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Frequently Asked Questions for Microcomputers

Green Procurement

Question: I've been told that I have to buy "green". Does the Microcomputer National Master Standing Offer (NMSO) offer any "green" products?

Answer: The Microcomputer NMSO has included environmental considerations wherever possible:

  • All Desktop and Notebook systems as well as monitors are certified through the Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool (EPEAT Silver level).
  • Desktop systems and monitors are EnergyStar 4.0 certified.
  • Monitors are TCO'03.
  • Desktop systems include high efficiency power supplies (80plus).
  • All manufacturers represented on the NMSO are members in good standing of a recognized entity specifically established to address end-of-life electronics recycling and reuse in Canada.
  • Desktop Category 1.0D and 1.0A Green PCs have reduced materials (with a smaller case and integrated components) and lower power consumption.

Selection of a Supplier

Question: Before placing a Call-up do I have to contact three different vendors to obtain quotes?

Answer: No. The Computer NMSO was established through a competitive procurement process and incorporates an ongoing competitive ranking mechanism. Identified Users placing orders within departments and agencies are free to choose any system, as long as the value of the requirement (with tax) is below the posted Call-up Limitation of the desired system on the Computer Acquisition Guide (CAG) website. Note that posted Call-up Limits applicable to each system are subject to change every two weeks as pricing and products change. Also, vendors are required to sell at their NMSO price. Vendors who attempt to sell at price higher or lower than what is listed on the CAG are violating their agreement with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and should be reported to OCPNordinateur-computerNMSO@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

Question: When placing a Call-up do I have to choose the lowest priced system?

Answer: No. Identified Users are free to choose any system as long as the value of the requirement is below the posted Call-up Limitation of the desired system.

Question: When placing a Call-up do I have to choose the top ranked system?

Answer: No. Identified Users are free to choose any system as long as the value of the requirement is below the posted Call-up Limitation of the desired system.

Question: I need to expand or replace my existing infrastructure, purchased through a series of Call-ups, with additional equipment of the same brand. Is this allowed?

Answer: Call-ups are best suited for requirements below the Call-up Limit that will not require future expansion; and incremental purchases or enhancements to systems that were acquired through a Request for Volume Discount (RVD). The RVD process is appropriate for requirements expected to involve ongoing expansion or purchase of additional quantities of the same manufacture. RVD provide the ability to obtain optional quantities of additional equipment for a specified period, and the process provides a justifiable basis to select a product platform for longer-term requirements. For advice on the best approach for your specific situation, please contact PWGSC.

Question: Where can I find vendor contact information? Once I have selected a system and determined that the requirement falls within the applicable Identified User Call-up limit, who do I issue the Call-up to?

Answer: Vendor contact information can be found on the Microcomputers List of Offerors

Clicking on a vendor's name will bring you to a list of their authorized resellers and service locations. Orders can be placed with any of the authorized resellers.

Not all NMSO Offerors accept Call-ups directly. Click on the Offeror's name at the link above to determine the list of companies authorized to conduct sales of the Offeror's product (which may or may not include the Offeror itself). A Call-up can be issued to any company on the list.

How Call-up Limitations Work

Question: I was looking at the Call-up Limitation section of the CAG and I am confused about the Call-up Limitations and discounts?

Answer: All the systems on the NMSO are given a rank based on a weighted average of their Price, Performance, Hardware Features, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Features, Environmental Features, and Usability. This rank determines each system's Call-up Limitation (with higher scoring systems receiving higher Call-up limits). The CAG site generates these ranks for us automatically and each system's Call-up Limitation is posted on the Pricing and Configuration page.

Question: I am on the Pricing and Configuration page and notice that there are two columns with pricing. What is the difference between Price and Evaluated Price?

Answer: The "Price" column is the actual cost of the base system - this is what you will pay if you don't reconfigure the system. The "Evaluated Price" column is only used for evaluation purposes. It's this score that allows the CAG site to rank the system. All the systems on the NMSO are given a rank based on a weighted average of their Price, Performance, Hardware Features, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Features, Environmental Features, and Usability.

Question: How do I know what my Call-up Limitation is?

Answer: Identified Users' Call-up Limitations are posted on the Pricing and Configuration page in the column marked "Call-up Limitation OGD".

Orders above the Identified User Call-up Limit

Question: If my requirement is above my Call-up Limitation, what are my options?

Answer: If you requirement exceeds the value shown in the "Call-up Limitation OGD" there are two options:

A. If the requirement value is below the value shown in the "Call-up Limitation PWGSC" AND the requirement is for a specific system, the requirement can be processed by PWGSC on your behalf as an Elevated Call-up. PWGSC will apply a pre-established discount to your order. The amount of the discount varies with the value of the requirement and the system rank. Acceptance of Elevated Call-ups is at the supplier's discretion.

B. If the requirement value is above the value shown in the "Call-up Limitation PWGSC" OR the requirement is not necessarily for a specific system, the requirement can be processed by PWGSC on your behalf as a Request for Volume Discount (RVD). Discounts achieved through the RVD process will exceed those of the Elevated Call-ups. RVD Contracts also give you the opportunity to purchase additional quantities at a low price for a set period and quantity.

Both options are initiated by PWGSC receiving a funded requisition (Form 9200). In busy periods (January - March), priority will be given to RVD.

Question: Where do I send my requisition?

Answer: Requisitions must be sent to PWGSC Central Allocations Unit by fax at 819-956-5175. A duplicate copy can be sent to Computer Hardware Division (EJ) at 819-956-1156.

Question: How long does an Elevated Call-up take?

Answer: Elevated Call-ups can take 1 to 2 weeks to process depending on workloads. In busy periods (January - March), priority will be given to RVD over Elevated Call-ups. Further to this, priority for Elevated Call-ups for higher ranked systems will take precedence over lower ranked systems.

Question: How long does a Computer RVD take?

Answer: Since RVD are run off an already competed set of Standing Offers, the response period for Offerors is very short (often no more than 5 days). From the time a funded Requisition form (9200) is allocated to PWGSC it can take as little as 2-3 weeks to award a Contract. The response period and the document preparation times depend on the complexity of the systems being requested. Clients should also factor in time they require to conduct applications testing prior to contract award, and time needed for the supplier to install an image (if required). In view of the large number of requirements from January to March and potential supply chain shortages, clients should submit their requisitions to PWGSC by the end of January, as well as provide advance copies of the requirements to PWGSC for review. Many clients are now submitting their RVD requirements earlier, taking advantage of the six month option period for exercising additional quantities needed later in the year.

For a detailed explanation of the RVD process and estimated timelines, please refer to the RVD Process Doc .

Please note that timelines for Mass Storage RVD are longer, depending on the complexity of the requirement. For further information, please consult the Storage portion of this website

Other Requirements

Question: Where can I find Monitors?

Answer: Monitors, as well as many other components including Hard Drives, Mice, Keyboards, and USB Thumbdrives can be found in the component sections of each system. The easiest method of finding components is to start from the Pricing and System Configuration page. From there, select the "Buy only components" button (red button), choose a vendor and use the drop menu to search for components. From this page, you can also do a quick price comparison between the vendors by inputting quantities and clicking on "Price comparison".

Question: My requirement isn't on the NMSO, what do I do?

Answer: Microcomputer systems are covered by the mandatory policy of standing offer usage. As such, whenever possible, the NMSO must be used. From time to time, a requirement may come up that may not be satisfied by the NMSO systems. To request an exemption from the policy, Identified Users must be certain that their requirement qualifies under one of the allowable exemption reasons listed in the user manual (pages 3-4).

When citing the reason of "justifiable, specific requirements", you must be able justify how the NMSO systems cannot meet operational requirements.

When citing the reason of "lower price", you must demonstrate that the product is equivalent to the NMSO products in all respects - this includes technical specifications, warranty, and certifications.

Exemption requests must be sent to OCPNordinateur-computerNMSO@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca

PWGSC makes every attempt to answer exemption requests in a timely manner. Response turnaround will depend on the quality of information provided and number of requests in process.

What if I have more questions?

Questions can be directed to OCPNordinateur-computerNMSO@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca. This document will be updated periodically to provide answers to common questions.

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