Procurement

GSA launches reverse-auction platform

Thomas Sharpe

FAS Commissioner Thomas Sharpe says reverse auctions save time and resources. (File photo)

Hoping to get federal users even lower prices on common office supplies and IT commodities such as laptops, tablet PCs and monitors, the General Services Administration has launched an online reverse-auction platform.

Officials said the reverseauctions.gsa.gov site, which is available through the Federal Acquisition Service's National Information Technology Commodity Program, will deliver increased savings for agencies on the most commonly purchased office products, equipment and services. GSA officials said they also hope the site will make it easier for small companies to compete for the government's business.

The reverse-auction structure is designed to spur sellers to compete for agency business by lowering their prices. The new platform could also reduce federal agencies' acquisition processing time and costs, improve the transparency and collection of data, and encourage the participation of small businesses.

Sold!

Visit GSA's Reverse Auctions site

"This approach to government procurement can be used with a good portion of GSA's Multiple Award Schedules as an efficient and cost-effective process for purchasing commonly used products and simple services," said FAS Commissioner Thomas Sharpe in a July 9 statement. "Reverse auctions can...save time and precious acquisition resources for both government and industry."

Beyond office supplies and computer equipment, agencies can use the platform to conduct reverse auctions through select schedules and blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) for simple services such as warranties, training and installation. Additionally, the platform will allow federal customers to set aside auctions for small and disadvantaged businesses, thereby increasing opportunities for those companies to bid on government business.

"GSA is doing a lot of exciting and positive things to improve acquisition efficiencies and drive competition, but the new reverse-auction platform hits the ball out of the park," said Jamey Halke, strategic sourcing program manager at the Navy Department.

The Navy is the first agency to use the platform and is already working with GSA to add its own BPAs to the system.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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