E-COMMERCE COMING TO DOD AND OTHER AGENCIES
Commercial e-commerce is coming soon to your DOD customer, and eventually to all government buyers, thanks to legislation agreed to last week in the Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Authorization bill. The final version of that bill does contain a provision, now Section 846, for the creation and implementation of at least one commercially-based platform through which DOD buyers will be encouraged to make commercial item purchases. The final version, though, differs in many ways from House-passed language formerly known as “Section 801”. The new provision allows GSA to take a deliberative approach to the creation and roll-out of the new platforms. It calls for input from outside experts in e-commerce, will require any final system to operate in a manner consistent with applicable federal procurement rules, and will allow e-commerce companies to only transmit sales and other information to GSA, and not make use of such information themselves. In addition, the new Section 846 mandates that competitive acquisition procedures be used to establish the platforms. GSA will have up to three years to fully implement the program as well. Product companies must pay close attention to the creation of this program. It could have a significant impact on GSA product-based Multiple Award Schedule contracts. Working with GSA and whatever advisory panel they create will be essential to protecting Schedule investments and staying ahead of the curve to make any necessary adjustments to your federal business.