Denver schools choose Epylon

As a number of state governments venture into the e-procurement world, aColorado school district announced that it too has created an electronicbuying system to save money on goods and services.

Craig Cook, Denver Public School chief operating officer, said his purchasingdepartment is already using the Web-based system, but a pilot project withsix participating schools will begin this June. He expects that the entire70,000-student school district, which encompasses 136 schools and about30 school departments, to be using the system by the end of next year.

"I'm going to save a lot of soft costs, which is time. This is a hugeefficiency for them," he said.

The school system signed a five-year contract with Epylon Corp., whichdeveloped the system with no upfront costs and will charge vendors a 2 percentto 3 percent transaction fee per order to recoup its investment, said StephenGeorge, the company's CEO and founder.

Cook said that Epylon would put vendor catalogs on the Web-based systemand that Deloitte Consulting would help train the district's em-ployeesin using the system. He added that teachers eventually will be trained touse the system.

Recently, several states, including North Carolina, California and Virginia,have unveiled or announced that they will be developing one e-procurementsystem that would be open to municipalities and school districts. Cook saidhis district couldn't afford to wait for Colorado. He said school districtshave different needs and cannot buy from 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 registeredbuyers and 1,600 suppliers, was focused on the education sector before movinginto the government sector. He said 75 percent of the company's clientsare school districts, including Minneapolis Public Schools.

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