Electronic Bidding With the Federal Government

Jan. 1, 2000
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If you are doing business with the federal government, you are probably aware that Web-based transfer of design documents is already commonplace. The governmentwide Electronic Posting System (www.eps.gov) is a central source of information on federal procurements. The EPS is designed to provide vendors with uniform access to all information regarding active solicitations. The EPS webite optimistically predicts that the old way of doing business, such as the mandatory waiting period for publication of procurement information, will quickly pass as we demonstrate how these tools effectively stretch our reach to the business community. This will reduce procurement lead times. Buyers will reach better-informed sellers more quickly, and both will complete transactions more effectively, driving down the metrics that count: time and cost.

The Department of Defense has been especially active in moving to electronic procurement. The DoD Business Opportunities Web site (www.dodbusopps.com) provides a single search engine to identify DoD solicitations, then directs the user to the appropriate website for detailed information. Construction-related solicitations are often posted to the EPS, where bidders can directly download all solicitation documents, oftener referred to as an Electronic Bid Set, or EBS.

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A recent solicitation for the repair and construction of pavements at a military facility included a full EBS on the EPS website. The documents were posted in a variety of formats, but free readers were available for all formats, and links were posted on the site. The solicitation text was posted in Adobe PDF; when printed, it was identical to an original hard-copy version. The drawings were posted in Bidview format (access the viewer download here), which is similar to the drawing Web format and SourceView format discussed in the main article. The documents could also be downloaded as an entire set in a compressed format.

Even if you aren’t ready to put your own information on the Web, you will certainly fall behind if you aren’t ready to electronically receive your clients’ information.