• Collective buying power for STEAM

Collective buying power for STEAM

Collective buying power for STEAM

Collective buying power for STEAM

How to use your Community of Learning to leverage group buying power for classroom supplies.

The Kahui Ako (Community of Learning) policy is designed to help collaborative schools and teachers quickly share resource, knowledge and funding, all for the benefit of their students and teachers.

At OfficeMax, we've been delighted to see the Communities of Learning make the most of their funding to bring STEAM learning into their classrooms.

Are you trying to stock your schools with useful resources? Leveraging your group buying power could be a great way to make the most of your budgets.

How to leverage your group buying power

STEAM can be taught with recycled materials, or your existing classroom supplies such as paint and card. But what about the learning tools that take your lessons to the next level—like robots or science kits? These can be a huge teaching asset, but it's rare for individual schools to have the funding for laser printers or a set of Spheros.

So how do schools do it? One way is to use your collective buying power:

What is collective buying power?

Collective buying power is essentially "strength in numbers". If you have a large group of people who know what product or service they want, and what they're willing to pay for it, you have more power to negotiate for discounts.

How do you leverage collective buying power?
There are two things to consider before you approach suppliers to ensure you're setting yourself up for success:
  1. Work out who is doing what
  2. Develop a procurement plan
Planning meeting

1. Work out who is doing what

This definitely isn't a one-person job. Before embarking on this project, work out:

  1. What needs to be done
  2. Who is responsible for doing it
One of the best ways to do this is to build a RACI Chart.

First, build your task list:

This step is easy to skip. Many of us are often so eager to get started, we dive straight into these projects before we've fully considered everything that needs to be ticked off first. While it's tempting to think that you'll get it done faster if you just start, this approach can often lead to complications and lost time later on.

Take the time now to really think through the following. You need to:
  • Form a group (and decide who is in that group)
  • Discover what your joint needs are, and;
    - What the cost of those needs are
    - What your collective budget is
    - What the risks may be
    - What value for money you are trying to achieve
  • Develop a procurement plan
  • Research your options
  • Request quotes
  • Evaluate and negotiate your terms
  • Award the contract
  • Manage the contract
There may be some extra tasks that are specific to your group. Do you need to keep sustainable options in mind? Are there people or students with specific needs that you need to address in your group?

Once you've figured out all the steps you need to take, it's time to assign them.

1. Who is Responsible?

This is the person who is responsible for carrying out a task. For example, this person (or people) researches what the joint needs of the group are. Make sure each task has at least one Responsible person marked on it.

2. Who is Accountable?

This is the final "the buck stops here" person. They have sign off power on their assigned task—and carry the pressure of failure if it falls over. Try to avoid having only one person accountable for all your tasks.

3. Who needs to be Consulted?

Who needs to take a look at the task before it's signed off?

4. Who needs to be Informed?

Anyone who needs to be told about the task once it it has been signed off.

Ready to start? The Ministry of Education has created a useful RACI template to get you going.

2. Develop a Procurement Plan

A good Procurement Plan will clearly outline your group's arrangements. It will help you save time and avoid duplicating your efforts.

Your plan should outline:
  1. The Overall Requirement
    i.e. "Purchase joint STEAM resources for your Community of Learning"
  2. The Buyers
    Which schools are involved and what your joint budget is
  3. The Key Contacts
    Who is the lead and the key contacts from each school
  4. The Supporting Documentation
    i.e. Contracts
  5. The Specific Requirements
    Outline of each product or service you require. Need help with this? See our Guide below for a list of STEAM products and the Year Levels they're suited to.
  6. The Procurement Approach
    How will you approach suppliers, what will you need from them etc
  7. The Evaluation
    Who will evaluate the final suppliers and what will their process be? Will you focus on price over quality? Which services/products are essential and which can be left off the list if necessary?
  8. How will you be awarding the Contract
    What are your terms and conditions? Who will approve the Contract?
  9. Your Timeline
    From the plan approval all the way to contract start, map out when each of these steps should be completed.
To help, the Ministry of Education has developed their own Procurement template, which is a great place to get started.

STEAM Product Guide

Need help getting started with your list of products? We've developed this quick guide to STEAM products and how they fit into computational thinking for digital technologies

See which products work across different year levels and what learning objectives they will assist your teachers with.

These steps can seem daunting when you first start, but the good news is that once they've been done, a lot of the hard work and problem solving is out of the way. There will still be things you need to work on along the way, but a good RACI chart and a solid Procurement Plan mean you'll have the basic foundations that will see you through.

Need help with your STEAM stock? Our Specialists have helped schools across the country fit out their classrooms with products to suit their needs. Get in touch today and see how we can help you make the most of your budgets.

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