In light of recent allegations of big-box retailers abusing their stranglehold on government contracts, the National Office Products Alliance (NOPA) has put out a statement calling for an end to single-source contracts with state and local governments. The statement was triggered by an announcement to local government customers that, effective approximately March 30, nationwide pricing of office products under the “U.S. Communities” contract would be changed across-the-board without input from local government customers. According to the NOPA press release:
NOPA contends that more competition is essential at the local government and school district levels to ensure consistent delivery of “best value” and help government customers avoid the need for costly, time-consuming and sometimes embarrassing audits of their office product purchases. “Regrettably, such competition has been lacking and the growing number of public audit findings indicating non-compliance with contract pricing and product purchasing requirements should be a major concern,” said Chris Bates, president of NOPA. “In several cases, state and local governments have been refunded public funds that their audits determined were due.”
This sort of day-to-day competition would not only close the door on single companies that seek to abuse their contracts, but open a new one for smaller, independent retailers to get their products in the hands of those who need them. More competition leads to better value for the buyer, and more opportunities for the seller. It’s a win-win situation, and one that’s been a long time coming.