JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- A test program with the Government Purchase Card Program by the Mission and Installation Contracting Command-Fort Hood is yielding success through cost savings for military customers in a fiscally challenging environment while also identifying efficiencies in the program.Beginning in June 2012, the MICC-Fort Hood, in conjunction with FedBid, entered into a test program with the installation's directorate of public works and their GPC holders. To date, the program has saved the Army more than $83,836.99."The intent of the test was to explore potential cost saving and efficiency for GPC transactions," said Barry Barnett, the director of contracting at Fort Hood. "On average, items purchased have shown a savings of 13.21 percent with an average of 2.2 vendors submitting 4.9 bids."The test was limited to GPC purchases in the $3,000 to $25,000 price range for supplies, equipment and repair parts that were available from local small businesses on existing blanket purchase agreements issued by MICC-Fort Hood. Government Service Agency contracts were also used when the items were not available through a local blanket purchase agreement. The test program did not affect DPW service or construction contracts or contracts issued by MICC-Fort Hood."Based on the initial success, the test program was expanded in October 2012 to include $1,000 to $3,000 dollar GPC purchases," Barnett said. "Business rules have been developed and adjusted based on suggestions from DPW and small businesses who sell these items to DPW."The director said FedBid provides a fully automated reverse auction process for DPW GPC holders to purchase items, eliminating the need for GPC holders to call individual vendors for items. "FedBid's system allows more vendors to be contacted electronically, and thus generates more competition and lower bid prices, which saves the government money," he said."As an added benefit, FedBid's system also provides documentation for the GPC holder's files, which improves the efficiency of the documentation process and annual inspections of those files," said Randy O'Brien, the GPC Program coordinator at MICC-Fort Hood.After the GPC holder enters the supply requirement into FedBid, an email notice is sent to small businesses in the local community who are both registered in FedBid and are on the appropriate blanket purchase agreement for the item being purchased. O'Brien added if the item is not available locally, GSA vendors nationwide can be notified. Vendors can submit bids until the reverse auction is closed, which is normally five business days, but can be quicker for high priority request.Vendors know only if their bid is winning, called lead, or not, called lagging. Barnett believes the FedBid process offers increased security and integrity to the GPC procurement process by not informing vendors of the names of individuals purchasing items, how many vendors are competing or the amount of the lead bid.FedBid has an Army-wide contract managed by Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. It has been in use at MICC-Fort Hood for many years and provides a reverse auction process for purchasing supplies and some services. The online marketplace provides free customer help desk support and assistance.Vendors interested in participating in the FedBid program can register at no cost as a seller at businesses surrounding Fort Hood that are interested in a blanket purchase agreement with MICC-Fort Hood should request additional information by calling the contracting office's GPC Program coordinator at 254-287-5340.Headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the MICC is responsible for providing contracting support for the warfighter throughout Army commands, installations and activities located throughout the continental United States and Puerto Rico. In fiscal 2012, the command executed more than 58,000 contract actions worth more than $6.3 billion across the Army, including more than $2.6 billion to small businesses. The command also managed more than 1.2 million GPC Program transactions valued at an additional $1.3 billion.