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Reverse Auctioning

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Just starting to use reverse auctioning. Are there other reverse auctioning sites out there besides FedBid? Anyone have lessons learned? How are folks using it for other than supplies? Thanks for any info.

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Just starting to use reverse auctioning. Are there other reverse auctioning sites out there besides FedBid? Anyone have lessons learned? How are folks using it for other than supplies? Thanks for any info.

This article is old but it might give you a start. http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/Mil...es/27648D~1.pdf

More recently, some folks at the Naval Postgraduate School did a paper you can find at

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=AD...oc=GetTRDoc.pdf

Good luck!

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Rox, if you do a keyword search for "fedbid" on FedBizOpps, you'll see a lot of what agencies are buying through FedBid.com (both products and services) and the terms and conditions they include.

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Thanks to K-Law Atty. Your references are quite through. I appreciate the info.

Thanks also to Vbus. I also had that idea. There over 2,000 hits for FedBid within the last 90 days on FBO.

Is there a sole source issue about using only FedBid? I know we will compete among suppliers once we use the FedBid process, but how do we justify using only FedBid? Are there other reverse auction sites out there? Thanks again.

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Ft. Monmouth used to do some reverse auctioning, but then the Army fell in love with FedBid and I haven't heard much from Monmouth since.

I wish the government had a government-owned/operated reverse auctioning site instead of using FedBid. The surcharge that FedBid charges to the Contractor (who of course passes it on to the Government) raises the costs the taxpayer pays. Now FedBid will argue that the reverse-auctioning process will save more than the surcharge charges, but my experience with reverse-auctioning does not bear that out. In fact, most times Contractors will bid only once (the same amount minus the surcharge that they would have sent in response to a normal RFQ).

To be applicable for services, the services would have to be well defined with no room for negotiation. Reverse-auctioning is only good for a pseudo IFB, because it is based on price only.

There used to be a long discussion thread on FedBid (where FedBid themselves participated in the discussion). I wasn't able to find it however.

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Thanks Desparado and Vbus.

Vbus, I read all the posts in the link you provided. They were written Sept 3-15, 2008. Quite a lot of info there, including "rebuttals" from a FedBid VP. Vern said he was going to address reverse auctioning issues in an article in an upcoming issue of the Nash and Cibinic Report. Did he write that article? If yes, I'll go to my solicitor's office to read it, since we don't subscribe to N&C here in my office.

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My agency uses FEDBID extensively with great results. They estimate an 8 to 10% savings which could be debateable and a 69% small business award rate which is verifiable.

At my agency FEDBID was originally given a $1 contract using 8a procedures because they were a small 8a at the time. I think it was recently recompeted using best value procedures and I don't think any other auction site can beat the FEDBID services. They have personnel in your office to post the requirements for you, they automatically post all orders over $25K on FEDBIZOPPS for you, and they post the award on FEDBIZOPPS for you after you have selected the winner. They hired personnel that knew government contracting to assist them placing the correct clauses on thier acquisitions and FEDBIZopps transfers. They worked very hard to become the "go to" service provider in the Federal Government and that is why so many agencies use them now.

Hard work and dedication to the Federal Government got them to where they are now. And no I don't work for them but they are my kind of company.

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.

The buyers at FedBid will not tell an Agency "No."

They get poorly written SOW's for complex services, and questions submitted through FedBid usually aren't answered.

Not sure what's going on, but that is no way to negotiate a contract for complex services.

eg, Buy # 166870_06 for services to write a PWS for repair of a specific ship, open until 21 October.

The "_06" means that it has been posted 7 times, original + 6 reposts. Just guessing, but I think that means it closed 6 times without one bid even in the ballpark.

On this particular buy, it came up on my settings because of the PSC Code, though out of my area of competency. The first several times it was posted, the PWS didn't even say in general what the contractor was supposed to do. It only indicated that the Navy had an ongoing need for ship repairs. Duh. That is corrected in the latest version ("write a PWS.")

.

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.

The buyers at FedBid will not tell an Agency "No."

They get poorly written SOW's for complex services, and questions submitted through FedBid usually aren't answered.

Not sure what's going on, but that is no way to negotiate a contract for complex services.

eg, Buy # 166870_06 for services to write a PWS for repair of a specific ship, open until 21 October.

The "_06" means that it has been posted 7 times, original + 6 reposts. Just guessing, but I think that means it closed 6 times without one bid even in the ballpark.

On this particular buy, it came up on my settings because of the PSC Code, though out of my area of competency. The first several times it was posted, the PWS didn't even say in general what the contractor was supposed to do. It only indicated that the Navy had an ongoing need for ship repairs. Duh. That is corrected in the latest version ("write a PWS.")

.

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Sorry,

I did my last reply wrong I guess. Anyway, I would just like to say that FEDBID only runs a reverse auction site. They are not "buyers". That would be the contract specialist/officer posting their requirement or giving it to the FEDBID employee to post. I would not recommend it for complicated services without putting out the solicitation and technically selecting the firms that should bid in the reverse auction. FEDBID can arrange a separate auction of just your requirement.

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Sorry,

I did my last reply wrong I guess. Anyway, I would just like to say that FEDBID only runs a reverse auction site. They are not "buyers". That would be the contract specialist/officer posting their requirement or giving it to the FEDBID employee to post. I would not recommend it for complicated services without putting out the solicitation and technically selecting the firms that should bid in the reverse auction. FEDBID can arrange a separate auction of just your requirement.

I concur. Reverse auctions, by their very nature, are not appropriate for complex services in most cases. If you are going to do it, you have to do a two-part procurement, as Boof suggested--qualify your firms first on technical & past performance, and then do the price auction. As a general rule, I would not recommend it for complex services, because it can really limit (if not negate) your ability to do a best-value source selection. If all you want is someone to mow the grass, that might work.

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When the government first started to dabble in reverse actions a dozen years ago, I was excited. The amounts of monetary savings claimed were amazing. But after I saw a few in actual working mode, my enthusiasm went away. That was partially due to the overinflated savings. Reverse auctions usually do result in lower prices but I think one can get the same savings through other techniques including just some plain and simple bargaining.

Second, despite claims that it easily works with a "best-value" tradeoff process source selection, I have yet to see a real life example.

Third, it takes a huge amount of work in advance.

Lastly, it takes a lot of time and commitment by very knowledge people on the government?s side and the reverse auction people can?t help. Brian?s posting about poorly written SOWs, unanswered questions, and no responses highlights this.

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When the government first started to dabble in reverse actions a dozen years ago, I was excited. The amounts of monetary savings claimed were amazing. But after I saw a few in actual working mode, my enthusiasm went away. That was partially due to the overinflated savings. Reverse auctions usually do result in lower prices but I think one can get the same savings through other techniques including just some plain and simple bargaining.

Second, despite claims that it easily works with a "best-value" tradeoff process source selection, I have yet to see a real life example.

Third, it takes a huge amount of work in advance.

Lastly, it takes a lot of time and commitment by very knowledge people on the government?s side and the reverse auction people can?t help. Brian?s posting about poorly written SOWs, unanswered questions, and no responses highlights this.

Thanks for the input from everyone. OMB Memo M-09-025, Improving Government Acquisition, issued July 29, 2009, directs agencies to save more money in contracting. Thought reverse auctioning (RA) might be another tool in the toolbox. RA was mentioned in the OFPP Memo, Enhancing Competition, issued July 18, 2008, but my agency hasn't previously pushed it.

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