The NSW Government's decision to introduce a local desktop PC list for its upcoming PC, portables and server panel has received mixed reviews from manufacturers.
The government held a briefing for potential suppliers bidding for the whole-of-government tender on October 10. It plans to operate two desktop PC lists - one for multinational vendors and another for those producing machines locally. The main panel is restricted to four multinationals, but there is no limit on how many manufacturers are featured in the local list. Vendors cannot appear on both panels. Under the revised arrangement, 80 per cent of desktop PC rollouts will be allotted to the multinationals. The government forecast up to 20 per cent would go to local players.
In addition, a price weighting system will be introduced on locally produced machines to even the playing field. The NSW Government has no plans to issue a separate locals panel for notebooks or servers.
ASI Solutions communications manager, Craig Quinn, backed the introduction of a separate local assembler category, saying it gave homegrown companies the opportunity to win at least some of the business.
"The trend in many recent government panels has been towards the multinationals. These decisions are based heavily on price," he said. "This NSW panel means they are reserving some of the business for local assembly operations. It's a positive move on their part to try and give us a better go, albeit a smaller one."
But Pioneer sales manager, Damon Hardman, criticised the move, saying it limited local supplier input. While not core business, the NSW based assembler currently supplies machines to several government agencies in that state.
"I don't see why they had to ensure we can't tender for 80 per cent of the entire product - that's eight out of 10 machines we can't touch," he said. "It's atrocious."
Hardman said Pioneer would tender for a place on the local desktop PC panel, as well as aggressively push for a notebook spot. Potential suppliers are allowed to bid for one or all three product categories. Quinn would not confirm which desktop PC camp ASI planned to sit in, but admitted 20 per cent of NSW Government's desktop pool was a solid chunk of business. According to the NSW Department of Commerce, Contract 2000 is estimated to be worth $175 million per year. It will run for three years, with two optional one year extensions.
"We're looking at the whole tender at the moment and will make a decision on how we will compete closer to the date," Quinn said. Prospective suppliers have until December 1 to submit responses.