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Identify What Local Means to Your Organization

Chances are good that your institution is purchasing goods and services from all over the world, and certainly from all over the U.S. Part of the work in creating a focused local purchasing strategy is to identify what “local” will mean for your institution and collaborating community. Local may be defined as a large, low-density region of a state in proximity to a rural branch of a state university, it may be everything inside the boundaries of a specific city or county, or it may be a set of zip codes surrounding an urban university.

When you begin to articulate your local purchasing footprint, you’ll consider the density of businesses and potential suppliers near your campus as well as the place of your institutional spend in the scope of the local economy. A smaller geographic range may mean a smaller pool of potential local vendors is available, and you’ll need to balance that factor against what your institution’s leadership views as a desired footprint. Consider how the presence of other large institutions can shape your local purchasing map, as you may find it possible in the future to coordinate multi-anchor purchasing strategies to amplify local impact.

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