This document was downloaded and archived from on May 21, 2001.

Office of Cancer Communications

Building 31, Room 10A24
Bethesda, MD 20892

National Institutes of Health
May 18, 2000
NCI Press Office
(301) 496-6641
Press Release

The National Institutes of Health Earns the Hammer Award With Innovations in Business-to-Business E-commerce

The National Institutes of Health's IntraMall team was recently awarded Vice President Gore's Hammer Award for its innovative, full-service system that harnesses the power of Internet technology. The IntraMall streamlines Federal procurement while meeting the government's unique documentation requirements and saving costs. This pioneering e-commerce program provides product information, on-line ordering, and sophisticated accounting and budget functions, all customized for the Federal procurement community.

The Hammer Awards are presented to teams of federal employees who develop innovative programs to make government work better and achieve results important to the American public. The recipients are given a $6 hammer, which is symbolic of the $400 hammer that inspired Gore to create this award in 1994. With the IntraMall, the National Institutes (NIH) of Health has been able to satisfy their researchers' equipment and supply needs while saving time and money with every purchase.

"We are delighted that the IntraMall not only has been a success within the NIH, but that it also impresses Vice President Gore as a program worthy of recognition," said Mary Ann Guerra, deputy director for management of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and leader of the project.

The IntraMall was tested in January 1998 at the NCI before it was adopted throughout the NIH in June 1998. Now, all 18 Institutes and six Centers that comprise the NIH have access to this growing e-commerce site. Growth of vendors and available products has also been considerable, with projections of over 1 million products available during the summer of 2000.

The result of this program is the empowerment of the scientific community to exert direct control over purchase of needed supplies and equipment with a substantial decrease in the processing costs for orders. By using the IntraMall system in conjunction with a government credit card, the NIH has decreased its processing cost per order from an average of about $50 per order to $5. Considering the NIH spends more than $1 billion each year for laboratory supplies and equipment, savings on this scale have positive repercussions in shifting more resources toward performing quality research and improving the efficiency of government spending.

The NIH has partnered with to continue expanding the IntraMall program, making it a model for digital end-to-end e-commerce by integrating procurement card-based purchasing and seamless transaction information between buyers and suppliers. Several new features are under development, including a revolutionary automated reconciliation module planned for deployment in June 2000, an expansion of in-context buying with links to specific scientific data content providers, and finally, an interactive bidding/award feature also planned for deployment in 2000.

This incorporation of electronic ordering, payment, and automated record keeping represents a model for business-to-business e-commerce, which streamlines procurement as it provides considerable cost savings for both buyer and suppliers.

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