E-Buy tops GSA's latest online efforts

E-Buy tops GSA's latest online efforts

Service would e-mail requests for quotes or proposals to MAS vendors

By Thomas R. Temin

GCN Staff

The procurement revolution continues, at least at the General Services Administration.

E-Buy will be the next new service available through GSA Advantage, the online component of the Federal Supply Service's Multiple-Award Schedule, FSS assistant commissioner William N. Gormley said this month at the GCN Forum luncheon in Washington.

By early next month, GSA will ask all its MAS contractors to supply an e-mail address for receipt of solicitations. When an agency issues a request for quotes or proposals via the planned e-Buy menu option under GSA Advantage, all vendors of the needed product or service that supplied addresses will receive the request.

'Then, communication is between the vendor and the customer,' Gormley said.

E-Buy is a response to vendors' complaints that they don't have access to all potential schedule orders, Gormley said, while ensuring agencies get the best deal.

He predicted a November rollout for
e-Buy and said industry will get a preview.

Check the fine print

Gormley added that FSS officials are currently combing the Federal Acquisition Regulation to ensure that e-Buy doesn't break any rules. Joking that the FAR 'is a historical document,' Gormley said a GSA committee will 'go through the FAR and see what changes might be needed to promote electronic commerce.'

David Drabkin, GSA's deputy associate administrator for acquisition policy, will be the committee's chairman.

Gormley stressed how hard he and other officials are working to keep FSS moving into the new economy. Besides e-Buy, the service has other initiatives planned:

• Evergreen contracts. Under these deals, vendors receive schedule contracts with a base period of five years and three five-year options. Although true evergreen contracts aren't possible under existing laws, 20 years comes close enough, Gormley said. Three companies have already established such contracts.

• Performance incentive clauses. GSA plans to make these clauses, through which contractors share savings in lieu of receiving fixed fees, a larger part of FSS offerings. Such contracts won't be subject to GSA's customary 1 percent industrial funding fee, Gormley said.

• Corporate contracting. Vendors can consolidate their schedule contracts under a single contract number and still be listed in multiple locations. Six companies have done this so far, Gormley said.

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