GSA Moves Logistics Front and Center

GSA Moves Logistics Front and Center<@VM>Logworld Roster

By Patience Wait, Staff Writer

The multibillion-dollar federal logistics market is drawing attention from companies large and small, thanks to a new schedule created by the General Services Administration.

The program is called Logworld ? short for Logistics Worldwide ? and is a 10-year, multiple-award schedule intended to qualify vendors to assist federal agencies looking to improve operational efficiencies and minimize costs.

While there is no estimate for the total value of the government logistics market, GSA's research found that the Defense Department alone spent $3 billion in 1998 on logistics services, said Kathy Brinkley, contracting officer with the Federal Supply Service, Management Services Center of GSA.

Systems integrators and companies specializing in logistics expect the Logworld program to become a significant piece of the federal market. The range of services that Logworld encompasses includes everything from supply chain management and acquisition logistics to distribution, transportation and deployment logistics and services. Also included are training services to better equip government employees to handle all facets of logistics.

Fifteen vendors have qualified for the schedule since it began in March. These companies have estimated Logworld's annual value to them from $1.2 million to $59 million.

While the schedule tries to address the broadest possible range of logistics issues, some aspects have generated the most interest, Brinkley said.

"Agencies have expressed the greatest interest in managing warehouse and inventory operations, assessing their distribution networks, managing freight movement and supporting fielded government equipment during the equipment's life cycle," she said.

Among federal agencies, the Defense Department, National Institutes of Health and GSA have been looking into using Logworld, and new tasks are being planned by the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C., and the Air Force at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., Brinkley said.

To cover services of such scope, Logworld has no deadline for application and no limit on the number of vendors who can win a spot on the schedule.

Applicants "are evaluated based on their own merits, technical capability ... and whether their prices are fair and reasonable," Brinkley said. "The prices are very competitive. What will make a difference is when they know what the task is, how long it will take, who they can dedicate to it. Then they can fine-tune the price."

She would not say how many companies beyond the initial 15 have applied and are now being evaluated by GSA, but said the response from contractors is terrific.

Some companies already on the list, such as Anteon Corp. of Fairfax, Va., have qualified for all seven service categories.

"It became important to Anteon to be an awardee on this contract because one of our core businesses is what we call logistics modernization," said Gary Hopkins, vice president of Anteon's logistics modernization division. "It became strategically important."

Included on the list are small companies that specialize in a single aspect of logistics, such as the latest addition, Re-Logistics Inc. of Wayne, Pa., which concentrates on asset use and disposition.

Getting on the Logworld schedule is important for the six-year-old company, said President Matt Gross, because "it will open up doors for us to work with federal users."

There also are nonprofit organizations on the list, either on their own, such as the Logistics Management Institute in McLean, Va., or as subcontractors, such as Atlanta-based Logistics Foundation of America, which is partnered with Anteon.

More companies are applying for the program, including Manugistics Group Inc. of Rockville, Md., a global provider of intelligent supply chain and e-business solutions, which already provides logistics services to federal agencies such as the Naval Transportation Support Center.

Manugistics spokesman Joel Weinshank said the company has long been "a serious player in the government markets" for logistics services, and applying for the Logworld schedule was fundamental to remaining competitive in the federal logistics market.

Although there is overlap between Logworld and other GSA contract vehicles ? including the regular IT schedule, MOBIS (Management, Organizational and Business Improvement Services), Millennia and Millennia Lite ? the GSA thought that the other schedules did not completely satisfy all government logistics needs.

"MOBIS, for instance, was pretty much looking at organizational structure and trying to achieve efficiencies, but it didn't offer the [logistics support]. Logworld will infuse government operations with commercial technology for handling logistics functions," GSA's Brinkley said.

Despite the interest of vendors and agencies alike, and the high dollar expectations for the federal logistics market, Logworld, has not yet generated a lot of business.

Through the end of November, completed orders under the schedule totaled just $120,000, Brinkley said.

Mark Tomassoni, director of business development for Fluor Federal Services of Aliso Viejo, Calif., indicated it will take time for Logworld to develop as a marketplace.

The company was approved as a vendor in September, but has not yet bid on any projects.

"It's inappropriate to think that [making the list] will automatically lead to business," he said. "It's up to each company to go out and aggressively market that vehicle."

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