Defense Bill Would Create Opportunities for Retailers Selling to the Federal Government
A new piece of legislation working its way through Congress could alter the way commercial companies sell everyday products and services to the U.S. military and federal agencies. The bill, passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year, would allow the Pentagon and other government agencies to buy directly from online marketplaces like Amazon.com, OfficeMax and Home Depot. This bypasses a highly regulated purchasing process managed by the General Services Administration. Currently, agencies buy commercial goods through GSA schedules — essentially pre-negotiated agreements to provide products and services to the government at volume discount pricing.
Total Retail’s Take: Supporters of this new bill see it as a way to reduce bureaucracy and drive down prices for the government. And the primary beneficiaries could be retailers, as they will now be able to sell directly to the over 430 departments, agencies and sub-agencies in the federal government. This will expand retailers' market share and customer base to a once unreachable group of buyers. “We’re trying to help DoD keep up with the changes in business practices with the goal of getting items faster, cheaper and keeping up with the changes in technology,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) told The Washington Post.