6 Things You Didn’t Know About DOD EMALL

DOD EMALL is the one-stop shopping, enterprise-wide eCommerce site for the Department of Defense. The eCommerce site supports over 30 Million SKUs and has 40,000 active users, but that’s just scratching the surface. While DOD EMALL can be used to purchase everything from office supplies to weapon system parts, there are a number of other useful features that you might not be aware of within DOD EMALL.

DOD EMALL supports contracts from all the military services, the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Commissary Agency (DECA), GSA and as well as the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). Any Federal agency with an IDIQ or BPA contract can place it on DOD EMALL. At this time, there is no charge for this service. This is an excellent opportunity for smaller agencies to have their own eCommerce site without the investment.
DOD EMALL makes it easy to support a large group of people with their acquisition needs. If your office has a single purchase cardholder and many personnel with purchasing needs but not purchasing power, DOD EMALL can help you support your staff. Agency personnel can register with DOD EMALL as a Shopper. Shoppers have the ability to complete all their shopping, but not the ability to purchase. Staff members without purchasing power can still build a virtual cart filled with the items that they want, but instead of completing the order, these Shoppers simply send their virtual cart to the office purchase cardholder. The purchase cardholder has the ability to merge multiple shopping carts together to consolidate buys while still retaining the individual details of the orders. This way, when the order comes in, they can easily sort out who ordered what. This is an incredibly convenient way to […]

Government Contracting: Why Size Matters

Think about small businesses in government contracting when you’re looking for support on big projects.

SB2G – Using Simplified Acquisition to Raise Small Business Goals

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 13, lays out a variety of purchasing methods collectively known as simplified acquisition to facilitate Government buyers in acquiring supplies and services.

Simplified Acquisition and the DOD EMALL

With over a thousand vendors and 30+M items, the DOD EMALL provides ample competition and meets each of the FAR simplified acquisition stated goals.

Benefits of Master Data Management

Managing the catalog for an eCommerce site is hard enough, but when you have a database―which receives data from multiple sources—it is easy to have duplicates without even knowing it. This makes things hard to find and is very confusing for customers. The best way to solve this issue is to move to a Master Data Management philosophy. By standardizing the item names and consolidating the item descriptions, you create a catalog that is more understandable and easier to search. Here are some of the benefits of creating a database using Master Data Management.

Reduces errors
Increases reporting accuracy
Improves data usability
Simplifies design by standardizing data validation
Provides trustworthy data
Eliminates data inconsistency and improves accuracy and consistency
Improves data sharing
Enables consistent interactions between systems
Increases the quality and reliability of data
Provides clean data for the system
Establishes an authoritative source of information

The benefits of Master Data Management focus on either improved data quality or improvements in data governance. The major outcome of implementing a Master Data Management system is providing a unified view of all catalog items and streamlining the provision of high quality, consistent, and synchronized data. These good data management practices lead to operational efficiency improvements as well as enhanced search engine performance, reliable reporting, and an overall reduced item count.

The primary benefit of a Master Data Management system is establishing good data management practices, which improve operational efficiency. It is definitely something to think about if you are managing a large database that receives data from multiple sources.

Personal Hygiene and Data Quality

I read a blog post in LinkedIn recently comparing data quality to personal hygiene. The article stated that “If we are ill, then being clean and hygienic will not on its own make us better. We need medicine to do that. But being hygienic to start with may have prevented us from getting ill in the first place. And being hygienic will speed up the recovery process by preventing re-infection. Being hygienic keeps us fit and in tip-top condition.”

I want to take this analogy a step further. The company I work for, Partnet, is an expert in electronic marketplaces. In this environment, data quality is essential. Like personal hygiene, data quality represents your value and integrity as well as your health. It gives your customers a first impression. They make immediate judgments as to whether they want to do business with you based on the way your application and your data looks to them. How many people would go to a job interview with crumpled, stained clothing and disheveled hair. What kind of first impression would that give? Would you expect to get the job? Having poor data quality can give the same bad first impression.

With an eCommerce site, the customer has to have confidence in your ability to keep their financial information safe. Why should a customer trust a marketplace that does not offer accurate product descriptions, properly spelled words and good product images? If you can’t make sure your item descriptions are spelled correctly, why would they think you could keep their credit card information safe.

It is a poor reflection on both the individual vendor and the marketplace. It may cost money to get the haircut before the interview and to have […]

eCommerce Support of Procurement Models

Acuity (Consultants) Ltd Executive Interm Manager and ACUITY Director, Tony Colwell’s Blog post this week titled 5 Models for Procurement Organisation, discusses the differences in the definition between Procurement and Purchasing. It also outlines the different types of procurement models. There are three basic models for procurement, any others being a combination of these three:

Local – All activity, decision making and control is performed locally and is autonomous.

Central – Decision making and procurement activity is centralized. (There may be local activity and controls outside the scope of procurement, for example, calling off supply under a centrally negotiated contract.)

Networked – Activity is co-ordinated across local units. Decision making is not independent but is controlled in some way by a node, or nodes, on the network

Being a great advocate of eCommerce, I was struck by how eCommerce was compatible with each of the models.

In a Centralized system, Company/Agency wide contracts can be offered and easily used by anyone with ordering capability. Rules and workflows can be put in place to facility large buys and prevent rogue purchases. Consolidated purchasing data is collected which can be used for strategic sourcing and other business analysis.
In a Localized system, a centralized eCommerce site can still be used. Rules can be put in place to display local contracts only to local users. These users can receive regional pricing. Each local buying group will have the feel and control of a local system, but the company can still gather the consolidated purchasing data for business analysis.
A Networked system can show both the Centralized and Local contracts and include business rules for specific items.  It could allow unrestricted purchasing for certain dollar thresholds and workflows for higher priced items or items whose […]

Online Shopping: Nine Benefits to the Government Buyer

As is the case with commercial shoppers, government buyers can also benefit in a number of ways from shopping online.

1. Convenience and time saving

From the Contracting Officer’s perspective – writing a general purpose contract one time and letting buyers make purchase orders against that contract saves a lot of time. A number of federal agencies have used this strategy to save both time and contracting dollars.
From the Buyers perspective – A buyer does not have to travel to a store site or adjust his schedule around the store’s hours. No longer does the buyer have to wait on hold for a customer service representative to answer the phone. Without leaving the office, government buyers can access thousands of websites, or their own agency specific website, to research products, and purchase items which have been approved and made available through agency wide contracts.

2. Broader selection – By writing broad based contracts for vendor catalogs, the contracting officer can make more items available to the buyers without knowing the exact requirements. This prevents the contracting officer from having to go back and amend contracts. This policy is especially good for consumable products like office supplies and building supplies where the requirements vary greatly from day to day.

3. Global choice – While the federal government is restricted to multiple procurement regulations, online shopping can make Buy American Act products more easily available overseas. It can also give government personnel access to locally approved vendors worldwide.

4. Better information – Access to a fuller range of information about product availability, descriptions, reviews and pricing.

5. Lower prices – By writing multiple broad based contracts, the government can take advantage of their buying power and negotiate better prices […]

Online Shopping: Eight Benefits for the Consumer

There are a number of arguable benefits to the consumer of online shopping verses traditional brick and mortar stores.

1.  Convenience and time saving – Shopping on the Internet can save time. A consumer does not have to travel to a store or adjust his schedule around the store’s hours. No longer does a consumer have to wait on hold for a customer service representative to answer the phone. Without leaving their home or office, consumers can access thousands of Web sites to become informed about breaking news and events, research products, and purchase everything from groceries to books to insurance policies.

2. Broader selection – The opportunity to find specialty items not readily available in ordinary retail outlets. This is especially true for consumers who live in small towns or rural areas where retail shopping is limited.

3. Global choice – Shopping is no longer limited to the stores within a reasonable driving or walking distance or to the catalogs they receive in the mail. Online, customers can shop at stores in other states or in other countries.

4. Better information – Access to a fuller range of information about product availability, descriptions, reviews and pricing.

5.   Lower prices – Some Internet retailers offer discounts from traditional channels (online booksellers, buying and selling stocks through the Internet). Some Internet retailers are starting to swallow shipping fees to capture customers. Users can access most online news and information free of charge. This element is of greatest power and appeal in influencing the habits of consumers.

6. Rapid response time to needs – eCommerce allows traditional supply chains to be shortened (direct shipping from the manufacturers) or even completely eradicated (digital goods such as software, music, info). This […]

By |November 11th, 2011|General|0 Comments|

The Impact of eCommerce

Over the last 15 years, eCommerce has fundamentally changed the way we buy things. Before the advent of eCommerce,  individuals and businesses looking to purchase items were forced to either shop from store to store, or search through stacks of paper catalogs and then call the merchant to order.

Now you can sit at a computer in the convenience of your home or office and purchase things from all over the world.  They will arrive at you home or office in 2 to 7 business days or overnight for a little extra money. This has been a boom for the both the consumer and the business person, particularly the small business owner. Instead of setting up a brick and mortar storefront, many small businesses start with an online store. They have immediate access to millions of customers who might need their wares. Consumers who live in smaller communities have easy access to goods and services that might not be available locally.

Although online sales have steadily increased since the advent of the internet and are expected to increase into the future, event more sales are influenced by on-line research. The Forrester Research Group did a resesent study of s web-influences sales. While $155 billion worth of consumer goods were bought online in 2009, a far larger portion of offline sales were influenced by online research. Forrester estimates that $917 billion worth of retail sales last year were “Web-influenced.” It also estimates that online and Web-influenced offline sales combined accounted for 42 percent of total retail sales and that percentage will grow to 53 percent by 2014, when the Web will be influencing $1.4 billion worth of in-store sales.

There is a lot of room for improvement in helping […]