Transparency Hopes Soar with eBuy Open GSA First Pilot Launch
On October 17th, 2018, the General Services Administration (GSA) launched a groundbreaking pilot program centered on eBuy, an electronic Request for Quote (RFQ) system. Although GSA’s approach is multi-faceted, the eBuy Open GSA First Pilot program was created with two primary goals in mind: further increasing transparency and cultivating new & growing competition within the GSA acquisition vehicle programs. The pilot program is currently set to run for one year; at which time GSA hopes to finally determine if vendors who do not hold a GSA contract will be more apt to pursue one (on either a prime or subcontracting level) if eBuy awards are posted publically. However, as indicated on GSA’s eBuy Open – GSA First Pilot website, GSA also wants to ensure that the projected accomplishments do not cause great negative effects on critical performance metrics. More specifically, as GSA’s Q&A’s explains, “When contracting officers use eBuy to request quotes, on average they receive more quotes than if they used a different approach. When increasing transparency, GSA must consider the effects of increased transparency upon eBuy usage.” GSA projects that they will make a final determination on whether or not to open eBuy to the public by the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2020.
The Test Group
In order to test their hypothesis, GSA will include both a test & control group in their analysis. Contracting Officers from the GSA Office of Internal Acquisition and FAS Region 7 Southwest Supply and Acquisition Center were chosen for the test group after analyses showed that these offices were significant users of eBuy. As noted on GSA Interact, “The Test Group will upload the award notice for public viewing of each individual eBuy award, including a copy of the RFQ, on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website. The opportunities can be found by entering the keyword “eBuyPilot” in the search box.” In order to monitor progress and collect pertinent information regarding the effects on daily operations, surveys will be dispersed to the pilot participants, awarded vendors, and industry. However, orders on Schedule 48 – Transportation, Delivery and Relocation Solutions, Schedule 51 V – The Hardware Superstore, and Schedule 75 – The Office Products/Supplies and Services and New Products/Technology are excluded from the pilot.
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