The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has opened its e-Buy online request service to state and local governments. Non-federal agencies now have faster and more direct access to many of the same vendors for products and services that federal agencies use, according to the GSA.

E-Buy is an electronic Request for Quote (RFQ) and Request for Proposal (RFP) system that enables federal buyers to request information, find sources and prepare RFQs/RFPs online for millions of services and products offered through GSA's Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) and GSA Technology Contracts.

Federal buyers use e-Buy to obtain quotes or proposals for services, large quantity purchases, big-ticket items and purchases with complex requirements.

“In this difficult economy, it is critical we help our customers maximize their dollars,” said GSA acting administrator Paul Prouty. “E-Buy leverages Web technology and the federal government’s buying power, ensuring state and local governments get the best value possible.”

State and local customers now can access and request quotations from preapproved vendors that provide disaster recovery, information technology and homeland security products, services and solutions available under GSA’s cooperative purchasing and disaster recovery purchasing programs.

Used in combination with GSA Advantage and e-Library, e-Buy ensures competition, enhances transparency, streamlines procurements, and leverages the capability of acquisition and procurement personnel.
GSA Advantage is a one-stop online resource of approved products and services for thousands of federal employees worldwide. GSA’s eLibrary is an online source that presents the latest contract award information for GSA Schedules, technology contracts and other supply agreements.

“E-Buy improves customer access to vendors and provides peace of mind in knowing that purchases are fully compliant with government acquisition rules and requirements,” said James A. Williams, GSA's Federal Acquisition Service commissioner.

In addition, e-Buy soon will implement systems enhancements to allow users to identify acquisitions funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, making it easier to comply with mandatory reporting requirements.

Non-federal agencies will benefit from GSA’s e-buy arrangement, said Jill Klaskin Press, who is assistant to the director in the Miami-Dade, Fla., Department of Procurement.

“It’ll make it a lot easier for us to access the contracts that are already open, and we hope this GSA program will pave the way to open all GSA contracts to state and local governments in the future,” Klaskin Press told Govpro.com.

She added that opening all GSA contracts to state and local government buyers could dramatically boost GSA’s buying power. “The federal government spends far less than all the state and local government buying offices combined. State and local government purchasing departments spend $3 trillion, and federal agencies spend about $250 billion each year. So we (state and local government purchasers) could help them, too.”

GSA provides a centralized delivery system of products and services to the federal government. The agency manages one-fourth of the government’s total procurement dollars and influences the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 213,000 vehicles.