HHS is buying smarter

Over the past 18 months, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been developing the Buy Smarter Initiative. The production phase has ended, and with it a new name: “Reimagined Buy Smarter.” Reimagined Buy Smarter uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze vast amounts of data, comparing prices along with other money saving plans. (Federal News Network, May 17, 2019)

Last year, 97,000 contracts were fed into an AI solution. Algorithms and a proof of concept of 10 product categories demonstrated significant price differentials on the same items. For instance, the same case of copy paper was $27 a case in one instance and $59 in another. (ibid)

DHHS wants requirements operating across all divisions in order to use of economies of scale. Through the development process, they have found that many departments order the same items, but from different contracts at pricing all over the map and duplication of efforts. With Reimagined Buy Smarter, DHHS  departments can consolidate requirements, utilize economies of scale, and eliminate unnecessary contracts. (ibid)

They plan to introduce 18 steps of technology for buyers.  The program has a $49 million multi-award Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for a catalog of new and emerging technologies. DHHS hopes “to get a very large number of vendors who can provide services that can be shared/scaled across HHS and ultimately the entire government.” (ibid)

DHHS created the new contract due to older contracts being so outdated. The Program Support Center for DHHS receives many requests for new technologies, but by the time the contracts are awarded, they are already obsolete. Additionally, contracting officers have spent a lot of time cutting and pasting from a “paper” system, which will be answered by a pre-populating process automation. (ibid)

Findings suggest the following categories of spending:

  • Medical and lab supplies
  • Software licenses
  • Professional services (ibid)

Workgroups are forming to address consolidating contracts for shared opportunities, eliminating overlapping or unnecessary contracts, and taking advantage of economies of scale. (ibid)

Interested in discussing Reimagined Buy Smarter? Give us a call at (301) 913-5000.

Matchmaking Money

The Department of Defense (DoD) is concerned that Chinese firms investing money into U.S. tech companies could provide the Chinese with a military advantage. A new effort to counter this effect, called the Trusted Capital Marketplace, is launching in upcoming weeks. At least 50, generally small, innovative tech companies without the sophistication to obtain capital seem to  fall under this umbrella. The Trusted Capital Marketplace will match these companies with capital investors, circumventing the “red tape” they’d normally go through to obtain the much-needed capital. (Government Executive, May 2019)

Over the next month, investment goals will be developed and put in place. The current plan is to set up a website infrastructure where providers of trusted capital can aggregate with those businesses looking for capital. (ibid)

Back in October of 2018, the Pentagon said they would invest in domestic manufacturing in an effort to keep the U.S. from relying too heavily on Chinese and other foreign made parts for American weapons. The next month,  Commerce officials released a list of “specific emerging technologies that are essential to the national security of the United States,” with the desire to keep these technologies based and “backed” by U.S. companies. The infrastructure should be in place by the end of June for these companies to receive the capital they need to work with DoD.

Questions about the Trusted Capital Marketplace and how your firm can obtain much-needed capital? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.