Navy inks $98.6M sked deal

The Naval Information Systems Management Center (NISMC) late last month signed an ordering agreement worth up to $98.6 million with AmeriData Federal Systems that appears to be the largest ever deal off the General Services Administration's Schedule B/C.

Gilbert Gautereaux, AmeriData's vice president of sales and marketing, said the one-year blanket purchasing agreement will offer three Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. notebook computers. Although most of the orders will come from the Marine Corps, the deal is open to other Defense and civilian agency buyers.

"This is certainly the largest deal anyone has heard of," one industry observer said.

Jan O'HARA, the federal sales manager at Toshiba, said the agreement potentially represents the largest deal her company has negotiated on the schedule program.

"It used to be you were doing well if you got a $4,000 order," she said. "Now we've had a couple of multimillion-dollar orders."

Flexibility Made Deal Possible

An NISMC spokesman said this kind of deal was possible because of the new flexibility in the schedule, which makes it an attractive alternative to formal contracts. "[GSA] is allowing [agencies] to go in and negotiate their own deals using the GSA schedule as the basis for negotiations," the spokesman said. "It may allow you to get the products you want in a more reasonable amount of time."

This approach also offers buyers, such as the Navy, lower prices. Gautereaux said AmeriData used the existing schedule price negotiated by GSA as the baseline and offered even lower prices under NISMC's basic purchasing agreement.

The company will offer Toshiba's Tecra 720 CDT for $5,649 (a 6 percent decrease from AmeriData's existing schedule price), its Satellite 100 CS for $1,750 (a 9 percent decrease) and another, as yet unspecified, notebook.

The Tecra 720 CDT features a 133 MHz Pentium processor and includes a 6X CD-ROM drive, a 28.8 kilobit/sec modem, a 1.2G hard drive, 16M of RAM and a 12.1-inch, active-matrix color display. The Satellite 100 CS features a 75 MHz Pentium processor with a 540M hard drive, 8M of RAM and a 10.4-inch, dual-scan screen.

O'HARA acknowledged that the Navy offered no minimum guarantee of sales in exchange for the lower prices, but she said the agreement gives Toshiba an inroad to Navy users that it did not have before. She said Toshiba does not generally participate in indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts that often ship "no-name products."

"This is a way to offer Toshiba products to the Navy," O'HARA said of the schedule deal. "We want to be able to offer them name-brand products."

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