Denver schools choose Epylon
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Mar 26, 2001
Amidst a number of state governments recently venturing into the e-procurement
world, a Colorado school district announced it too has created an electronic
buying system to save costs on goods and services.
Craig Cook, Denver Public School's chief operating officer, said his
purchasing department is already using the Web-based system, but a pilot
project with six participating schools would begin this June. He expects
the entire 70,000-student school district, which encompasses 136 schools
and about 30 school departments, to be using the system by the end of next
"I'm going to save a lot of soft costs, which is time. This is a huge
efficiency for them," he said. "I want the site-based staff to do the primary
mission, and that's taking care of the kids."
The school system signed a five-year contract with Epylon Corp., which
developed the system with no up-front costs and will charge vendors a 2
percent to 3 percent transaction fee per order to recoup its investment,
said Stephen George, the company's CEO and founder.
Cook said that Epylon would put vendor catalogs on the Web-based system
and that Deloitte Consulting would help train the district's employees in
using the system. He added that teachers eventually would be trained to
use the system. He said the district would continue to use underutilized
businesses, such as minority-, woman- and locally-owned businesses, which
would be included in Epylon's system.
Recently, several states, including North Carolina, California and Virginia,
have unveiled or announced that they are developing e-procurement systems,
which government officials said would be open to municipalities and school
districts in their respective states. Cook said that Colorado state government
is behind in this area and that his district couldn't afford to wait. He
also said school districts have different needs and cannot buy off state
contracts because they're "not written in a user-friendly way for us."
George said the San Francisco-based Epylon, which has 1,400 registered
buyers and 1,600 suppliers, was exclusively focused on the education sector
in its first year of existence before moving into the government sector.
He said 75 percent of the company's clients are school districts, including
the Minneapolis Public Schools.
In a separate deal that could benefit participating school districts,
Epylon recently signed an agreement with Laidlaw Transit Inc., which provides
transportation to about 2.3 million students daily in North America, that
Laidlaw will become both a buyer and supplier. Cook said that agreement
would save costs in buying repair parts for the school district's 400 buses.