Air Force offers online shopping via six BPAs
- By Bill Murray
- Mar 15, 1999
Defense Department users can buy servers, PCs and peripherals online through six
blanket purchasing agreements the Air Force has negotiated under its $435 million
Information Technology Tools program.
The Standard Systems Group last week announced the two-year IT2 PC and server BPAs it
has set with Dell Computer Corp., Gateway Inc. and Micron Electronics Inc. of Nampa,
SSG also negotiated IT2 BPAs for accessories, multifunction printers, plotters and
scanners from Comark Federal Systems and Government Technology Services Inc., both of
Chantilly, Va., and Westwood Computer Corp. of Springfield, N.J.
All IT2 bidders had to show they could process orders through a Web site as well as by
electronic data interchange, fax, paper and telephone, said Phil Kennett, vice president
of Gateways federal group.
Ordering under the IT2 agreements, which will replace the services Desktop
requirements buys, will likely begin this month, SSG officials said.
The two-year BPAs for peripherals have a $35 million value, said Lt. Col. Glenn Taylor,
director of SSGs Commercial Information Technology Product Area Directorate
(CIT-PAD) at the Gunter Annex of Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
The Air Force expects to get competitive pricing on goods sold through the BPAs, SSG
One IT2 vendor will discount a 450-MHz desktop PC by 38 percent off its General
Services Administration schedule price, said Maj. Terry Slemp, the IT2 acquisition program
manager at CIT-PAD.
Portable PCs will cost 15 percent to 35 percent less than on GSAs IT Schedule,
and server discounts will range from 20 percent to 42 percent, Taylor said. Peripherals
will cost as much as 22 percent less, he said.
Both Dell and Micron Electronics hold one-year Desktop V companion BPAs that expire in
June, Taylor said.
SSG officials are trying to make the transition from Desktop V to the new BPAs as
transparent as possible, he said.
GTSIs printer BPA will expire this month, so the transition to GTSIs IT2
buy should be uncomplicated, he said.
The procurement took SSG officials less than a month, Taylor said. They extended
invitations to bid on Feb. 9.
After surveying vendors past performance, they invited four to bid for the PC and
server BPAs and six to bid for the printer and peripherals BPAs, he said.
After the bids were in, SSG officials consulted a government past-performance database
in making final decisions, he said.
The Air Force saved by using BPAs instead of running a sixth Desktop
indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity procurement, Taylor said. SSG spent $1.8 million
over 18 months in awarding its Desktop V contracts, he said; the IT2 BPAs cost about
$60,000 to set up over one month.
The three Desktop V contracts held by Dunn Computer Corp. of Dulles, Va., Dynamic
Decisions Inc. of New York and Raytheon Data Systems have an option year that expires this
spring. SSG officials can choose to let them expire or extend them for another year.
On its BPA, Dell will sell Dimension XPS and OptiPlex GX1 desktop PCs, PowerEdge 4300
departmental and PowerEdge 6300 enterprise servers, and Latitude CPi notebook PCs with
233-, 266- and 300-MHz Pentium II processors. Dell also plans to add peripherals, said Tom
Buchsbaum, vice president and general manager of Dell federal.
The Air Forces Premier Page will stay up on Dells Web site, Buchsbaum said.
The site lists products and prices from the Desktop V BPA, and buyers can configure and
order there, he said. In addition, it posts information about terms and technical support,
and buyers can query order status and contact sales representatives, he said.
Gateway will sell its GP Series 400- and 450-MHz Pentium II systems, the Solo 2500
Series of notebooks, and the Gateway ALR 7200 and 9200 servers, Kennett said.
Westwood will sell color and monochrome printers from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lexmark
International Inc. of Lexington, Ky., as well as portable printers from Canon USA Inc. of
Lake Success, N.Y., Keith Grabel, the companys president, said.
Comarks BPA will list products from Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark and Tektronix Inc.
of Wilsonville, Ore., said Alan Bechara, the companys vice president and chief