While re-arranging my office space, I came across a book on government supply chain management. In 2004, the Honorable Jacques S. Gansler, former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, and Robert E. Luby Jr., Vice President, Supply Chain Management at IBM published a book titled: Transforming Government Supply Chain Management. In the book, among other things, they document two government eCommerce initiatives; DLA’s Medical eCAT and the DOD EMALL.
They state in the book that the Medical eCAT program, which at that time allowed web-based ordering of 650,000 medical items, “saved the DOD customers over 25 % of the product and handling costs involved in obtaining the items through other means like local purchase.”
In Chapter 15, they document the benefits of the DOD EMALL in the following way.
Assurance of ordering against establish contractual vehicles and compliance with federal regulations
Desktop access to product information and availability
Single point of entry , search and ordering across all electronic sources
Convenient payment mechanisms
Increased buying office productivity
They conclude that web based ordering from commercial distributors using standard eCommerce transactions allows customers to receive products in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost.
Though this book was published some years ago, the benefits and cost savings are still true today. In fact, both of these systems still exist and are saving the government money every day. It just goes to show that there are ways for the government to save money and every little bit helps.