SEWP Still Leads the Way
With nearly 150 approved contractors, a huge array of products, and stellar customer service, it’s no surprise NASA SEWP (Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement) is still going strong after 24 years. This Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) is now in its fifth iteration and available to all federal agencies. It provides a fast, easy, and cost-effective way for agencies to buy hardware, software, telecommunications and networking equipment, peripherals, and associated services. In FY2015 alone, nearly 25,000 orders for federal agencies totaling $2.55 billion were processed through SEWP.
While there are other GWACs available for agencies to use, there are many reasons SEWP maintains its lead status. The first is price. SEWP has the second lowest processing fee at .39 percent. The NIH CIOCS
contract is currently at .35 percent. For common configurations of laptops and desktops, SEWP has implemented strategic sourcing. With this in place, agencies simply shop for the lowest price on these pre-negotiated builds.
“It has made competition fierce, but that drives down the price of these standard configurations,” says Carroll Genovese, CDW-G’s SEWP Program Manager. “Not only does this ensure agencies are getting the best price, it also speeds up the process.”
Strategic sourcing is an important part of category management, a method the federal government uses to increase efficiency, reduce redundancies, optimize funds spent on commodity IT, and lower acquisition costs. It does this by creating categories for common spending and costs. Through category management, and more specifically strategic sourcing, the government saved about $470 million in FY2015. There is also the potential for much greater savings, according to a GAO report. GSA expects growth to continue on contracts including SEWP throughout FY2017.
Customer service is another major reason agencies continue using SEWP. The SEWP Program Manager Joanne Woytek makes customer service a top priority. Her team is known for working around the clock to guide customers through the quoting process. They continuously monitor requests from quote through delivery.
The SEWP team ensures an extremely fast turnaround when required. For example, if an agency requests a product or service not currently on the contract, SEWP can often add it within the hour. In other cases, an agency may have a 24-hour time period in which to buy products or services. Once the request is entered into the SEWP QRT (Quote Request Tool), the SEWP program office sends an e-mail to all contractors selected for that particular requirement. If the request is out of the ordinary in any way, the SEWP office will contact contractors personally to get fast help to the customer.
SEWP holds their contractors accountable with publicly visible “scorecards,” which rate contractors on reporting, customer satisfaction, information distribution, and contract adherence. “High ratings are something all contract holders value greatly,” says Genovese.
SEWP also keeps tabs on how well vendors and equipment manufacturers are adhering to quality requirements. It has recently begun encouraging manufacturers to attain specific ISO certifications to ensure the integrity of the equipment they are selling and prevent the possibility of counterfeit equipment.
Requiring companies to have ISO certification is just the latest effort by the SEWP program office to give agencies peace of mind and ensure a smooth acquisition experience. It’s that attention to detail and customer focus that keeps agencies relying on SEWP for their technology needs.