The latest acquisition trend to hit the federal government is category management. The goal of category management is for the government to ‘act as one’ to take advantage of its considerable buying power and streamline the procurement process. To that end, GSA began establishing contract vehicles for commonly purchased ‘categories’ of products and services, many of which were issued against its Schedules program.
Almost as soon as a new strategic sourcing contract was awarded, I heard horror stories from companies who weren’t selected about the sudden, and sometimes catastrophic, erosion of their federal business. Most of these were small businesses and, since increased small business utilization was one of the stated goals of category management, I decided to look at the data to see what was going on.
I focused on OS2, the strategic sourcing Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) for office supplies. GSA boasted that OS2 “achieved a small business utilization rate of 75 percent.” GSA doesn’t mention that only 13 small businesses were awarded OS2 contracts.
Herein lies the conundrum – can you consider OS2 a small business success story when so few companies benefited? What about the 400+ small businesses whose federal sales suffered as a result? Take a look at my infographic and let me know what you think (click to enlarge).
Jennifer Aubel is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.