eBuy platform turns 20! How it transformed GSA’s online contracting experience
Post filed in: Acquisition
This month, GSA celebrates eBuy’s 20th anniversary. eBuy is the agency’s comprehensive and paperless request-for-quote (RFQ) system. Verified suppliers can easily and efficiently connect and participate in the contracting process for a wide variety of products and services.
“In 2001, this online program revolutionized how government connected buyers and sellers for contracting quotes,” said eBuy’s Senior Program Analyst Rich Carlson. “eBuy streamlined the process, allowing more suppliers, especially small businesses, to participate and connect in ways that they couldn’t before.”
Before eBuy launched, receiving (or releasing) quotes required agencies to go through a long, laborious process that included tracking down information via phone calls and mail. In some cases, fulfilling legal requirements could take agencies months.
eBuy changed all that.
eBuy offered a single, easy-to-use electronic platform with the necessary supporting documentation and approved supplier oversight. It allowed federal clients — as well as state and local governments — to post RFQs, make real-time changes, and more quickly connect buyers with suppliers to obtain the best pricing and value for competitive quotes. And clients could use eBuy 24/7.
Along with ease, eBuy added confidence - clients knew that suppliers met all FAR and other acquisition regulations. Industry partners of all sizes found more opportunities to bid on contracts now that they were on a centralized platform. All of these developments took place online, saving countless amounts of paper and hours of legwork.
Over the years, more types of RFQs, such as blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), set-asides, governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) for complex IT solutions, and other contracts became available in eBuy. In 2020, a complete redesign and technology refresh increased functionality and gave a better overall experience to buyers and sellers.
“Today, eBuy has a more secure, modern, and stylistic site design. We’ve added security improvements such as multi-factor authentication, increased functionality, and attachment size capabilities,” Carlson explained. “Thinking of how innovative it was on Day One and is today... I’m not sure you can overestimate the impact eBuy has had on the contracting community over the past two decades.”
Five RFQ’s were created the day eBuy launched: June 10, 2001. By the end of that month, the total reached 89. Fast forward 20 years and — even with a global pandemic — more than $22 billion in estimated awards was contracted through eBuy in FY 20. For that year alone, GSA estimates government savings of more than $48 million.