It is essentially common knowledge at this point that the job market has grown exponentially in the past year. Especially after the beginning of 2017, the pool of contractors has grown into an ocean of competition, opportunity and most importantly…contracting openings. In the vast, varied and constantly changing world of GSA schedules, it is difficult to know where to turn to. More than 7.5 million products and services from more than 4,000 federal agencies, state and local organizations continue to utilize and reduce buying cycles up to at least half of the open market. With such a large amount of choice and options, potential buyers may feel potentially overwhelmed with the amount of choice. Helping minimize the overwhelming amount of choice and increasing the efficiency is where eBuy comes into play.
What is eBuy? eBuy is a component of GSA Advantage, which itself is an online Request for Quotation (or RFQ) tool. eBuy is designed to facilitate the request for submission for a wide range of products and services. Specifically, eBuy greatly maximizes acquisition services including but not limited to GSA Schedules, Technology contracts (including GSA Schedule 70), Government Acquisition Contracts (or GWACs for short) and Network Services and Telecommunications contracts.
eBuy provides an array of benefits concerning state, federal and local agencies that aren’t available from any other provider. For example, Using the eBuy system, government buyers may prepare and post RFQs and RFPs for specific products and services. After its posted, GSA contractors can review the request and post a response, based on the schedule type. Once a potential buyer posts a requested quote, the information is sent electronically to ALL contractors who have that Schedule SIN awarded to them.
If it posts under a schedule and SIN that has not been awarded to your company, then you can’t view the opportunity no matter how hard you try. Additionally, buyers must have uploaded your price list to GSA Advantage prior to being able to access eBuy.
There are numerous options that eBuy gives both buyers and vendors alike huge advantages. eBuy is a program designed to streamline the process of purchasing essential office supplies, furniture, and multiple services that all federal agencies and military branches need to efficiently provide a service to their associates. eBuy simplifies and speeds up the procurement process in a quick and effective manner. eBuy being a digital service, offers even the most remote federal agency or military or military branch access to vendors via the convenience of the internet.
With the advent of online shopping, eBuy allows buyers to shop online which has increased exposure to worldwide suppliers without the inconvenience of travel time. This reduces many man-hours used to locate potential vendors. Additionally, eBuy can also connect purchasing agents with vendors that they weren’t aware existed. This program makes it easy to submit modifications to requests and/or attach necessary documents. This also saves time and travel expenses which makes eBuy a smart choice and a governmental program which is well worth it for GSA Schedule members.
For vendors, eBuy supplies a potential worldwide client base of countless proportions. With the seemingly endless resource that is the internet, eBuy can connect buyers and suppliers that wouldn’t ordinarily be aware of each other. They also allow companies to access to all requests for quotes that have been previously posted. Vendors can submit quotes quickly and efficiently, anywhere in the world, without leaving the comfort of their homes. In addition to that, Ebuy can also notify vendors of posted requests and potential searches and sales.
However, as with most programs, there are clear advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the detriments that would come along with using eBuy. The main point to consider about using eBuy (and in tandem having a GSA schedule) is that eBuy is a contracting module. Despite the existence of a clause in the GSA schedule solicitation that at a minimum the government will agree to purchase $2,500 worth of goods/services throughout the duration of a contract or the government will agree to pay the difference; the fact of the matter is there is no 100% guarantee that the sales will be paid with a GSA schedule. (Honestly, if your primary goal is to receive $2,000 or more from the government I feel you’d be in for a VERY long wait). It is extremely vital that GSA Contractors communicate with federal agencies and publicize their GSA Schedule contracts as important components of their overall solution. For more on small business contracting strategy, take a look at our SB strategy guide.
Another aspect to keep in mind with GSA Schedules (along with eBuy) is that GSA schedules exist as documents that need to be constantly updated as prices change, products are added and removed and addresses change. These types of updates can only be changed by contacting your specific GSA Contracting Officer which takes much longer than one would expect. Additionally, a GSA schedule is basically a contract with the federal government. What that means is that your organization/company needs to have specific processes in place to be sure that they are adhering to all the specific terms and agreements including quality, pricing requirements and delivery times.
Thirdly, one of the biggest disadvantages of a GSA contract is that there is a noticeable waiting time between submitting a GSA schedule proposal and being awarded a contract. The wait time will vary depending on what schedule you may be applying to. I personally would advise doing some extensive research before projecting any GSA schedule sales. You have plenty of options of how utilize the time during the waiting period of waiting to be awarded. Activities such as networking with other potential vendors. However, GSA has been making strides to accelerate IT development and contract access, through programs like “Making it Easier.”
In conclusion, the decision is ultimately up to you the consumer/buyer/vendor whether to utilize eBuy or not. As I specified previously, eBuy like many other programs, has its fair share of pros and cons. eBuy is a wonderful tool if you take the time to understand and utilize its assets. It is complex in its simplicity and can be immaculate when used correctly.
eBuy does not allow market intelligence platforms including EZGovOpps to tap into their data for fear of the tremendous Intel advantages to the subscribers. GSA schedule data and analysis in general is easily analyzed as actionable data within the market intelligence arena. Please inquire with an EZGovOpps sales support team member regarding trial access to EZGovOpps.
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