The General Services Administration is exploring how it can add more transparency to the procurement process, particularly with its $35 billion schedules program.
Since its inception, GSA’s schedules program has been hidden behind a wall where only vendors with a contract could see the solicitations and awards. The lack of transparency about what happens on those “members-only” contracts has frustrated good government groups, the media and vendors who aren’t on the contracts, but may want to join.
So GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, who was confirmed by the Senate about two months ago, has made transparency one of her four goals and is seeking not just an agency solution to this challenge, but one that would work governmentwide. Reference Article
he Federal Supply Schedules — the government’s large catalog of contracts that generates tens of billions of dollars worth of federal purchases — appears likely to see major revisions in the months ahead.
A growing number of agencies no longer believe prices under the General Services Administration schedules program are "fair and reasonable."
Along with the Defense Department, NASA quietly issued a memo in March that requires its contracting officers to do additional research to ensure GSA schedule prices are the best value for the government. Industry sources say other agency memos could follow from the likes of the departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Energy.
You may have heard that the path to government contracting riches is paved with a General Services Administration (GSA) multiple-award schedule (MAS) contract, also known as a Federal Supply Schedule contract.
GSA Schedules are long-term government-wide contracts that establish set prices and terms for supplies and services. Because ordering from these established contracts saves government agencies administrative time and money, preference is often given to vendors on a GSA Schedule.
If you are debating on whether or not your company should invest the time and resources in having your company included on a GSA Schedule, consider the following Pros and Cons:
• A less selective competitive pool (as you will only be bidding against other companies that are already on the GSA Schedule)
• Access to Request for Proposals and Request for Quotations that are not normally published on FedBizOpps.gov
• Know who exactly who your competition is
• An excellent marketing tool for your company—Government Agencies like it that your company has already been pre-vetted by the GSA Schedule selection process!
• Inclusion into the schedule could be a time and resource consuming process
• The requirements for a GSA Schedule contract award are stringent: you need to demonstrate a history of financial stability, a strong past performance experience, and the capability to meet the service/product requirements
• The GSA requires prospective vendors to: possess up to date CCR and ORCA records, as well as complete a Readiness Assessment, a Pathway to Success certification, and comply with wage determination labor standards… what does all of this mean?
GovPartners has a 100% success rate in obtaining GSA Schedule contract awards for eligible companies. We make the process as easy as possible for our clients, providing all of the necessary services for our clients, from the cradle to the grave. This includes things such as submitting our client’s Open Ratings Reports in the beginning to negotiating acceptable discount terms with the GSA prior to a contract award.
To find out more about our GSA Schedule submission services, click here.
The General Services Administration (GSA) said on Thursday, 10 August, that federal travelers can save up to 73 percent off commercial airfare under its City Pairs program beginning Oct. 1, Federal Times reported.
GSA released a list of routes online offered by the program but declined requests for more details on how the program will be changed from current offerings. GSA anticipates the government will save roughly $6 billion annually in reduced airfares through the program.
SA released a list of routes online offered by the program but declined repeated requests for more details on how the program will be changed from current offerings.
GSA anticipates the government will save roughly $6 billion annually in reduced airfares through the program.
One change for fiscal 2013 is the addition of a 48-hour auto-cancellation clause, according to GSA. Airlines will have authority to cancel reservations that have not been paid for 48 hours before the flight departure time. Reservations made less than 48 hours before departure may require immediate payments.
Currently, federal employees can reserve a seat on a City Pairs flight without paying for it. But airlines lose money on empty seats if the employee doesn’t cancel the reservation, airline and travel officials said.
The 48-hour cancellation clause falls short of mitigating the risk that airlines assume in participating in City Pairs, said Jeffrey Haag, government relations manager for Southwest and AirTran airlines. “But it certainly is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Eleven airlines are participating in the City Pairs program in 2013, compared with 13 this year. AirTran Airways is now part of Southwest Airlines, and Mesa Airlines is not participating in the 2013 program. Reference Article.
“Our GSA Schedule Award will enable GovPartners to offer complete acquisition and program management solutions to the government market worldwide,” stated Cynthia Karnik, President. Our convenient location in the Washington, DC metro area has enabled us to indirectly provide government support services as a subcontractor and service provider for over three (3) years, and with our recently awarded GSA Schedule; we look forward to working directly with numerous government agencies and their customers.”
A new federal acquisition rule is seeking to ensure enough competition for purchases made through General Services Administration schedules.
GSA schedules are long-term programs meant to make the buying process easier on federal agencies by pre-negotiating prices and other terms. Multiple companies can hold a spot on a schedule, but they must compete for individual orders, meaning they have to win twice to see actual work.
Earlier this month, the government issued a rule that ensures that all companies on a given schedule — schedules are sorted by type of purchase — are notified of each opportunity worth between $3,000 and $150,000. Opportunities worth more than $150,000 are already governed by traditional procurement regulations.
These contractors must be given the opportunity to to make an offer and have it considered by the contracting officer. Read Full Article.
The Small Business Administration's recent increase in size limits for small business opens the door to more firms but has evoked mixed reviews from lawmakers and small business organizations, reports Govexec.com.
The National Federation of Independent Business said in a statement that it is not clear why the definition was changed and National Small Business Association spokeswoman Molly Brogan told Govexec that she is concerned "with it lumping together businesses that have different interests and concerns."
But Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), co-author of the Small Business Protection Act with Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), wants the government not to worry about redefining small business but instead add "complementary incentives for advanced [and] growing small businesses."
The new size increase is scheduled to take effect on March 12. Reference Article
FAIRFAX, Va., Sep 28, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The American Council for Technology (ACT) - Industry Advisory Council (IAC) and the U.S. General Services Administration today announced that they will jointly host Acquisition Excellence 2012 to provide a collaborative forum to discuss and develop actionable ideas on federal information technology acquisition, policy, and program management issues in these challenging budget times. The collaborative forum will expand and refocus the goals of the Interagency Resources Management Conference, commonly known as IRMCO, and will maintain a two-to-one government to industry ratio. More than 500 government and industry executives are expected to attend the forum on March 29, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C.
"GSA is committed to a collaborative process where government and industry work to improve the government's acquisition and use of IT," said Kathleen Turco, GSA's associate administrator for Governmentwide Policy and Acquisition Excellence 2012 government chair. "GSA selected ACT-IAC, a non-profit educational organization, as our partner for the spring conference based on their proven public-private partnership outreach with the federal IT community. ACT-IAC will be key to helping us transform this event to provide an open and collaborative environment to continue our role in assisting agencies meet IT and acquisition management challenges." Read Full Article
Last year, the federal government spent more than $40 billion through the GSA Schedules program. This year it may well spend even more. A GSA Schedule contract is, quite simply, the easiest point-of-entry into government contracting – the most effective way to get your products or services in front of the world's largest buyer of products and services.
A GSA Schedules contract gives you access to more than 260 federal, state and local government buyers who have an easier time buying from you than they do your competition.
If you know that, you've already applied, or you're planning to.
After all, it seems hard to fail once you have that contract in hand. Yet a remarkable number of companies do just that.
That's not just a one-time missed opportunity. It can mean the end of future opportunities as well. The GSA requires schedule-holders to do at least $25,000 worth of business through their contract in the first two years they hold it, and another $25,000 every year thereafter. Fall short of that number, and they may terminate your contract. Full article.
Let’s make this clear: The price reduction clause is forever.
The General Services Administration couldn't endure giving up the clause that goes hand-in-hand with its Multiple Award Schedules contracts.
Officials say the clause guarantees that companies don’t overcharge the government. It's intended to ensure that the government gets a price as good as, if not better than, a company’s commercial clients for what’s being sold on the schedules. If a company lowers a price for a client, it has to give the government that price or better. Otherwise, it faces the consequences.
The clause causes headaches for companies and customers, yet officials cannot part with it.
“Because the pricing clause is a mechanism GSA uses to ensure the government is getting at least as good a price as a contractor’s private-sector clients, it is not feasible to change the collection process,” GSA officials wrote in their new report on reviewing the agency’s regulations.
The White House-ordered review of regulations had officials from all agencies hunting for ways to revoke some of their rules, which continue to pile up higher and higher on companies each year. Read full article.
Don't miss this powerful one day conference featuring procurement and marketing workshops, an opportunity for you to meet and network with GSA program managers, building managers, leasing specialists, senior procurement associates, as well as small business advocates from DOD and other Federal agencies. Attendees will also be exposed to prime contractors seeking to partner with experienced small businesses to help meet and exceed their company's Subcontracting Plan goals.
October 6, 2011
Registration opens at 8:00 a.m.
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Don't miss the afternoon Prime Introduction and Networking Session!
Access to Success will close out the day by giving small businesses the chance to hear directly from large prime companies looking for small business subcontractors. These large businesses currently have contracts for major projects with the GSA and other Federal agencies. Prime representatives will introduce their firms in the open forum before they break out into individual meeting rooms. Learn about subcontracting opportunities and their vetting process for selecting small business subcontractors. The Prime participants will include: Clark Construction, Verizon, Level 3, General Dynamics and more. Plan to stay all day; great things don't just happen before lunch! Learn more.
THE Business-to-Government Event of the year, "GSA Opening Doors 2010", will be held in Los Angeles, California on August 9th through August 11th 2010.
The sixth annual conference will connect small businesses in all categories with multiple agencies at all levels of government for big opportunities in a recovering economy.
Through networking and buyer/seller matchmaking, workshops and exhibits, engaged participants will make lasting connections leading to more business and stronger partnerships in the pursuit of the billions of dollars of government contracts awarded.
For more information, click here: http://www.gsaopeningdoors.com/default.shtm
Last year, the GSA Centralized Household Goods Traffic Management Program (CHAMP) created a committee consisting of Federal agencies to conduct an annual review of the GSA01 Domestic Tariff and the International provisions of the Household Goods Tender of Service (HTOS). The purpose of this review
is to identify any domestic and/or international provisions that may need modification and/or clarification.
The next committee meeting will take place the first week of May, 2010. At this time, GSA CHAMP is requesting comments from both Federal agencies and household good transportation service providers in regards to any Tariff and/or HTOS provisions that may need clarification or updating. When commenting, please provide a detailed description as to the issue and please include the proper tariff item or HTOS reference number.
Please sumbit your comments to Brian Kellhofer at email@example.com no later than April 23, 2010. Comments will be reconciled and a response will be provided prior to the release of the 2010-2011 Household Goods Request for Offers, scheduled for release the latter part of August, 2010.
Joanne Woytek, the head of the NASA Scientific and Engineering Workstation Products governmentwide acquisition contract, wrote on my Facebook wall – wow, what a way to communicate this message! -- that an official from the General Services Administration (not Administrator Martha Johnson) plans to meet next week with Dan Gordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, to request that Gordon deauthorize the governmentwide Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners contract run by the National Institutes of Health.
Woytek believes that if CIOSP is put out of business, GSA’s next step will be to put SEWP out of business as well.
I am a big fan of GSA and its own governmentwide vehicles, including the schedules, but I strongly believe GSA’s effort to put competing governmentwide contracts out of business is seriously mistaken.
The basic reason is simple: Competition among contract vehicles (including the default alternative of using one’s own contract shop) promotes customer service and innovation, just like competition in other markets. When GSA last monopolized governmentwide vehicles, up through the early 1990s, it provided poor customer service, poor pricing and little innovation. GSA’s loss of its monopoly during the Clinton administration was actually the best thing that ever happened to the agency – they came up with new contract vehicles, much faster service, and other innovations and in the process ended up doing much more business than before. Read Full Article.