Monthly Archives: May 2018

GSA OFFERS A GLIMPSE ON THE FUTURE OF SCHEDULE CONTRACTS

GSA will actively seek to add suppliers to the Schedules program that are an important part of their customer’s supplier base while, at the same time likely trimming the total number of contractors as agencies move to a shared services platform.  These were just two of the many comments made by GSA officials at yesterday’s Coalition for Government Procurement Spring Conference.  While these two approaches may seem divergent, the real message from GSA may be that they want to have contractors on Schedule that customers actually buy from or want to buy from.  This may mean that companies with few, or no, Schedule sales will be continue to be targets for contract cancellation.  For those that do remain, Schedule solicitations may get a lot thinner as the project that began in Region 10 to streamline voluminous Schedule documents spreads to all parts of the program.  Additionally, the agency may act to adopt non-priced Schedules, further streamlining the process and adding focus to a company’s technical capabilities. While there is no word on whether GSA may work on lowering the Schedules .75% IFF, the program is certainly not standing still. GSA leaders report that their customers want acquisition methods that are fast and easy to use.  Expect Schedule changes to meet those demands.

GSA, OMB HAVE YET TO ANSWER TOUGH QUESTIONS ON COMMERCIAL E-COMMERCE SOLUTIONS

Will products sold through commercial e-commerce portals be subject to the Buy American (BAA) or Trade Agreements Act (TAA)?  How will GSA ensure secure supply chains and the provision of products by authorized sources?  Is the proposed $25,000 purchase ceiling too high to ensure that agencies get good prices and make good acquisition decisions?  These were  among the questions asked to GSA representatives at last week’s Coalition for Government Procurement Spring Conference.  There were few concrete answers beyond GSA’s commitment to “transparency” and “dialog”.  Yet, these questions absolutely must be answered if both government agencies and federal contractors are to make smart business decisions about whether and how to use commercial e-commerce portals.  The smaller dollar transactions contemplated by this project suggest that the Buy American Act would apply, unless GSA issued an exemption, or applied the TAA threshold across the project, as it does with the Schedules program.  Ensuring secure supply chains is absolutely essential as cyber experts believe that supply chain infiltration is one good way to disrupt a cyber-secure perimeter.  The $25,000 limit is being openly questioned in the legal community, some of whom point out that there is no information yet on the impact of a $10,000 micro-purchase cap.  A $25K limit, they fear, may be going into deeper water too soon.  GSA will hold another industry day on June 21st and, while that day will be primarily for the agency to listen, it may want to begin by addressing some of these questions.

PLAYING FOR HIGH STAKES – THE RISK OF IGNORING COMPLIANCE ISSUES

Can’t make it to the casino?  Nothing like making a high stakes gamble with your company and your job.  If you’re hoping that the compliance problem you know you have will just go away, you’d be better off playing high stakes poker in a private room in Vegas.  You’re playing with your own money there, not that of your company or investors.  Hiding an issue from the feds is a sure way to end up with huge penalties – and an appointment with a suspension official – if a Read more