[Federal Register: October 31, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 211)]
[Page 65231-65232]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 65231]]


Part III

Department of Defense

General Services Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Federal Acquisition Regulation; Reverse Auctioning; Notice

[[Page 65232]]





Federal Acquisition Regulation; Reverse Auctioning

AGENCIES: Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration 
(GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense 
Acquisition Regulations Council (the Councils) are considering whether 
there is a need at this time for guidance on the use of reverse auction 
techniques and, if so, how it can be most effectively communicated 
(e.g., through the Federal Acquisition Regulation, best practice 
guides, agency instructions, or training). The Councils request that 
interested parties provide comments.

DATES: Interested parties should submit comments to the FAR Secretariat 
at the address shown below on or before January 2, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to: General Services Administration, 
FAR Secretariat (MVR), 1800 F Street, NW., Room 4035, Attn: Ms. Laurie 
Duarte, Washington, DC 20405.
    Submit electronic comments via the Internet to: Auction@gsa.gov.
    Please submit comments only and cite ``reverse auction notice'' in 
all correspondence related to this case.

Building, Washington, DC 20405, (202) 501-4755, for information 
pertaining to status or publication schedules. For clarification of 
content, contact Mr. Ralph DeStefano, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 
501-1758. Please cite ``reverse auction notice''.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  Recently, several agencies have taken 
advantage of technological advances in various commodity procurements 
by conducting pricing competitions on-line where competing vendors 
lowered their prices to obtain the contract. Use of this so-called 
``reverse auction technique'' appears to be gaining interest in certain 
segments of the commercial marketplace. Additional agencies are now 
considering potential applications for this technique. A variety of 
considerations will likely shape these decisions and guidance may be 
    The Councils understand that interested parties have varied 
opinions on the need for guidance on the Government's use of reverse 
auction techniques. The opinions include:
     There is insufficient agency experience upon which to 
develop meaningful guidance at this time.
     Explicit coverage in the FAR is not needed because FAR 
1.102(d) permits any technique that is not expressly prohibited.
     Reverse auction policy should be included in the FAR.
     Other guidance is needed, such as best practices guides, 
agency instructions, or training.
    Therefore, the Councils are seeking input that will help them 
determine the best approach to help inform thinking regarding the use 
of reverse auction techniques.
    1. Need for guidance. The Councils ask that respondents discuss 
whether guidance related to the use of reverse auction techniques is 
needed at this time. Respondents are encouraged to discuss potential 
advantages and disadvantages.
    2. Form of guidance. To the extent guidance is desired, the 
Councils ask respondents to identify the form(s) of guidance that would 
be most beneficial (e.g., a FAR rule, best practice guides, agency 
instructions, training, other).
    3. Topics for coverage. The Councils are interested in hearing 
respondents' ideas regarding topics that should be addressed if 
guidance is developed. Examples of topics might include the following--
     The goal(s) of using an online auction;
     The ``ground rules'' of the auction;
     Factors that must be considered in determining whether a 
requirement is suitable for use of reverse auction techniques;
     Ways to tailor the technique to reflect various 
contracting strategies and source selection approaches (including best 
value cost-technical ``tradeoffs'');
     Strategies for small business participation;
     Handling of preferences;
     Barriers to conducting auctions;
     Expected results from the auction;
     Potential advantages and disadvantages of reverse auction 
techniques for industry participants; and
     Potential advantages and disadvantages of reverse auction 
techniques for Federal agencies.
    4. Content of coverage. Respondents are invited to share their 
ideas regarding possible content on the areas identified above, or 
other areas they have identified in their response to item 3. In doing 
so, respondents are encouraged to provide lessons learned from their 
experiences with online reverse auction techniques.

    Dated: October 26, 2000.
Al Matera,
Acting Director, Federal Acquisition Policy Division.
[FR Doc. 00-27963 Filed 10-30-00; 8:45 am]