The idea behind Advantage Select is for the agency to do the upfront work and award short-term BPAs that leverage existing contractor inventories.
The General Services Administration is looking to make buying high volume IT goods like computer monitors, hard drives and other everyday commodity goods easier and cheaper, mirroring some of the cut-rate pricing consumers run across at their local technology stores.
The Federal Acquisition Service's National IT Commodity Program (NITCP) demonstrated its new Advantage Select initiative during a virtual industry day on July 16, simultaneously unveiling the solicitation for the initial product to be offered through the feature.
According to GSA, the concept behind Advantage Select is for the agency to do the upfront work for its customers and award short-term blanket purchasing agreements (BPAs) that leverage existing contractor inventories while looking to tiered pricing discounts.
"Customers want to find a product and click and pay" for some commonly used items, without worrying about managing an extended competitive process, Kelly Clark, deputy director of NITCP, said during GSA's industry day teleconference. Advantage Select will provide a path to discounted pricing for those kinds of commodity products, while taking care of some of the purchasing paperwork and details that can accompany a more traditional BPA.
The program will likely evolve as GSA hears from customers.
"This is the start of the program. Hopefully we'll be able to offer a lot more products, if we get feedback," said Clark. "We're trying to gather data points of the products we should have and how it will work. We need industry feedback." Future products that might be covered could include laptops and printers, he added.
Commercial discounts are offered in retail outlets during heavy shopping periods, like Black Friday and Christmas. Advantage Select, said Clark, would mirror some of the commercial pricing discounts offered in those sales events.
The contracts offered through Advantage Select would go to a single provider and would be short term, measured in months, according to Senior Contracting Officer Melissa Mould.
During the virtual industry day, GSA offered an initial solicitation for 22-inch computer monitors to try out the idea. The initial contract from the monitor solicitation would expire in March 2016 and its value would top out at $2 million, she said.
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