Schedules consolidation – an integrated commercial services marketplace!

This column was originally published on Roger Waldron’s blog at The Coalition for Government Procurement and was republished here with permission from the author.

The General Services Administration’s Schedules Consolidation initiative continues apace, with the agency and its contractors implementing Phase 3, the consolidation of multiple schedule contracts into a single contract for those impacted contractors.

Phase 3 comes after GSA created a single solicitation covering all schedule Special Item Numbers and associated NAICs (Phase 1) and modified existing contracts to incorporate an updated set of terms and conditions (Phase 2). GSA is to be commended for its Schedules Consolidation efforts. Consolidation will enhance efficiency in contracting by reducing duplicative contract administration costs.  It will increase competition and access to the commercial market, including access to commercial solutions.

Most significantly, Schedules Consolidation has created the first integrated, governmentwide Commercial Services Marketplace (CSM). In essence, the merger of IT Schedule 70 with the Professional Service Schedule (PSS) created the CSM. In the five years prior to schedules consolidation, IT Schedule 70 and the PSS collectively accounted for $20 billion in annual purchases by customer agencies. The creation of the CSM provides a powerful, best value dynamic. Under the CSM, schedule contractors can offer customer agencies integrated, commercial solutions more efficiently and effectively than in the past by incorporating information technology services and professional services. The CSM has the potential to be a game changer for customer agencies and industry partners.

Building on this Schedules Consolidation foundation, GSA can take additional steps to ensure a robust CSM that delivers best value to customer agencies. These best value reforms include eliminating the anti-competitive Price Reduction Clause (PRC), implementing Section 876, Enhancing Competition at the Task Order, updating/streamlining the FAR 8.4 ordering procedures for services, and enhancing Order Level Materials (OLMs). Critical to the success of the CSM will be training for, and outreach to, GSA’s customer agencies and industry partners. The Coalition stands ready to work with all stakeholder towards implementing these best value reforms.

With the advent of the CSM, GSA’s portfolio of governmentwide contract vehicles is positioned for long term success in delivering best value IT and professional services for customer agencies.  GSA’s OASIS and IT GWACs continue to deliver for customer agencies. OASIS and the IT GWACs effectively compliment the schedules program and the CSM, by providing cost reimbursement capability in response to customer needs, in particular, the Defense Department’s needs. For example, OASIS has seen over 300 percent growth in contract obligations over the last five years, reflecting a program that is clearly meeting customer needs.  Likewise, the Alliant program has been a major success, accounting for $20 billion in contract obligations over the last five years. The strength of these programs is reflected in these numbers and can be attributed to effective management and sound contract frameworks to meet customer agencies non-commercial (e.g. cost reimbursement) requirements.

Moving forward, GSA’s governmentwide portfolio remains well-positioned to meet customer needs. There is power in simplicity and choice. GSA’s family of IT GWACs, along with OASIS, provide customer agencies with effective tools in the toolbox while complimenting the schedules program. Indeed, the growth in customer demand reflects the appeal of these contract vehicles. As GSA moves forward in addressing the future of the small business IT GWAC via the POLARIS program, as with the CSM, the Coalition stands ready work with all stakeholders towards an efficient, effective set of small business IT GWAC contract vehicles.

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