliable – and impressive – solution that keeps tradition alive, a virtual
experience is available. Pipe organists who are willing to consider a virtual
pipe organ experience will find that it can be just as rich and satisfying.
Some would even say more so, because a virtual pipe
organ offers Pipe Organ Sample Sets from around the world. So
now, even a small sanctuary can feature a Notre Dame Cavaille Coll
French organ or a Father Willis Hereford Cathedral English organ at a touch of
a button! Plus, virtual pipe organs feature easy expandability
at an affordable price.

This solution can be
elegant visually, as well. Virtual pipe organ software from companies like
Hauptwerk are now being paired with gorgeous, traditional pipe organ consoles,
real wood key manuals and pedals, touch screens and tabs or draw
knobs. Music from a virtual pipe organ includes its own compliment of
speakers and it can be perfectly balanced through the house sound
system that is also utilized for contemporary services, sermons, etc.. So,
it’s a House of Worship trifecta – for those with an open mind.

Says Brunone, “Church
music programs are growing. Fast. But, without a plan, and some innovation, it
can be a bumpy path.”

WHY ARE INSTITUTIONAL PURCHASING COOPERATIVES POPULAR RIGHT NOW?

For retailers selling goods to schools,
universities, counties, cities and states, there have always been hoops to jump
through when it comes to selling to these entities. One of the biggest
challenges has been getting on individual “bid lists”. Otherwise, as a
retailer, there is literally no chance to participate in purchasing
opportunities and Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) issued by these institutions.
Of course, there are a lot of schools, universities, counties, cities and
states to connect to! Imagine the time and manpower involved for retailers who
wish to, for example, be listed on each bid list across a state the size of
Texas or California! It’s a very tedious process (and is probably virtually
impossible to achieve)!

Of course, in most cases these entities are
actually required to find the lowest possible prices for the
goods they purchase. And, since they also need to utilize vendors that are on
their bid lists (or even those that can provide minority-owned or women-owned
certifications, they’ve sometimes been forced to select and buy from a vendor
that isn’t really all that well-suited to their needs.

Another challenge is quality, knowledge and
experience. For example, just because a vendor can provide the lowest price on
a much-needed piece of music software or a mixing board to record the school
band doesn’t mean that this same company has the knowledge or
expertise to provide accurate advice before the sale – or the
capability to install an item properly after the sale.

In short, there’s more to a smart purchase than
low pricing. And the traditional bid list/RFP process just doesn’t address
that challenge effectively. But, make no mistake, competitive pricing
matters.

That’s where Purchasing Cooperatives – also
known as “Co-ops” – come in. The concept isn’t brand new; these modern,
web-based organizations are essentially modeled, to some degree, after the old
“farm co-ops”. The goal is the same: to increase buying power and access to
quality and low pricing for Co-op members – many of whom will be purchasing key
items quite regularly. Co-ops are not yet widely utilized in all 50 states, but
their popularity is growing. And, Co-ops have truly become the norm among
institutions in key (and very powerful) purchasing states such as Texas.

Thus, entities are addressing the delays,
hiccups and procurement red tape of the past by signing on to Co-ops such as
BuyBoard (a prominent co-op that enjoys a big market share in Texas and also
services other states.). BuyBoard (and competing Co-ops) do serve as
middle-men between buyers and sellers. And that can be a very good thing. The
good news, is that it doesn’t mean that the professional relationships between
buyer and seller are compromised. Co-ops do take a small percentage of
each transaction from the seller. But, they also provide added value to buyers
by offering an easily accessible list of competitively procured product
resources ranging from audio recording gear to lunch tables – and everything in
between. So, essentially, Co-ops can be convenient “one-stop shops” for
government organizations and educational institutions.

Of course, both purchasers and retailers must
rethink the way they work through the buying/selling process. They do need to
learn a host of new procedures and be willing to embrace procurement
adjustments if they want to work with a Co-op.

For schools and local/state government
staff, they may be restricted to selecting a supplier that
participates in a Co-op. So, they may be unable to buy from a long-standing
preferred retailer that doesn’t belong to a Co-op. But, on the upside, the
lengthy and exhausting RFP process can become a non-issue (nice time
saver!), since Co-ops promise to provide product discounts and insure highly
competitive pricing to their buying customers. So, purchasing from Co-op
awarded suppliers offers institutional buyers easy access to a wide array of competitively
procured suppliers, as well as reducing time and headaches. Sure, change isn’t
easy. But sometimes it is actually an improvement.

For retailers, the time involved in uploading
their (sometimes massive) list of products onto Co-op website platforms can be
both challenging and time-consuming. And vendors should pay close attention to
membership deadlines and details so they don’t miss an opportunity. Frankly, if
a supplier decides not to list with a Co-op, they may find
that they are unable to work with longstanding school and government clients.
So the effort is, generally, well worth it!

Despite the pros and cons of trying anything
new, Purchasing Cooperatives like BuyBoard and other Co-ops remain the trend in
procurement and there’s no indication of that changing in the near future. In
many ways, buying through a Co-op makes life much easier for procurement
professionals. Co-ops offer a web-based interface through which orders may be
placed – for any and all participating suppliers. And being a Co-op member
certainly doesn’t preclude buyers from being able to take advantage of
manufacturer limited time deals, since they’re still able to maintain a direct,
personal relationship with their favorite Co-op vendors.

Once a retailer has successfully navigated the
proposal process and been awarded a contract by a Co-op, they are likely to
gain new clients that may have been difficult to reach previously. Additional
exposure is never a bad thing. And Co-ops offer a far-reaching, new outlet for
selling their goods!

Nothing’s perfect. But the Co-op concept is
really gaining traction. More and more institutions – in more states – are
adopting and working with Purchasing Cooperatives. So, it does look as though
they are here to stay. And that can be a good thing for all involved.