From SEWP to Nuts

(alaurent@govexec.com)

If you're looking for a Web site that's mmm, mmm good at what it does, check out the SEWP BOWL, home of NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement (SEWP) contracts (sewp.nasa.gov).

SEWP I and II are contracts for NASA, other federal agencies and federal contractors to make streamlined purchases of computer equipment designed to create open systems environments using high-performance UNIX and Windows NT hardware and software.

"It's SEWP and it's hot," the Web sites say. That's no lie. SEWP I has generated $210 million in non-NASA business in the last four years. SEWP II is just getting started, but has $1.5 billion set aside for non-NASA buyers in the next four years.

Click into the site and you're greeted by icons of soup bowls brimming with tiny simmering ducks. The ducky theme was generated in jest when a contract team member suggested the SEWP group could be "getting into duck soup" by bringing so much change into the procurement world.

Orders under the SEWP contracts are processed at the Business Operations and Workstation Laboratory at Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Md. (Hence the "BOWL" part of the "SEWP BOWL" acronym.) There, buyers can test out equipment offered under the contract at an equipment laboratory. A lab blueprint on the Web site lets users make reservations to test products or click on various vendor locations to see pictures and specifications of their wares.

The site is overflowing with features, allowing users do product searches and check the status of their orders online. It even provides sample letters and flow charts for ordering.

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