Local assemblers are donning the gloves to fight for a place on Queensland's first whole-of-government desktop PCs, notebooks and servers panel. The state's annual spend is expected to reach $70 million.
A spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Public Works said it currently had nine standing offer arrangements, managed by various agencies. The new panel, which covers at least 26 agencies and over 42,000 PCs, notebooks and servers, will run for three years with an optional two-year extension. It covers hardware procurement, installation and decommissioning services.
Potential suppliers can submit any combination of product from the three hardware categories. Along with meeting Australian standards, all must detail whether they comply with international standards including Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS).
While numbers are still being determined, the spokesperson anticipated 3-5 panellists would be chosen. Queensland's decision to create a whole-of-government panel follows similar moves in NSW and Victoria.
The latest iteration of the NSW Government's whole-of-government panel, Contract 2000, is now being finalised. The current arrangement expires on April 30.
The Queensland Department of Public Works spokesperson said the key driver for centralised procurement was to streamline the tendering process, which reduced costs for government and industry. It would also increase purchasing power, introduce standardised components and address environmental issues.
The spokesperson insisted conditions were in place to ensure local manufacturers got a fair go.
"At briefings to the industry and in the offer document, it is clear that the government has an expectation that there will be small to medium enterprise involvement in the final arrangements," he said. "They will have to provide estimations on how much SME involvement is in their offers and the successful offers will have to report regularly on the level of SME involvement in the ongoing arrangement."
The panel is expected to be finalised by early June and start in July. Tender submissions close on April 23. Local assembler, ASI Solutions, is one of several weighing up its options. Communications manager, Craig Quinn, said it had worked with Queensland agencies in the past, but did not currently have a place on any standing panel.
It was considering a standalone bid as well as teaming up with a multinational. "It's early days at the moment, but we are certainly doing our homework and expect to have a good bash at it," he said. "As a local, we still think we have a chance at these bigger projects, it just depends on how many players they put on the panel. With five suppliers, you have a fighting chance, but if it's going to be one or two, it becomes too hard." Quinn applauded the state's decision to be more environmentally aware by introducing mandatory take-back services.
"It's an excellent thing to see - it's a good and responsible thing to do," he said. "It also gives more content on the service providing side, which increases the chances of local players participating with bigger businesses." Optima chairman and managing director, Cornel Ung, said it would also be vying for a place. The local assembler sits on whole-of-government panels in Victoria and NSW, but has not been a major supplier to the public sector in Queensland. It has relationships with some private schools in that state.
"We're not a big player in [Queensland] government, but we will be tendering," he said. "They are asking suppliers to provide other services besides hardware, such as decommissioning.
This is the type of business we are targeting moving forward. We have been providing these services for our NSW Government customers like the RTA [Roads and Traffic Authority] and we are strong in that area. We're confident we can provide good services." Queensland-based assembler and integrator, Coretech, will be partnering with IBM and Lenovo for the contract. CEO, David Wain, said it had virtually abandoned its system building business. The company has been a supplier to Queensland Department of Education and smaller agencies.
"Local system building in the government space is dead and buried," he said. "Coretech and Optima were the last ones in Queensland. I think we're not far from it being that way on a national basis to be honest."