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Administration Puts Procurement Communications Success Stories on the Internet

GSA #9366

December 2, 1996
Contact: Bill Bearden
(202) 501-1231or bill.bearden@gsa.gov
or Lawrence J. Haas at OMB
(202) 395-7254


In an effort to further encourage the reinvention of government procurement, the Clinton Administration today announced that it has placed on the Internet more than 60 procurement "success stories" that show how Federal agencies are using innovative practices to more effectively communicate their contracting needs.

The initiative results from a joint effort between the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) and the General Services Administration (GSA) to help agencies improve the ways in which they communicate with contractors. These stories highlight successes that range from using the Internet to negotiate contracts to emphasizing ongoing communications with industry to help to define and evaluate agencies' technical service requirements and match them with commercial "off-the-self" products. The stories are indexed by agency and stages in the acquisition process.

"In the past, government procurement regulations often made it difficult for us to talk with potential suppliers," said OFPP Administrator Steven Kelman. "Encouraging communications is common sense, and it mirrors the way the commercial world buys goods and services."

"It's important to share our success stories and learn from our results," said Martin G. Wagner, Associate Administrator of GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy. "Agencies can learn valuable lessons from each other and improve their efforts by sharing information."

In December 1994, OFPP and GSA formed a project team to help agencies improve their communications practices through all phases of the acquisition cycle (e.g., market research, source solicitation, contract award, contract administration). As a part of that effort, 22 agencies pledged to (1) identify and eliminate impediments to communicating their contracting needs to industry, and (2) cooperate with each other and OFPP to share their success stories with contractors, the general public and other agencies.

Among the highlights are:

The interior Department estimates that it reduced the time needed to award a contract by 30 to 60 days, and saved bidders significant amounts of money, by allowing bidders to use oral presentations as a means for reducing the length of written proposals.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in working to enhance civilian nuclear safety in Russia and Ukraine, conducted negotiations over the Internet to award several IT procurements to a contractor located in a remote part of the former Soviet Union. This communication resulted in a savings in mail delivery time of at least six weeks.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in working to award a $300 million technical support services contract, engaged industry in one-on-one, closed-door presolicitation conversations. By allowing FAA to communicate in advance whether it would support a particular proposal strategy, this intimate setting helped offerors to save proposal preparation time and money and reduced the number of proposal deficiencies that would normally need to be cleared up through additional discussions.
The more than 60 procurement success stories are posted on GSA's home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov/mkm/epp/ideas/index.htm. They are also linked to the Acquisition Reform Net at http://www.arnet.gov/BestP/AcqBestP.html.