Gamewell-FCI makes government vendor list

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NORTHFORD, Conn.—Gamewell-FCI by Honeywell is now an approved General Services Administration Schedule vendor. That’s good news for Gamewell’s authorized dealers because they now can provide Gamewell’s fire alarm and mass notification systems to federal agencies and an increasing number of state and local government entities that now are allowed to take advantage of the favorable pricing ensured by the GSA schedule.

“It opens the door to so many opportunities for our participating dealers,” Steve Birdsall, Gamewell’s VP of sales, told Security Systems News. “Before they were not able to participate in projects that were being purchased from the GSA schedule so the number of opportunities they have access to is greatly increased.”

The announcement that Gamewell, part of the Honeywell Life Safety Group, had become a GSA Schedule No. 84 supplier was made Nov. 29. In a statement at that time, Birdsall said: “This could not have come at a better time, considering our challenging economy. Many government facilities are either in need of a new system that’s code-compliant or a required addition such as a mass notification system.”

In a later interview with SSN, Birdsall explained why being on the GSA Schedule is so beneficial. He described it as “a pricing schedule that’s put together for the government by the General Services Administration ... they negotiate the best terms with manufacturers and suppliers so that the government gets the best material prices and labor prices available when they’re looking to fulfill contracts.”

The schedule became available to state and local government agencies with the passage of the Local Preparedness Acquisition Act nearly two years ago.

The act gave state and local governments the option of buying fire alarm systems and security products and services at GSA-approved reduced prices.

The process of getting approved for the schedule is quite lengthy, Birdsall said. “It took us nearly two years to get through the process,” he said. Gamewell had to show it could “provide the best pricing out there but also that we could provide a network of qualified dealers.”

Gamewell has a number of authorized dealers, also known as engineered systems distributors, across the country in every state, said Beth Welch, public relations manager for Honeywell Fire Systems.

Birdsall said prior to making the list, Gamewell distributors could win government contracts, but in limited situations.

“We were able to bid or to provide systems to government agencies that were going out for public bid but if the agency was buying off the GSA Schedule, we were eliminated from that process,” he said.

He said Gamewell and its distributors will work to get the message out to governmental agencies that Gamewell is now on the schedule—and that the agencies can take advantage of the list. He said some go through the standard procurement process of public bids because they’re not familiar with the GSA schedule.

“In a lot of cases, it’s simply a matter of education,” Birdsall said.

Gamewell’s commercial fire alarm and mass notification products offered through the GSA Schedule fit a range of applications, including small to high-rise buildings and large campuses such as military posts, according to the company.

Gamewell products are also good for retrofit installations requiring updated fire alarm capabilities, the company said.

The Department of Defense requires facilities such as military bases to have mass notification systems. Because fire alarm systems are “the backbone” for mass notification systems, Welch said, “that has really opened the door to a lot of work in the military sector for Gamewell.”