WASHINGTON-Beginning next Jan. 1, selling tires to government agencies will become easier. Contracts will be abolished, and agencies and tire makers will deal with each other directly using the federal open market price list, said Kenneth L. Collings Jr., manager of the Federal Tire Program of the General Services Administration. The only requirement is that agencies buy only those tires on the GSA Qualified Products List.
Both the Defense Department (through the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command) and the GSA make contracts with tire makers to procure tires for federal fleets. The GSA, however, finds the contract process unwieldy and plans to do away with it in 1996.
Single award contracts are cumbersome for federal agencies, Mr. Collings said, and tire makers re-fused to go along with multiple award contracts because the government required them to reveal too much about their pricing policies in the contract bids.
``Prices may be a little higher,'' he said, ``but users will have the ability to buy the specific tires they need. Rural agencies will be able to buy tires from the dealer across the street,'' rather than from a distributor 150 miles away.''
The Federal Supply Schedule is no longer mandatory for any agency other than the GSA, which is partly why the agency is getting rid of it, Mr. Collings said.
``In 1987, the government purchased nearly $100 million worth of tires through the Federal Supply Schedule,'' he said. ``We've seen that decline steadily, to $4 million in 1993 and under $1 million last year. But while it's hard to quantify, we know the government isn't buying any fewer tires.
``. . . The main point of our program is quality assurance through the QPL,'' he added.