Keeping a school supplied can feel like feeding a monster that never stops eating. The custodian’s closet is one place that monster likes to hide, eating dollars like they were trifold napkins.

When it comes to the cost of custodial operations, you can’t starve the beast – that way lies service cuts and health impacts on students and teachers. So how do you beat the monster?

One way to tame the beast is a healthy diet, otherwise known as efficient operations. Another way is to control the cost of its food. In this case, that means a procurement strategy that holds down the price of supplies. Taking advantage of procurement alliances or cooperatives can open opportunities there. Of course, it’s a happy budget that reaps the benefits of both operational and logistics strategies, but there’s a third way, too.

Implement both ideas without having to build up the best practices needed to manage each yourself. Your school can onboard those elusive efficiencies and take advantage of price-cutting procurement that’s already running at speed with a custodial partner.

It’s true that contract negotiations are a beast of another color, taking their own time, energy, and expertise to manage well. But did you know that purchasing cooperatives can also help you negotiate those contracts for your schools?

Look for a purchasing alliance with experience helping districts comply with state procurements laws and regulations. Pre-negotiated contracts may be available, or if the alliance has a relationship with the service provider, they may be able to handle the bulk of a contracting or re-contracting process while still answering unique needs of your schools.

In this way, you can on-board efficient operations and on-site management, while simultaneously benefiting from the procurement savings the service vendor has built into their business, all while saving your district leadership the headaches and risk of handling the contracting process alone. That’s enough to soothe the grumpiest budget beast.

Gordon Buntrock is National Director of Service Delivery for education services at ABM and has more than 40 years of experience in the facility services industry. He joined ABM in July 2016.