Navy enters buying exchange

The largest of the Navy's five systems commands has staked its claim to electronic procurement, agreeing to use a vendor's buying exchange to purchase professional support services.

Commerce One Inc. will host the buying exchange for the Naval Sea Systems Command under a five-year agreement worth $2.8 million, said Angela Smookler, a Navsea spokeswoman. Commerce One won the delivery order for the first known federal buying exchange Jan. 19.

Navsea program managers will place professional support services orders under the multiple-award contracts that the command plans to award by April 1, Smookler said.

Commerce One will create a database of professional support services delivery orders made through the buying exchange. Such a database will "help streamline what we buy and eliminate redundancies," Smookler said. Navsea officials aim to save money and time in the procurement process by making the process more simple and direct, she said.

Buying exchanges use intranets to connect multiple buyers with multiple, pre-qualified sellers. Navsea is a $20-billion organization, and the Commerce One buying exchange will involve both headquarters and field program managers making delivery orders that MAC vendors can bid to win, Smookler said.

Navsea engineers, builds and supports the Navy's 300 ships and their combat systems.

When federal managers have thought about conducting electronic procurement in the form of buying exchanges or reverse auctions, they've usually conducted them to buy commodity products, rather than services.

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