Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Recommended Posts

The 2018 NDAA contains an interesting provision being dubbed "The Amazon Amendment", which is described in Section 801  as  "....a program to procure commercial products through online marketplaces for purposes of expediting procurement and ensuring reasonable pricing of commercial products." (http://thecgp.org/images/Section-801-2018-NDAA.pdf)

Key Provisions:

  • "...is used widely in the private sector, including in business-to-business e-commerce..."
  • "...enables offers from multiple suppliers on the same or similar products..."
  • "...a procurement of a product made through an online marketplace under the program...is deemed to satisfy requirements for full and open competition...[and] to be an award of a prime contract for purposes of the goals established under section 15(g) of the Small Business Act.."
  • "....shall be made under the standard terms and conditions of the marketplace relating to purchasing on the marketplace..."
  • "...the award of a contract to an online marketplace provider ... may be made without the use of full and open competition."
  • "...the Comptroller General of the United States  shall submit... a report on small business participation..."

It seems obvious that Section 801 is implicitly referring to familiar online retailers such as Amazon, but it also seems companies like Grainger might also be included in the potential stable of eCommerce providers.  It's notable that they have acknowledged the potential effect on small business and are creating a reporting requirement to capture that.  

Is this innovation, or predation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Contractors in the construction business don’t generally pay Grainger catalog “list” prices, in my experience.  The government shouldn’t either.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the Federal Government the best on line market place is FEDBID.com (recently bought by Compuserve).  You post commerical products and can have multiple bids in hours.  If you provide several days, the bidders  make multiple bids lowering the price even more.  FEDBID has ensured they comply with all Federal regulations and will even post the requirments over $25K to FEDBIZOPPs automatically for you.  We have used them for well over 10 years and there is nothing easier or better. Without thier services we would have to increase our staff substantially.  We do not pay them a fee, they get that from the awarded vendors.  Our analysis is that the heavy competition lowers the price more than thier fee (1 to 3%) increases it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well dang it I thought this new provision provided an opportunity with regard to this discussion (referenced below)  and then I read closely and lo and behold not yet!   Why?   Well to my amazement  the provision has added a new definition to commercial item acquisition that  appears to have left Kickstarter by the wayside.   And really "Commercial Product" now means a COTS item that is not a service?  Too bad Kickstarter not yet and come on bill writers try using familiar and already defined words and quit inventing new ones!   

 

COMMERCIAL PRODUCT.The term ‘‘com-

8 mercial product’’ means a commercially available off-

9 the-shelf item, as defined in section 104 of title 41,

10 United States Code, except the term does not in-

11 clude services.

12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/9/2017 at 6:36 PM, Boof said:

For the Federal Government the best on line market place is FEDBID.com (recently bought by Compuserve).  You post commerical products and can have multiple bids in hours.  If you provide several days, the bidders  make multiple bids lowering the price even more.  FEDBID has ensured they comply with all Federal regulations and will even post the requirments over $25K to FEDBIZOPPs automatically for you.  We have used them for well over 10 years and there is nothing easier or better. Without thier services we would have to increase our staff substantially.  We do not pay them a fee, they get that from the awarded vendors.  Our analysis is that the heavy competition lowers the price more than thier fee (1 to 3%) increases it. 

I personally am not a fan of FEDBID.  They charge the contractor their 3% fee, who of course will pass those costs on to the Government so to say that we don't pay a fee is not quite correct, in my opinion.  For items on GSA Schedules, I would recommend using their free online RFQ system. The fee that GSA charges the contractors (0.75%) is much less than FEDBID.  Otherwise, you can achieve the same results yourself and save the 3%. 

Also, if you'd like a good read you should check out the following OIG link: https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-13-03065-304.pdf    The only thing missing from this being a decent made-for-tv movie is a murder.  Otherwise, it has everything else.  A greedy contractor, corrupt government and even a sex scandal.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Articles on the issue have referred to it as Sec. 801 because that is where it was in the version of the bill the House originally passed.  However the final bill that passed Congress and was signed by the President moved it to Sec. 846 and changed the title slightly to "procurement through commercial e-commerce portals".  It uses the term "portals" instead of "marketplaces."  The original bill required DoD to use it.  The final version states that agencies "may" use it.  Also, some of the criteria listed in the original post that were in the original bill are not actually present in the final law.  I even saw an article published yesterday on another site that referred to Sec. 801.   Implementation and reporting phases and requirements were added, etc.  I haven't read the full versions of each to see what all the differences are or how meaningful they are, but I would not rely on articles that refer to it as Sec. 801 as the information it is based on may not be what is in the law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/5/2018 at 7:30 AM, Desparado said:

I personally am not a fan of FEDBID.  They charge the contractor their 3% fee, who of course will pass those costs on to the Government so to say that we don't pay a fee is not quite correct, in my opinion.  For items on GSA Schedules, I would recommend using their free online RFQ system. The fee that GSA charges the contractors (0.75%) is much less than FEDBID.  Otherwise, you can achieve the same results yourself and save the 3%. 

Also, if you'd like a good read you should check out the following OIG link: https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-13-03065-304.pdf    The only thing missing from this being a decent made-for-tv movie is a murder.  Otherwise, it has everything else.  A greedy contractor, corrupt government and even a sex scandal.  

Everyone should read that  VA-OIG report!  I’m curious as to what, if any, administrative actions were taken concerning the three individuals that the OIG identified in its recommendations.

I can understand why the US attorney wouldn’t touch that case with a 10 foot pole. Too much politics and too many cronies involved.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have discussed FEDBID at length on WIFCON.  I am sure that our opinions, doubts, concerns, etc., are in the archives.

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, leo1102 said:

We have discussed FEDBID at length on WIFCON.  I am sure that our opinions, doubts, concerns, etc., are in the archives.

   

Leo,  I am not sure if you’re post was referring to mine or Desparato’s or not.  However, the type of activities and alleged misconduct, such as misrepresentation, collusion, lying, coverups, favoritism, using official position for personal gain,  etc., etc. by government and contractor employees covered in the VA’s OIG report have likely not been discussed in the Forum.  At least I don’t remember reading about such alleged conduct or that OIG report. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Joel - You are correct in what you say.  I meant that some of us had a very lively discussion about FEDBID several years ago.  We did not discuss the OIG report back then because it did not exist.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm confused. What does FEDBID have to do with Sec 846? I thought it's about using sites like Amazon and Walmart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, joel hoffman said:

 However, the type of activities and alleged misconduct, such as misrepresentation, collusion, lying, coverups, favoritism, using official position for personal gain,  etc., etc. by government and contractor employees covered in the VA’s OIG report have likely not been discussed in the Forum.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

I'm confused. What does FEDBID have to do with Sec 846? I thought it's about using sites like Amazon and Walmart.

Vern,

I brought them up as my favorite "marketplace".  They are our reverse auction provider but they also consider themselves a "Marketplace" with thousands of vendors registered to make quick bids.  Others apparently do not like FEDBID. 

The VA issue was a mess with internal in fighting at VA that had nothing to do with FEDBID services.  Their CEO at the time got drawn into the mess and it appeared he was using undue influence with the contracting office director which he might have been.  VA couldn't get GSA to debar them so they got the Air Force to do it.  The suspension was quickly resolved and the debarment lifted.  FEDBID hired Joe Jordan from OFPP  to keep the house clean in the future. 

I hate when everyone takes shots at FEDBID.  I see them as the one thing that actually works well and saves us both man hours and funds.  In addition the small business percentage is usually around 90% or higher. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Don Mansfield said:

 

Thanks for the reminder, Don.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I brought them up as my favorite "marketplace".  They are our reverse auction provider but they also consider themselves a "Marketplace" with thousands of vendors registered to make quick bids. 

In other words, there is no connection between FEDBID and Sec. 846. Am I missing something? I thought, and hope, that the idea behind 846 is to get rid of bidding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Boof - Just as you "hate it" when people "take shots" at FedBid, I equally dislike it when people promote it as a good way to do Government procurement.  To each his own...

I feel that contracting out contracting is a dangerous thing, and my experience with FedBid years ago was extremely negative.  As an example, there is a FAR requirement to post acquisitions between the $15k and $25k in a "public place".  I asked the FedBid rep about that since they only post to FBO if over $25k (which is the reg) but at that time did not post acquisitions between 15k and 25k in a public place.  The rep just stammered and said they'd look into it.  I don't know if that has been resolved but it was just one example of how they don't know how to do government contracting.  Generally their employees did not go through the same acquisition training that 1102s go through and so leaving acquisition to them is a dangerous proposition, in my humble opinion.  I respect your right to disagree, but my personal feeling is that FedBid and commercial companies like them are very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vern brings up an interesting point.  Would FedBid or companies like them truly be considered a "marketplace"? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/10/2018 at 9:48 AM, Desparado said:

I don't know if that has been resolved but it was just one example of how they don't know how to do government contracting.

We had an instance where a FedBid rep changed a solicitation at the behest of someone other than the person who posted the solicitation.   Crazy.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×