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. Increase Sales Through Base Networking


Increase Sales Through Base Networking

Every military installation in the country is unique in some way, and the BSCs on the base have the challenge of meetings those unique requirements. However, one thing is consistent across every base, and that is the presence of contracts and purchase agreements, that if secured can mean greater sales and thus an increased number of blind work hours.

Obtaining these contracts offers up to challenge, learning about what these contracts are, and learning how to obtain them. A good place to begin is with BPAs (Blanket Purchase Agreement), or the creation of a simplified procedure to make small purchases from a singular source of supply. By establishing a BPA, a department on the base creates a charge account with a supplier for a certain category of goods, such as office supplies. The BPA allows for a bulk purchase at a bulk price that is distributed incrementally when needed. For example, a Sergeant may predict that he uses 100 cases of copy paper each year. He realizes that if he were to purchase them at one time he would save money, yet he does not have the storage space to keep those 100 cases of paper. By establishing a BPA he is able to pay a discounted price, but is only given the amount of paper he can easily store and is able to order more with a phone call or informal memorandum.

The benefit to your store is that you are ensuring this sergeant is purchasing all 100 cases of paper he needs through you.

Example BPA

Purpose of this BPA

  1. Authorize callers to exceed $2,500 limit on GPC to $25,000.
  2. To allow purchase of productions beyond Army BPA.  
  3. Fundamentals needed in BPA
  4. Agreement term & insuring governments gets fair and reasonable pricing.
  5. Description of Agreement.
  6. Extent of Obligation (authorized callers)
  7. Pricing
  8. Individuals Authorized to Purchase Under the BPA
  9. Itemized Invoices
  10. Payment
  11. Distribution/Documentation
  12. Termination of Agreement
  13. Rules of Safety
  14. Environmental and Public Health Compliance
  15. Clauses
  16. Signatures

Potential Uses of BPAs with your BSC

  • Exceed $2,500 GPC limit for some callers.
  • Large scale regular purchase requirements, which are ideal e for most IEE items and many Hazmat items, because prices are already established by the government from GSA & DLA catalogs. The BPA or Contract modification simply places a handling fee on top of those already government established prices.
  • Specialty Supplies: PWS or Automotive
  • Used for building supplies and/or automotive supplies where convenient on-hand stocks are stationed at the base near requirements
  • Means for non GPC (mechanics, HAVC installers, etc) to obtain day to day working supplies without having to be issued a GPC. Also allows for visiting tenant commands who only have one card holder to shop at your BSC.

The challenge now becomes how to obtain BPAs and other contracts; the answer is establishing and utilizing a base communication network. To do this, you must brush up on your networking skills, many of which you have already perfected during your tenure as a store manager: you possess a friendly, welcoming manner; you know how to create small talk; you know the importance of remembering your customers and their individual needs; you are genuinely sincere about providing your customers exactly what they need; and you are extremely detail-oriented.

Recognizing you already possess these skills should give you the confidence to use them not only in your BSC but in other parts of the base. But where do you start? Good contacts to have:

  • Local Contracting Office
  • FedBizOp
  • Contractors
  • Local vendor and trade fairs
  • MIPR Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request
  • Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request
    • Used to support large purchases such as Bill of Materials (BOM)
    • Internal transfer of funds
    • Coordinated between Budget and Contracting
    • Some contractors can participate

Good places to develop these contacts are:

  • Monthly or quarterly supply department meetings
  • Participate in monthly or quarterly credit card training classes
  • Reserve Component Coordinators and Pre Camp Meetings
  • GSA Seminars
  • Vendor Fairs
  • Small business trade fairs
  • Local Chamber of Commerce luncheons sponsored by Base Contracting
  • Advance Technology Council, Federal Business Conference and NCSI Trade Shows

Why is "networking" more important than ever?

  • You become one of the first to identify new opportunities
  • You are able to break down of bureaucratic barriers and get a more favorable opinion from gate keepers and decision makers.
  • "Share of Mind" - need to raise your profile and make connections
  • "Ready Resource" - be the "go to person" in problem solving and resource material
  • In the complex government system, if you are able to make the work world easier for government employees by creating a "safe haven" for your base, your business is likely to increase. If your store is always "in compliance with JWOD", TAA rules, etc. the IG and Contracting officers are more likely to shop your store.
  • Increase your circle of influence, know and understand the needs of your "farm".  Increase your harvest.

Most important part of Networking?

Stay in Touch! It is wonderful to establish a network, but for your store to reap the benefits, you must continue to reach out to your contacts, establishing a continual flow of information so that you do learn about opportunities. Keep in mind each of your contacts has a network of their own, and then may be able to put you in touch with someone in their network to establish a contract, but if you don't keep in touch, you will never know what you're missing!


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