Hughes opens DT V to credit card buys

Federal users planning to buy computers from the Hughes Data Systems Inc. Air Force Desktop V contract can now complete their purchases the way many consumers do: use plastic - in this case the government's International Merchant Purchase Authorization Card (IMPAC).

The Air Force also has made it easier for IMPAC buyers to do their end-of-year shopping on Desktop V by raising the limits on credit card purchases from $2 500 to $25 000 which equals roughly 10 computers depending on configuration on the Desktop V contract.

Pete Carrier Hughes' Desktop V deputy program manger said the company expects that use of the IMPAC card combined with electronic ordering will cut processing time from "weeks...[to] only a few hours."

HDS also stated that the contract now features recently announced PCs from Compaq Computer Corp.

Robert Frye director of the Air Force Standard Systems Group (SSG) believes electronic ordering combined with payments made through the IMPAC card will enhance the value of the Desktop V contract for users. "With the addition of electronic ordering via the IMPAC the Desktop V contract is an even greater value that will be very tough to beat " he said.

Joel Grigg the SSG HDS project manager added that electronic credit card ordering means "we can save resources increase order accuracy and get the product into our customers' hands much more quickly."

Carrier agreed. "It's clear that the Air Force is trying to do more business using the IMPAC credit card because its faster and saves money " he said. HDS can complete an order in three hours using the new system and deliver it within eight days according to the company.

SSG's Frye said the Air Force has also speeded up the process by sending all orders directly to Hughes rather than first routing them through the Air Force Central Order Processing Office. Frye said SSG wants to "streamline all our contract processes to eliminate archaic and unnecessary restraints and more importantly better serve our customers."

Air Force buyers will be able to use their IMPAC cards to order a new line of Compaq Desktop 2000 models that HDS added to the contract earlier this month shortly after their commercial introduction.

Don Weatherson Compaq's vice president for government and education said the company "continues to strengthen its growing business of providing comprehensive technology solutions to the governmemnt market.... We worked closely with Hughes and the Air Force to be able to offer Compaq's newest Deskpros within two weeks of their introduction on the Desktop V contract."Compaq estimated the value of business it will do from Desktop V at $120 million through the life of the contract.

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