Modernizing The GSA Schedules Program to Better Address Customer Needs

As announced last week, the Coalition is launching a new Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Savings award “which will go to a government and industry activity based on sound acquisition planning and use of well-defined requirements that lead to significant savings for the government/taxpayer.” This new EIP Savings award reflects the central, fundamental principle of government procurement: effective communication of sound requirements is the key to enhancing competition, achieving savings, and ensuring best value outcomes for government, the taxpayer and industry.

Many of our recent Coalition committee meetings and conversations with government acquisition officials have focused on contract types, structures and processes. These conversations reflect the common interest in ensuring that multiple award contracts, including the Multiple Award Schedules program, provide effective platforms for efficient competition for agency requirements. As last week’s blog post noted, communication between government and industry is vital to achieving greater efficiency and cost savings. Multiple award contracts must be flexible and accountable. Flexible contract structures enhance the ability of agencies to effectively and efficiently compete requirements at the order level. Flexible contract structures also empower contractors to offer new commercial technologies and comprehensive solutions to meet customer needs. Sound, flexible contract structures are at the heart of some of the ongoing discussions regarding GSA’s MAS program and meeting customer requirements. Here are some of our thoughts on modernizing the GSA schedules program to better address customer needs:

  • Other Direct Costs (ODCs). Utilizing the existing flexible and accountable procedures and contract terms (FAR Clause 52.212-4, Alternate I) to address the acquisition of materials, ODCs and indirect costs at the task order level would allow customer agencies to more effectively and efficiently compete and acquire requirements under the MAS program. It will also fundamentally enhance the ability of MAS contractors to offer comprehensive solutions to customer agency requirements,
  • Cost-reimbursement capability. Adding a cost-reimbursement capability to the MAS program for service requirements would further enhance the ability of customer agencies to compete and acquire their requirements through the program.
  • Contract consolidation. Allowing companies greater flexibility to consolidate their MAS contracts will enhance the ability to efficiently offer comprehensive solutions to agency requirements. It will also reduce administrative overhead and paperwork costs for both GSA and its MAS contractors.
  • Demand based model. Closing schedules is not the answer. It sacrifices innovation and access to the commercial marketplace. It puts GSA in a position of trying to pick winners and losers in an ever changing commercial marketplace. It also will inevitably reduce the ability of MAS contractors (large, medium and small) to team and/or offer complete solutions to meet agency requirements. One of the hallmarks of the MAS program is its access to the competitive commercial marketplace through continuous open seasons.
  • Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) best practices. The Coalition has developed a statement of MAS BPA best practices. The best practices focus on the importance of establishing BPAs based on accurate requirements and usage commitments in order to achieve savings.

The Coalition appreciates the willingness of GSA to engage in a Myth-Busters dialogue on these key issues. We look forward to continuing our conservations with GSA on modernizing the MAS program structures to further enhance competition, efficiency, innovation and savings.

Next week I will focus on GWACs, MACs and Enterprise contract vehicles.

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