Tuesday’s solicitation will begin the process of turning 24 award schedules into a single contracting vehicle for products and services.
On Tuesday, the General Services Administration published a much-anticipated solicitation that will begin to merge 24 multiple-award schedules into a single contracting vehicle to streamline acquisition operations and make it easier for companies to do business with the federal government.
The consolidation will occur in phases through fiscal year 2020. Initially, only new contracts will be put on the consolidated schedule. GSA said agencies, which purchase about $31 billion in goods and services every year through the schedules, should not experience disruptions in their purchasing during the transition.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure our new terms and conditions will meet the needs of our customers, and also streamline and eliminate duplicate contracts,” said Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Alan Thomas in a press release. “[Multiple award schedule] consolidation is a triple win—good for federal agencies, industry partners and our acquisition workforce.”
Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council, said the new schedule will “change the market dynamics a little bit for the companies” because they will have to separate themselves from other competition. However, his members are overall “very pleased” with consolidating the schedules, he said.
“It’s an expense to companies to maintain more than one contract and to monitor individual terms and conditions,” he said. “Having a straightforward [single] set of terms and conditions is much easier to manage, lowers the risk of making a mistake [and] it’s easier to market for companies.”
GSA has been “very open about how they’re proceeding,” according to Chvotkin. GSA considered feedback from more than 1,000 responses to its request for information about the effort and worked with agencies, the acquisition workforce and industry to create the consolidated schedule. Also, it is offering training for contracting officers and those involved in acquisition.
“I do think it is a win-win for both the government and industry,” said Robert Burton, partner with Crowell & Moring LLP and former deputy administrator and acting administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. He praised GSA for its “robust dialogue with industry” on this initiative, which has been discussed in the acquisition community for years.
GSA announced its plans for the consolidation last November after much feedback from vendors and federal buyers about differing terms and conditions for contracts that led to inconsistencies in the contracting process, Nextgov reported. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said this is “an important first step toward our goal of simplifying the experience for customers, suppliers, and GSA’s acquisition workforce.”