ICMA taps buying partner

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has teamed up

with Way2Bid Inc. in an effort to design better channels for local and state

governments to conduct online procurement.

Way2Bid, one of the leading online exchange companies, believes that

the corporate partnership with ICMA will provide a direct line to the association's

members and a clear idea of their needs. Also, the company says it can give

ICMA government members a broader vision of what an online exchange could

do for them through the sharing of expertise and resources.

Way2Bid began operations in 1995 and brought its Web-based procurement

mall online in June 2000. The company hosts and operates the site, but doesn't

get involved in buying or selling decisions. Access to the Way2Bid Exchange

is free, but users have to register. The company gets most of its money

from transaction fees charged to vendors selling through the site.

Services offered through the online Way2Bid Exchange site include bidding,

sealed bidding, contract management, catalogs, requests for proposals and

reverse auctions.

"The value in creating an online exchange is that it offers a solution

to one of the issues facing local governments," said Bill Perkin, Way2Bid's

chief executive officer. "The whole point is to respond to what our users

in local government need."

Through its ICMA partnership, Way2Bid largely will focus on identifying

government purchasers to meet their mandated requirements, according to

Debra Risner, the company's director of public relations. For example, in

April it integrated the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing Commodity/Services

Code into the Way2Bid Exchange.

This spring more than 500 vendors were registered as suppliers with

the exchange, which also had about 100 buying organizations, including some

30 city and county governments and three state agencies.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached

at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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