Original Date: 04/26/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : NASA Acquisition Internet Service
In 1993, a presidential memorandum was issued which required all government agencies to streamline their procurement processes via electronic commerce. Previously, vendors seeking to do business with NASA had to search through the Commerce Business Daily (CBD). Reviewing this publication was a laborious process, and many small businesses had limited access to the CBD. To comply with the memorandum and provide small businesses with greater accessibility, Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed the NASA Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS). This service is an agency-wide, on-line capability that communicates procurement information to industry. Specifically, the NAIS provides real-time synopses of business opportunities, solicitations, and a repository of government acquisition websites to vendors seeking opportunities with NASA.
In 1994, the NAIS began as NASA’s Midrange Pilot Program. The program’s objectives were to establish a new set of tools and processes for streamlining the acquisition process, and to exchange information between NASA and potential offerors via the Internet. The original setup used procurements between $25,000 and $500,000, an 80% representation of NASA’s purchases. Vendors received electronic messages regarding synopsis information, advance procurement notices, contract award notices, solicitations, and amendments. The Midrange Pilot Program was started at MSFC and, once the concept proved successful, was implemented throughout NASA in 1995. Today, the NAIS is mandatory for all competitive acquisitions over $25,000. Procurements of $25,000 or less have the option of using this acquisition service.
A team approach was employed to design the NAIS using representatives from each NASA Center. Team members worked part time on this project in addition to their other duties. The team communicated via weekly teleconferences and monthly video teleconferences, and established an on-line discussion forum, the first of its kind. The NAIS was developed by integrating and standardizing the best ideas from all the NASA Centers’ websites. Since the NAIS was implemented, additional features have been added: Search Capability Allows vendors to search for specific business opportunities.
E-mail Notification Allows vendors to receive instant notification of an opportunity once they complete an on-line registration form detailing procurement interests.
Federal Acquisition Jumpstation Provides vendors with a single source for government acquisitions. First-ever listing of links to other government agency acquisition websites.
Financial and Contractual Status System Provides Internet access to contract summary data. Vendors and congressional staffers can build their own query to obtain information on NASA’s current procurement activities. Query criteria include product/service code, dollar value, contract type, contract number, geographic information, and Standardized Industrial Codes.
Electronic Posting System Allows contract specialists to post synopses and solicitations directly to the NASA website from their desktops, eliminating the need for a webmaster. In addition, an electronic version of the synopsis is generated and sent to the Government Printing Office for inclusion in the CBD. The success of this system has led to an interagency initiative for a pilot program, which will provide vendors with an electronic web source for all government procurement opportunities.
By implementing the NAIS, NASA has made its procurement process more efficient and competitive. This streamlined capability conveys procurement information to vendors on an immediate basis. As a result, procurement leadtime decreased by 40% and increased the average number of offers per solicitation from 6.1 to 7.2. In addition, NASA and industry realize an overall cost savings of approximately $4.5 million.
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