Army awards three BPAs for PC wares

The Army last week awarded blanket purchase agreements potentially worth a total of $300 million to three resellers to provide peripherals, accessories and software for its installed base of desktop and laptop computers.

Comark Federal Systems, Government Technology Services Inc. and Vanstar Government Services each won BPAs from the Army Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition Center-Washington for the governmentwide Enhanced Technology-1 program. ET-1 has more than 300 line items.

Products included in the ET-1 program range from laser printers and cartridges to color monitors, sound cards and speaker systems. Lt. Col. Mary Fuller, commander of the Army Small Computer Program, Fort Monmouth, N.J., described ET-1 as having an ''Office Depot approach'' to supplying Army commands worldwide with PC add-ons that are ''not available from our current stable of products." Those products are provided by the Army's PC-2, Portable-2 and related contracts.

ET-1 offers 15 printers, with a total orderable quantity of more than 25,000 units. ET-1 also provides up to 30,000 copies of Microsoft Corp. Office office automation software as well as Corel Corp.'s WordPerfect and Lotus Development Corp.'s SmartSuite 97.

ET-1 is the first contract of its type awarded by any of the military services since the late 1980s, when GTSI won the Navy PC Companion contract, which was valued at $534 million.

Jim Dunn, vice president of business development at GTSI, said the company did well on that vehicle. "We maxed that contract out,'' he said. GTSI sold about 60,000 printers off the Companion contract, he said.

Dunn said he believes GTSI also should do well on the Army's ET-1 vehicle ''because there are a lot customers out there who cannot fulfill their needs off other existing contracts. From a customer perspective, we will be able to offer better prices, better warranties and faster delivery than off our schedule contracts.''

The ET-1 award marks the first major win for Comark from the Army Small Computer Program office. GTSI and Vanstar both have PC-2 and Portable-2 contracts. Vanstar, formerly Sysorex Information Systems Inc., was one of the original winners on both contracts. GTSI won Portable-2, and it now manages the PC-2 contract originally won by BTG Inc., which sold its product reseller business to GTSI earlier this year.

Alan Bechara, vice president and chief operating officer of Comark, said ET-1 will deliver the ''best products at the best price,'' adding that BPAs provide pricing at a discount from commercial and General Services Administration prices. Bechara said the ET-1 contract ''is another example of the Army hearing what customers want and then following up with action."

Bob Dornan, senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc., McLean, Va., said the Army's use of BPAs for ET-1 ''shows there is still a consistent movement away from single- or multiple-vendor award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts (IDIQs).''

Mark O'Donnell, Vanstar's vice president of business development, pointed out that although ET-1 technically qualified as a BPA, ''it's more like an IDIQ, with similar terms and conditions [to that type of contract].'' This includes, O'Donnell added, the kind of fixed delivery and technical support requirements usually found on IDIQ contracts.

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