In the News Archive
compiled by Summit staff
A Long Term Standing Offer (LTSO) for heavy trucks and service support has just been negotiated with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). It has a few wrinkles that make it a most promising arrangement. The LTSO is a new contracting mechanism that permits bidders to bid in two parts. After a lengthy process - involving even the Canadian International Trade Tribunal - a combination of two suppliers, Sterling and Western Star, were awarded the contracts that have a combined value of $50 million over five years. Though it is anticipated that Department of National Defence (DND) will be the biggest client, all federal buyers can now follow an innovative and effective streamlined standing offer process for equipment - everything from tractor rigs to olive drab all-wheel drive dump trucks, graders, front end loaders, backhoes and forklifts. Vehicles that took a year or more to procure through a Request for Proposal process can now be ordered locally and delivery accomplished in four months.
The heavy trucks and equipment are "made in Canada" at plants in Kelowna, BC and St. Thomas, Ontario. After the LTSO bids were in, Sterling's owner, Freightliner LLC, a DaimlerChrysler company, bought Western Star, bringing even greater ease to product and service bundling. The two companies have established a single point of contact, including a government 1-800 service number and put together an unprecedented dealer support network.
The government also achieved excellent price response for the LTSO. "This is by far the biggest five-year contract we've ever done. We ended up with very competitive prices and the merged dealer network provides effective single source benefits," says Brian French of DND's Directorate of Support Vehicle Program Management (DSVPM). French worked with DND technical and procurement specialists Julian Dunn, Rick Prodaniuk and Lynn Fonger and PWGSC's Kevin Stewart on this award-winning procurement initiative.
Buying vehicles entails a great many variables - everything from operational requirements to size, maintenance to fuel consumption, fleet design to price. Add to that federal government environmental priorities, the 1995 Alternate Fuels Act and the range of alternate transportation fuel vehicles (AFV) and fleet procurement has become one of the more complex buying challenges facing government procurement specialists - that is, until the advent of On-Track! software (Summit, Vol. No.).
A new version, On-Track! Pro, was released at DND in May 2001. On-Track! Pro is a specialized tool designed to help fleet managers make educated decisions when acquiring a new vehicle. Materiel managers identify the class of vehicle, physical location, local conditions and operational requirements. On-Track! then provides information on all Original Equipment Manufacturers vehicles available to help determine the feasibility of using AFVs. It calculates estimated vehicle life-cycle costs based on average annual travel and selects the most cost-effective gasoline or alternate fuel vehicle. It also includes estimates of environmental costs in cents per kilometre and an intuitive "down-sizing" analysis feature. Procurement specialists can decide on the best acquisition that meets environmental priorities and, at the same time, provide a complete detailed audit trail.
The innovative team responsible for On-Track! Pro - Scotty Phillips, a Department of National Defence Alternate Fuels consultant from LOGTECH, Woytek Kujawski of INPOL Consulting and Vernel Stanciulescu of Natural Resources Canada - were recently awarded a Materiel Management Institute Environmental Award.
The Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF) have created the Controlled Goods Access and Transfer (CTAT) Office to ensure Canadian compliance with the provisions of the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Failure to comply with the provisions of Canada's recently passed Bill - S25 could place DND/CF members and civilian contractors in the position of being subject to legal penalties specified in the legislation.
To facilitate the introduction of CTAT, Public Works and Government Services Canada has set up the Controlled Goods Registration Program, which registers contractors who handle controlled goods when doing business with DND. Only registered contractors will be able to bid on future contracts involving controlled goods.
Tax Freedom Day in the US this year was July 6, two days later than in 2000. In Canada, according to the Fraser Institute, it was June 29, five days earlier than last year.
The US General Accounting Office (GAO) recently reported that the benefits hoped to be achieved under the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act, which authorizes procurement officers to use simplified acquisition methods for a test period of five years, have not been demonstrated. The simplified program changes the value for awarding sole-source contracts from $100,000 or less to $5 million or less. The GAO is recommending an extension of the test program and further study.
The US government's online auction site, www.gsaauctions.gov/index.htm , is coming under fire for competing unfairly with the private sector. The government site charged a lower commission on sales than private competitors. As well, some congressmen say the government should have used private sector firms to run the site on the government's behalf.
According to some public and private sector experts the US government acquisition workforce is ill equipped to take advantage of procurement reforms in performing their duties. It appears more training is needed if contracting specialists are being expected to know more about market conditions, industry trends and the technical details of purchased goods, as well as to manage new complex contracting methods like share-in-savings and performance-based contracts.
A GAO panel is being convened on outsourcing government work. Public hearings were scheduled - one last June and two in August - to study the principles and policies that should govern outsourcing decisions, public private competition issues and the Federal Activities Inventory Reform ACT. A report is due to Congress by May 2002.
President Bush, in a recent speech, says he wants the federal government and industry to meet the energy standards of the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program. He is directing federal agencies to purchase appliances that meet those standards, wherever cost effective.
"Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it" is a saying we have all heard. And in the move to online government, it might be something to consider. The US government web portal, www.firstgov.gov , is being deluged with citizen emails requesting information. The amount of email is pushing the Firstgov team to quickly find ways to route the requests to the appropriate agencies. They are considering customer relationship management technology as a possible solution.
Moving westward, BIDS, a New Brunswick based a distributor of electronic tender opportunities since 1976, is now operating in Montreal. BIDS Québec, operated by Terry Meehan, will provide existing subscribers with bidding opportunities in the province of Quebec, especially within the hospital sector. In Atlantic Canada, BIDS distributes about 80 percent of the hospital tenders, is the only company to distribute provincial government tenders for New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and is the prominent bidding service for Atlantic companies in the oil and gas sector.
The Public Procurement Research Group out of the University of Nottingham in the UK offers a wide selection of publications on public procurement globally as well as offering seminars and organizing a conference called Public Procurement: Global Revolution II to be held September 6-7, 2001. Check out the site at www.nottingham.ac.uk/law/pprg .
Queensland Purchasing recently launched an online Procurement Resource Centre in the hope that it will become an international centre of procurement excellence. Information is available in many languages. The site address is www.qgm.qld.gov.au/prc/front.htm . Submissions can be emailed to email@example.com .
Late summer 2001 was set as the time for the draft RFP for travel modernization. The new approach sees the Government of Canada contracting for a comprehensive traveler focused, end-to-end travel service including a government-wide, online booking and expense management service using a web-based application.
The government anticipates having a phased implementation for travel modernization in place for spring 2002. In the meantime contract extensions for the remaining option years will be negotiated with BTI Canada GTS (formerly Rider Travel) and, for the Department of National Defence, American Express Canada. As well, Treasury Board has taken further implementation initiatives. Effective June 1, 2001, federal public servants have been able to join travel industry loyalty programs and use the benefits they earn for their own business or personal use.
In June 2001, Public Works and Government Services announced the list of companies that qualified to provide Government On-Line services under a Supply Arrangement (see article, Inside supply arrangements by Richard Bray in this issue) that comprises four streams. The Request for Supply Arrangement (RFSA) was issued in February 2001 and closed April 2001. The list of companies, refreshed annually, has representation across Canada, but by far the largest representation is from the national capital area. The list can be found at http://www2.cdn-news.com/database/fax/2000/pwgsc27.pdf .
Alternate fuels seem to be gaining ground. The US ethanol-diesel trials showed a major reduction in visible smoke and a significant reduction in green house gas emissions. The ethanol industry could also be a boon to the Canadian agriculture industry. The Saskatchewan government took note and appointed MLA Mark Wartman to coordinate a "Greenprint for Ethanol Production" to be ready late fall. And Ottawa is considering a pilot project that would see some OC Transpo buses using a diesel-ethanol fuel blend to be supplied by MacEwen Petroleum Inc.
Ontario Power Generation and Internorth, a North American Master Builder, are working together on a project partially funded by a grant from the Canadian Building Incentive Program (CBIP) - a federal initiative that encourages energy efficiency in commercial buildings. Internorth uses software to create an energy model of a building that calculates the payback period for any proposed energy saving measure allowing the company to design energy efficient buildings from the outset and meet CBIP funding requirements.
Last May, during the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference in Banff, it was announced that 61 projects were awarded under federal Green Municipal Fund (managed by the FCM). The projects will take place in 48 communities across Canada and will support improving energy efficiency and the environmental performance of municipal operations. Under the GMF there are two funds: The Green Municipal Enabling Fund and the Green Municipal Investment Fund. Information on the funds, the projects awarded and the studies approved can be found at www.fcm.ca .
Your E-Ticket to Green Purchasing 2001, a one-day conference held last May, highlighted public sector greening efforts, particularly in green purchasing. Seminars given by various public sector organizations showcased websites like the Green Procurement Network and Procara, as well as IT tools like the federal Electronic Supply Chain (ESC) initiative, which plans to provide an accurate mechanism to monitor green procurement and standards like the ISO 14000 series. (The GTEC supplement contained in this issue of Summit features the ESC.)
Finance Minister Paul Martin's speech to the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy in late May suggested that "natural capital" - water, air, forests, etc. - data should be included in federal budgets. This would give Canadians a picture of our natural wealth and projections for the future. The roundtable, along with Statistics Canada, has undertaken a project to develop environmental indicators that could be adopted by the federal government.
The Canadian Public Procurement Council's upcoming annual general meeting, Connexions, is set for September 30 to October 3, 2001 in St. John's, Newfoundland. The event focuses on connecting procurement professionals in a more electronic world through three streams: Doing Business, Best Practices and Electronic Commerce. Summit magazine columnist Paul Lalonde along with Industry Canada representatives will be talking about trade agreements and their implications for public-private partnerships.
See IT at the show
GTEC Hot Spots is designed to highlight an exhibit, application or solution of particular relevance to e-government or public sector service delivery. The "hot spot" topics are GIS, Wireless and Mobile Computing Technologies. "Made in Government" solutions features a collection of government departments and agencies demonstrating some of the best practices, developed in-house, that deal with public sector service delivery challenges.
This is the third year that Summit magazine and Canadian Business will co-media sponsor GTEC, the largest IT related show for the public sector procurement community in Canada.
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