Supermini hits $500M mark

Litton/PRC Inc. has reached the $500 million mark in orders on its governmentwide Supermini contract, company officials reported last week. The company is also updating the contract with new servers and PCs.

The company reached the half-billion-dollar milestone about three and a half years into the Navy-administered contract. Supermini, open to the Defense Department and civilian agencies, emphasizes server technology. Peter J. Farrell, PRC's vice president and general manager of the Supermini program, said sales of Hewlett-Packard Co. servers, Oracle Corp. databases and accompanying services have been the best-selling items on the contract thus far.

Farrell said the company is working to keep the contract's offerings up to date. Litton/PRC plans to add HP's K-Class Model 410 and 210 business servers to the contract within 60 days. The servers, introduced commercially late last year, will replace Supermini's current high-end K-Class 400 and 200 models. The company earlier this year replaced HP's T500 server with the T520 Enterprise Server. "We are staying very current with HP," Farrell said. "We've had good luck with them."

Charlie Trentacosti, marketing manager for HP's federal government business unit, said Supermini has gone well for HP. "It's a really good contract for people who want to migrate to client/server, do data warehousing, decision support and those kinds of things," he said. PRC has also been refreshing the contract at the PC and PC server levels. The company recently added Digital Equipment Corp.'s Venturis FX 100 MHz Pentium PCs to the contract [FCW, June 10]. The company also added Digital's Celebris XL, a 133 MHz Pentium that can be upgraded to a dual-processor configuration; Prioris HX, a 166 MHz Pentium server which can be upgraded to a dual-processor configuration; and Prioris ZX, a dual-processor 133 MHz machine upgradable to a quad-processor configuration.

Agencies will be able to order hardware on Supermini through September 1997. Customers can order services, maintenance and training through 2001. About 20 percent of the orders on Supermini have been for such services as network engineering, performance engineering and integration, Farrell said.

As for the future, civilian agencies stand to have a larger slice of the Supermini pie to work with. Ten percent of Supermini's $2.5 billion delegation of procurement authority has been reserved for civilian agencies. But a DPA boost is in the works that would increase the project's ceiling to $2.9 billion and make the civilian component 20 percent of the total. The General Services Administration has sent the proposed increase to the Navy for review. Farrell said he expects the expansion to be approved within the next two months.

Differentiation

Indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts such as Supermini must do battle with other governmentwide IDIQ contracts and the resurgent GSA schedule, industry analysts said.

"They are not operating in a vacuum any longer," said Bob Dornan, senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc., McLean, Va. "Competition among acquisition strategies and contracts is driving prices down and forcing [vendors] to refresh the technology."

But Farrell said he believes Supermini has points of differentiation. For one, the contract provides a higher level of integration than can be typically found on the GSA schedule.

"We're in a different business than the schedule," Farrell said. He said PRC's integration center has the ability to custom configure systems before they are shipped to the customer's site.

Another factor is Supermini's Executive Quality Council, which meets every six weeks to make sure the underlying processes of Supermini - ordering, contract administration, etc. - are working smoothly.

The council includes Farrell, two other PRC officials and representatives from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command's Supermini program office, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, and the Navy's Inventory Parts Control Center.

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