WHAT: GSA is a new data collection burden on GSA Schedule contractors. Starting with a pilot project on selected Schedules (see list below), GSA will insert a new FAR clause in each new Schedule contract and, on a phased basis, existing contract on the covered Schedules, that will require companies to report the prices, discounts, customers, and other relevant data on each GSA Schedule sales transaction starting as early as July 1, 2016. This information will be populated in a GSA-maintained database for use by government agencies to assist them in making fair and reasonable price determinations when buying from Schedule contracts.
SCHEDULES: 03 FAC, 51 V, 58 I, 72, 73, 75, 70 (equipment, software and satellite SIN’s only to start), 00 Corp (PES SIN to start)
THE GOOD: GSA is eliminating the Basis of Award tracking requirement of the Price Reductions Clause. Note that the Defective Data PRC trigger remains.
GSA is also eliminating the requirement to fill out Commercial Sales Practice sheets for covered contracts. Price reasonableness for Schedule items will be determined via: 1. Prices for the same or similar items already on an FSS contract, 2. Prices paid, per the transactional database, once available, 3. Commercial data sources. Contracting officers are also reminded to use market research.
The rule is being phased in as a pilot project. At first, transactional data will be shared only with the Category Managers of each federal Category Management team to assist them in analyzing both demand and pricing for the ultimate purpose of reducing contract duplication. Next, GSA FSS Contracting Officers will receive the data to assist in contract award or modification actions. Lastly, the database will be open to federal agencies.
THE UNKNOWN: GSA is also retaining the right, intended to be a last resort, to collect commercial sales information. This is supposed to be used only when the above determination factors can’t be used to determine price reasonableness. Only time will tell if this is a meaningful change.
In the event that contractor-supplied pricing data is substantially reduced, so too would the potential risk of violating the Price Reductions Clause Defective Data trigger.
Some pricing data, now obtainable via FOIA, will be put on an on-line extract portion of the database for public viewing.
THE NOT-SO GOOD: GSA acknowledges that the greater a company’s sales are, the greater the transactional reporting burden may be. Companies with more than modest GSA Schedule sales may find it necessary to invest in new data reporting tools.
GSA acknowledges that “apples to apples” pricing comparisons, especially for services, may be problematic. This may result in buyers feeling that they are eligible for pricing and discounts that are not available to them. This undoubtedly will lead to perception issues and difficulties for both contractors and GSA.
Schedule contractors must understand that their pricing will eventually be open for all federal buyers to see. This means that spot discount information, for example, will be viewable by a wide audience. There is also the possibility of this information being improperly shared once it becomes accessible to thousands of contracting officials. The bottom line is that companies must know that their pricing and discounts will be more readily available among a much larger audience.