According to NJ.com, New Jersey members of the National Office Product Alliance (NOPA) are suing the state over their decision to shift office supply contracts from the hands of individual vendors to one company, Staples:
The state’s office supplies contract, worth about $10 million, shifted from 17 individual contracts to Mass.-based Staples Advantage on Sept. 1.
The move will save the state about $2.25 million and could also generate savings for municipalities, counties and school boards that choose to purchase office supplies through the state contract, according to the state Department of Treasury.
But New Jersey members of the National Office Product Alliance are seeking to put the new contract on hold, claiming the decision to go with Staples was based on an unfair analysis of product costs that favored the larger company.
This is another in a line of moves that seem out of character for government purchasers. All the evidence points to the single-source contract as being a recipe for disaster, and this has nothing to do with my distaste for big-box retailers. When one company is in charge of all your office supplies, it leads to a lack of competitive pricing and the potential for abuse, as seen in the numerous Office Depot state-contract lawsuits.
I’m also always in favor of sticking with little guy, but that’s neither here nor there. Single-source contracting is bad news, plain and simple.