Reverse auction platform aims to slash costs, up transparency
The General Services Administration has been hosting online auctions for years, but it announced today the launch of a government reverse auction platform. The site, reverseauctions.gsa.gov, will be available through the National Information Technology Commodity Program of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.
This service is expected to produce considerable savings for federal agencies. In the past, GSA’s customers have saved as much as 17 percent through reverse auctions, according to the Tuesday announcement. Agencies can reduce costs on commonly purchased office products, services and equipment, all while making it easier for small businesses to compete for the government’s business.
“Using a government-run reverse auctions tool is a fantastic innovation for GSA’s customers, and we expect that it will drive even more savings and speed into the acquisition process,” Thomas Sharpe, Jr, FAS commissioner, said in a statement. “This approach to government procurement can be used with a good portion of GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules as an efficient and cost-effective process for purchasing commonly used products and simple services.
Unlike a traditional auction, a reverse auction involves businesses bidding for hire by the government by offering the lowest price for a service. Improved competition for small business isn’t the only gain of reverse auctioning by the government; it will also reduce acquisition processing time and costs, improve government transparency, allow for small business set-asides, and save the government money by reducing costs of services and goods.
The Department of the Navy has already worked with GSA to add the Navy’s blanket purchase agreements to the platform, and is the first agency to participate in GSA’s reverse auction platform.
“GSA is doing a lot of exciting and positive things to improve acquisition efficiencies and drive competition, but the new reverse auction platform hits the ball out of the park,” Jamey Halke, strategic program manager at the Department of the Navy, said in a statement.
Agencies will also be able to perform prices paid analysis with line-item data by agency bureau provided by the reverse auction platform. Furthermore, the line-item data will “provide insights into purchasing behavior for strategic sourcing opportunities,” according to GSA.