DOD sees registry as EC aid

DOD sees registry as EC aid

With 162,000 vendors listed, it's ready for use beyond DOD, officials say

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

With 1,000 new vendors signing up each week in the Defense Department's mandatory contractor database, a Joint Electronic Commerce Program Office official announced that more than 162,000 vendors have registered and possible governmentwide use is down the road.

Although previous mandatory deadlines for the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) system slipped, JECPO officials kept the mandatory deadline for system registration as June 1, 1998, said Cindy Hall, CCR program manager. To win a federal contract after that date, vendors had to be signed up on CCR, she said.

Half there

In addition to spending $1.3 million on a system upgrade that went online last month to make CCR more user-friendly and combine two Web sites into one, JECPO officials are speaking with officials in the General Services Administration and the Interior, State and Veterans Affairs departments about using CCR in pilots, Hall said. She estimated that 45 percent to 55 percent of vendors at those agencies are registered on CCR.

In response to General Accounting Office estimates that the federal government has contracts with about 300,000 vendors, JECPO officials have built CCR to handle that number of companies and won't be overwhelmed by expanding the program beyond DOD, Hall said. Only 50,000 to 60,000 vendors registered for CCR during the winter, she said.

Begun in 1994 as a data source for the Federal Acquisition Computer Network and as part of DOD's plan to use electronic data interchange for procurements, CCR has prospered while the use of FACNET has declined, Hall said. CCR contains standard industry classification (SIC) and contractor and government entity codes, as well as data universal numbering system numbers, vendor addresses and payment information.

By eliminating the need to send the same administrative data to several DOD agencies, CCR reduces paperwork for vendors and DOD, Hall said. Vendors can sign up for the system at, and JECPO officials are trying to move the site to a .gov domain, she said.

In addition to helping the government abide by the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 and a 1993 presidential memorandum on streamlining procurement through electronic commerce. CCR lets DOD agencies collect information on vendors and abide by the Debt Collection Act, Hall said.

Vendor registration can take 15 minutes if company officials have all the data they need when they sign up, and they receive notice of their CCR registration within 48 hours, Hall said. JECPO officials want to reduce that turnaround time next year so that vendors receive online confirmation during registration that their corporate data, as listed with Dun & Bradstreet Corp. of New York, has been validated, she said.

Keeping tabs

There are many uses for such vendor data, Hall said. For example, 'there are vendors out there that owe the government money,' Hall said. 'The possibilities are endless. We can check the debarred list' of vendors that cannot win more federal contracts before paying back money they owe the government, she said. CCR may eventually include equal employment opportunity data from the Labor Department, too.

During the past eight months, feedback from CCR registrants has gotten more positive, Hall said.

Confidentiality and data security are primary concerns of JECPO officials. Only limited public information is available through the CCR Web site, and users can search for vendors through their SIC codes, she said. Only the owner of the trading partner identification number can view electronic funds transfer data through CCR, Hall said.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service makes over 80 percent of its contract vendor EFT payments using CCR data, Hall said. The Treasury Department's Financial Management Service sends the payments to vendors.

The Defense Logistics Information Service in Battle Creek, Mich., processes CCR data on an IBM AS/400 server with an IBM DB/2 database management system, and the data resides at the Defense Information Systems Agency megacenter in Columbus, Ohio, Hall said.

Logicon Inc. of Herndon, Va., supports DLIS, while DISA works with Electronic Data Systems Corp., she said. PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. of New York has a support contract with JECPO, she said.

Data duo

Technical issues were not a problem in the current upgrade project, Hall said. 'The integration of two organizations was a challenge. Two organizations each had their own solutions,' she said. DISA kept a long form of vendor data on one Web site, and DLIS kept minimum mandatory information on another site.


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