DOD delays EC registry deadline

DOD had set a Sept. 30 deadline for vendors to register in the master CCR database or
risk being banned from doing business with the federal government.


The vendor registration is seen as crucial to promoting the administration's electronic
commerce campaign.


But with less than four months to go, DOD officials said only 10,000 companies had
registered. DOD estimates that the registry should include at least 300,000 vendors.


The department will tap into the vendor lists of the Defense Logistics Agency, the
Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Small Business Administration and Dun &
Bradstreet to form a seed file of government contractors. DOD will create a master
database from the lists by September and in October will send letters to companies seeking
validations of the information, said Michael Mestrovich, executive director of DOD's
Electronic Commerce Integration Organization.


"We're going to send out as much as we have on everybody and make it as easy as
possible for them to come back and tell us that we are correct or we need to add
information," he said.


"We've already got 70 to 80 percent of the information on a lot of people,"
he said. "Then we'll build a new CCR around just what we have missing and focus on
those people who haven't done any business with the federal government to make it easier
for them to register."


Mestrovich met last week with DOD comptroller John Hamre and DOD procurement director
Eleanor Spector to receive senior management's blessing for the plan.


Mestrovich is scheduled to unveil DOD's new CCR drive today at a Dun & Bradstreet
government electronic commerce symposium in Washington.


The urgency to extend the deadline is fueled by some potentially dire consequences for
vendors that fail to register. According to a directive issued by Spector in February,
vendors not registered in the CCR by Sept. 30 will not be eligible for contract awards,
solicitations or payments after that date.


Any company seeking to do business with the federal government must be registered in
the CCR. The one-time registration will let a company sell to all government agencies.


The only exceptions to the rule are for buys made with a government IMPAC credit card,
buys by contracting officers outside the United States, buys under classified contracts
and buys to support DOD deployments.


"The government on one hand is saying we're not going to do business with you
until you're registered," said Jim Mulder, electronic commerce integration manager at
the Defense Information Systems Agency. "On the other hand, DOD has a critical item
they need from somebody that's not registered and they have to have it tomorrow. We're
only shooting ourselves in the foot."


But it's not all bad news. According to Mulder, DOD is now processing 500 CCR
registrations a week compared to the double digit numbers that were coming in at the start
of registration more than a year ago.


Even at this pace, however, DOD probably won't meet its 300,000 goal by Sept. 30.
Mestrovich said he believes the former registration process was too difficult. The simpler
format might help drive up the size of the final registry pool, he said.


Vendors can register by mail, fax or e-mail. Since September 1996, vendors have been
able to register through the World Wide Web at http://www.acq.osd.mil/ec.


A DOD integrated product team is working to shorten the processing time for a
registration, trying to reduce the six-page form to two pages.


Under the current system, it takes the CCR Assistance Center about 30 days to process a
paper registration form and seven to 10 days to process an online application.
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