DOD builds out its electronic mall

DOD builds out its electronic mall

The Defense Logistics Agency is adding 30,000 new suppliers of off-the-shelf products to the Defense Department's EMall online procurement system. The expanded site, at emall.dla.mil, will go live at the end of January.

DLA officials licensed data integration software from webMethods Inc. of Fairfax, Va., late in fiscal 2001 to link the EMall to other online marketplaces and catalogs, said Don O'Brien, the EMall program manager.

The chief source of new suppliers, especially for IT products, will be the Ariba Commerce Services Network of Ariba Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. Plans call for linking the EMall later to two avionics marketplaces, Exostar LLC of Herndon, Va., and Aeroxchange of Dallas.

Although DOD personnel are the primary EMall users, about 30 percent of customers come from other agencies such as the Postal Service, O'Brien said.

What distinguishes the EMall from similar paperless procurement sites is access to up-to-date product information at the source rather than information accumulated in a warehouse, O'Brien said. An EMall search can yield both commercial and military-specification items.

The webMethods software lets users 'punch out' to a supplier's Web site, yet buy items from that supplier in a single, integrated EMall shopping cart, O'Brien said. The software cost $275,000 for a two-year renewable license.

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