Air Force's new BPAs give service chance to try commercial practices

The Air Force’s blanket purchasing agreement with Dell Computer Corp. and Micron
Electronics Inc. demonstrates that the service is willing to try new contract vehicles, a
leading Standard Systems Group official said.


“They have been looking for ways to put in place best commercial practices,”
said Kenneth Heitkamp, SSG technical director at Gunter Air Force Base Annex, Ala.
“The BPA allows the Air Force to offer its customers quicker turnaround and gives
them the advantage of getting the most current products and pricing.”


SSG officials selected Dell and Micron of Nampa, Idaho, from five companies that last
month responded to a request for information, Heitkamp said. The BPAs, worth up to $186
million combined, expire in March.


“There’s absolutely nothing wrong” with the three current Desktop V
vendors, Heitkamp said. The Air Force needs an adequate supply of PCs to meet demands
through September, he said. Dynamic Decisions Inc. of New York, International Data
Products Corp. of Gaithersburg, Md., and Raytheon Co. hold Desktop V contracts.


Micron sells two kinds of portable PCs, three kinds of desktop PCs and two types of
servers through its BPA. Dell sells a similar number of configurations, Heitkamp said. He
would not provide details on vendor discounts to General Services Administration schedule
pricing.


SSG adds a 1.66 percent fee to the prices, he said.


“They’re changing their business practices. Maybe Gunter will become the BPA
center for the Air Force,” said Patrick Gallagher, a consultant in Vienna, Va. He was
a sales executive at Zenith Data Systems during its string of Air Force Desktop contracts.


SSG officials plan to award more BPAs and indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity
contracts in coming months, Heitkamp said.


The service is relaxing Desktop V vendor requirements to move toward commercial
contracting standards, Heitkamp said. Vendors previously had to sell computers with PC
Cards; but SSG now just requires them to sell PCs that can use PC Cards, he said.


In addition, SSG no longer requires vendors to label all products they sell with bar
codes for tracking, he said.

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