A tender document whose size could give the telephone directory a run for its money is under fire from some Queensland PC suppliers.
The preferred supplier arrangement issued by Queensland's Education Department confronts bidders with 118 pages of forms plus 49 pages of explanatory notes.
It is an example of bureaucracy gone wild, according to Ray Shaw, the managing director of distribution and reseller group Intermedia.
To fill out all the forms would take one person "two weeks of round-the-clock work", Shaw estimated. "I have never seen so much bureaucracy just to appoint suppliers."
The EDPSA-033 preferred supplier arrangement dictates who can sell PCs, servers, modems and printers to Queensland state schools. Besides straightforward questions dealing with hardware and software specifications, bidders are invited to describe how their business helps Queensland's information technology and telecommunications investment philosophy.
Since the government claims to have earmarked about $100 million for education-related IT expenditures over the next few years, few industry players are in a position to ignore the contract.
Nor is everyone critical of its bulk. Corey Tai, managing director of distributor IT'n PC, argued the resources needed to respond to the required level of detailed discriminate in favour of mature organisations who have spent money to develop their infrastructure.
"It discourages the little guys who sell 30 computers a year and won't be around to honour their warranties next year, and that's good for the Queensland industry," Tai saidAn education department official said the page count for EDPSA-033 was deceptive.
"A lot of people might react to its size but they should sit down and look at it. They'll find it takes in Intel, Acorn and Mac machines, network, portable and desktop computers plus inkjet and laser printers and so on," he said.
"It's unlikely anyone would offer all of those. If they only deal with printers, they might have to fill out only 30 or so pages."
The size and scope of the document was dictated by state purchasing policy rather than the education department, he said.
The current tender, which closes March 30, doesn't affect 34 suppliers who won a spot on the list during the first round of bidding six months ago.