At last week’s GSA Business Roundtable, GSA leaders and Coalition members participated in a Myth-Busters Discussion exercise to “brainstorm” ideas in support of GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini’s new mission statement and six priorities. To foster dialogue and engagement, the mission statement, six priorities and post-it notes were provided to each table. Attendees were instructed to write down any ideas/recommendations/suggestions and then “post” them in the appropriate areas around the meeting room for review by all in attendance.
There were 177 post-it note ideas, recommendations and/or comments regarding GSA’s six priorities. Priority 1, Delivering Better Value and Savings (59 post-its) and Priority 2, Serving Our Partners (48 post-its) totaled well over half of the recommendations received. Among the themes were:
- Address/improve communication (i.e. messaging/marketing) to customer agencies and contractors regarding GSA’s value proposition
- Lower total acquisition cost (TAC) through streamlining the cycle time for offers and modifications, modernizing the pricing policies and improving ease of use at the task order level
- Educate customer agencies regarding small business set-asides at the task order level and the potential impact of the rules on small businesses
- Maintain continuous open season to enhance small business participation and access to innovative solutions and new products
- Implement “Other Direct Costs”
Coming out of the Roundtable, the Coalition promised to catalog the post-it notes and provide them to all the participants. A listing of the 177 post-it note ideas can be found here. The post-it note listing has been provided to GSA.
The output from the Myth-Busters Discussion exercise provides GSA and its industry partners with timely insight on key challenges and opportunities surrounding GSA’s government-wide contracting programs. These insights are especially timely considering the budget challenges facing the federal government and the corresponding role GSA can play in delivering best value solutions to meet customer agency missions while saving the taxpayer’s money.
On May 29th, Sylvia M. Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued a “Memorandum for the Heads of Departments and Agencies” outlining the “Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Guidance.” The memorandum provides guidance on the FY 2015 budget submissions and instructs departments and agencies that budget submissions should reflect a 5 percent reduction below the net discretionary total provided for agencies for 2015 in the 2014 budget. The memorandum further instructs that the budget submission should also include additional reductions to bring the overall submission to a level 10 percent below the net discretionary total provided for agencies for 2015 in the 2014 budget. The memorandum continues, “To help meet these targets, all agencies should look for ways to reduce fragmentation, overlap, and duplication, and increase effectiveness.” Finally, the memorandum calls on agencies to provide an updated strategic plan along with the 2015 budget submission.
Reducing unnecessary, costly contract duplication can save time and money for the federal government, contractors and the American people. GSA, as the central procurement arm of the federal government, should play a leading role in reducing unnecessary, costly contract duplication. GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program, IT GWACs, Fleet program, real estate management and assisted services provide a framework for cost effective shared services support to customer agencies.
As GSA works on its strategic plan for OMB, the recommendations generated from the post-it note exercise will provide insight on key opportunities to improve mission execution across each of the priorities. In sum, the post-it notes represent the best of Myth-Busters, the result of a positive, engaging dialogue between GSA and its industry partners focusing on improving procurement outcomes for government customers, the American people and industry.
By the way, the GSA Business Roundtable demonstrates that taxpayers do benefit when government and industry have an open dialogue! Thank you to all who participated in the Roundtable!