Universities in the Big Ten conference, the oldest and most influential collegiate athletics league in the world, also comprise the Big Ten Academic Alliance, a collaborative student-centric society and scholastic-focused coalition formed in 1958. Alliance member institutions contribute to the common educational good, such as shared access to a digital library system that constitutes the largest single pool of academic resources in North America.
Breaking bulk involves the transportation of goods (usually in a box/crate, barrel, etc.) that were separated from a shipping container (most likely a TEU). It is not just a wholesaler strategy utilized by big box retailers like Sam’s Club or Costco, whose sourcing strategy involves procuring large lot sizes of commodity items such as paper towels and then selling in smaller lot sizes. Buying with economic marginal cost advantages in mind helps big box vendors. Similarly, the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) pools common educationally-relevant resources for member institutions. The BTAA Purchasing Consortium is a collaborative endeavor comprised of purchasing directors from various universities. Its purview is to provide cost savings across campuses through strategic collaborative sourcing initiatives, vertically integrating its supply chain via the development and implementation of technology. Requests for proposals are created by this group after strategic buying initiatives are agreed upon and suppliers are assessed and evaluated, resulting in possible master agreement contracts then being executed. Recent examples include software development efforts and group licensing agreements that allow member institutions to save money and offer increased access for students.