GAO praises NASA procurement site

The electronic procurement system at NASA is user-friendly, effective and fast, according to a recent General Accounting Office report.

About 87 percent of the businesses and NASA procurement staff that GAO polled gave NASA's Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS) system high marks. NAIS, developed in 1994, is the first agencywide online procurement information site in the federal government.

However, GAO could not measure benefits, such as how much time the system saved procurement specialists, because of data limitations. While NASA believes that NAIS has had a positive impact on competition, NASA's conclusion was based on only two years' worth of data.

Tom Deback, a NASA procurement analyst, said during a telephone interview that NAIS saves nearly $2.3 million a year in staffing and administrative costs, while the system costs NASA $100,000 a year to run.

Because of NAIS' initial success, the federal government plans to develop a governmentwide electronic procurement information system. But the system is far from completion, and many obstacles remain, according to the GAO report.

Deback said individuals can search NAIS for contracts by state, congressional districts, business type, and product or service provided.

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