D.C. region OKs buying deal
- By Eric Kulisch
- Jan 11, 2001
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has selected Digital
Commerce Corp. to provide an online shopping vehicle for its 17 member governments.
The deal is believed to be the nation's first regional, multi-jurisdictional
electronic purchasing system at the local government level, government and
company officials said Wednesday.
"If this is successful, I think other state and local governments will
be looking at this," said Tony Bansal, president and chief executive officer
of Herndon, Va.-based Digital Commerce.
The Web-based purchasing system should save procurement officials time
and money by enabling them to use online catalogs to make open-market buys
from multiple vendors, as well as pool their purchases to take advantage
of volume discounts, Bansal said.
Local governments throughout Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and
Maryland, along with some 20 regional authorities, school districts and
commissions, share 21 contracts that account for $100 million in annual
cooperative purchases. The new procurement tool will enable governments
to expand the area's Cooperative Purchasing Program by making it easier
to find pre-negotiated contracts on which to piggyback, officials said.
MWCOG's goal is to take the governments' "entire file cabinet full of
contracts and create electronic catalogs out of them" to eliminate duplicative
purchases, said Carl Kalish, head of the Cooperative Purchasing Program.
By giving officials an easy-to-use tool, "we are hoping to reduce the
amount of maverick or rogue procurements," Kalish said.
Jurisdictions could see savings from 5 percent to 10 percent of total
procurement costs, Bansal said, adding that the voluntary program's success
will depend on how quickly and widely it's adopted. The company will train
officials on the system and MWCOG staff will promote it across the region.
Digital Commerce will create a Web platform for MWCOG that incorporates
components of its flagship business-to-government solutions: FedCenter.com
and StateGovCenter.com. The new electronic purchasing system is scheduled
to be operational July 1, with several jurisdictions participating in pilot
programs before then.
The transaction-based system is free for participating jurisdictions.
Vendors pay a fee of 0.95 percent for each transaction — roughly 16 percent
of which goes to MWCOG.