Agencies can pool buys through new Web pilot

Agencies can pool buys through new Web pilot

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

The Federal Technology Service last week announced it would conduct a one-year test of group buying engines for the eFast program on the Web, at www.buyers.gov.

FTS' site will pool individual and agency buys for volume savings on spot purchases.

'Group purchasing is a valuable new tool for the General Services Administration as it continues to streamline operations, improve services and take advantage of its tremendous purchasing power to the benefit of taxpayers,' Manny Devera, FTS' director of information technology solutions for regional service centers, said in a statement.

The buyers.gov site, set to open this summer, will let government employees and agencies buy computers, printers, servers and other items in time-limited group buying periods called buy-cycles. The more buyers who bid on a product, the lower the price is for everyone. The price drops incrementally until the bidding ends.

Each buy-cycle closes either when a designated time period ends or when a maximum number of orders is reached.

Every buyer in on a bid pays the final price. The order goes to a government-approved supplier that ships the goods directly to the buyers.

MobShop Inc. of San Francisco is one company tapped by GSA to power various procurement engines on the Web during the pilot.

Becky Porter, public relations manager for MobShop, said the other participants in the volume buying end of the project are CISglobal, a systems integrator in Silver Spring, Md.; KPMG Consulting, an electronic-commerce unit of auditor KPMG Peat Marwick of New York; and Volumebuy Inc. of Tarzana, Calif., a developer of buyer-pooling software.

In the works

In addition, ACS Government Solutions Group Inc. of Rockville, Md., has teamed up with SupplierMarket.com of Burlington, Mass., to provide GSA with a private auction application. E-commerce platform provider Ariba Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., has announced it will acquire SupplierMarket.com in a stock merger.

Other companies said to be involved in the buyers.gov project include Electronic Data Systems Corp., FreeMarkets Inc. of Pittsburgh, Frictionless Commerce Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., and Oracle Corp.

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