After years of study and pilot tests, the federal government is finally ready to make B2B ecommerce and e-procurement a reality.
But first, the General Services Administration has issued a request for proposal to find the commercial B2B ecommerce application and marketplace development to build the procurement. The GSA oversees how federal government agencies procure and manage products and services.
In 2019, the GSA issued its first request for proposals from “e-marketplace portal providers meeting the business-to-business requirements of the proof-of-concept” for its Commercial Platforms program. That program “seeks to modernize how commercial products are bought via the open market by federal agencies through partnerships with commercial ecommerce platform providers, while helping our agency partners gain better visibility and insights into their online spend,” the GSA said.
The request for proposal addressed the “requirement for multiple commercial e-marketplace platforms that can provide business-to-business (B2B) delivery and process orders made by various federal entities via the Government Purchase Card.”
The GSA implemented proof-of-concept in 2020 to “start small” with a subset of participating federal agencies. It wanted to test, refine and ultimately grow the Commercial Platforms program “based on the lessons learned.”
In July 2020, it took an initial step to work with three established ecommerce organizations to test the use of commercial e-marketplaces for annual government procurement of up to $6 billion worth of products ranging from furniture and office products to laboratory supplies. Those three organizations: Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon Business, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. and Overstock.com Inc.
Now, in a new request for proposal issued last week, the GSA seeks an ecommerce platform to build and expand the program.
The proposals, due Jan. 27, had requirements for winning bids. They had “to provide commercial B2B online shopping capabilities for agency government purchase card (GPC) holders for the purchase of routine, commercial items.”
The initial value of the transactions would between $1 billion and $2 billion.
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