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.
And nearly five months after the Defense Department's Dick Ginman
, director for procurement and acquisition policy (DPAP), created quite a stir
by changing almost two decades of precedent around GSA schedule prices, Tom Sharpe
, the commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, finally responded publicly to these major changes.
"I support what Dick Ginman has done in terms of telling his contracting workforce to go ahead and apply techniques to get the best price, value and other things important to the taxpayers when they raise orders or otherwise contract — that means getting competition and that means negotiating prices," Sharpe said in an interview with Federal News Radio. "I think where Dick was at, and I agree with him, is we didn't know how often contracting officers were receiving discounts. If you have any type of large volume at the order level, you should in fact be competing orders and negotiating discounts. The schedules were set up to enable that."
Sharpe said by standardizing part numbers and descriptions on the schedules, GSA will use the data to make decisions about how much price variability in the schedules make sense, and agencies can use the data to make better buying decisions. He said GSA also plans to propose a rule to require schedule contractors to provide prices paid data and all demographics around it.
Sharpe said FAS will put that data in a tool so buyers can use it to help them shape how they should price that order.
"I support the agencies getting the best prices they can," he said. "I'm in the process at FAS of setting the conditions, particularly on the multiple award schedule, such that possibly those deviations would no longer be needed, and I'll defer to those customers."
Despite Sharpe's support of DoD, and presumably NASA too, industry experts aren't happy with this growing trend. Several sources say DoD, and now NASA, aren't solving a problem with the schedules, but rather not addressing a problem with the training of contracting officers. Read Full Article.