OFPP, GSA raise the stakes on new acquisition approach

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy wants to increase savings, reduce the number of new contracts and grow the spending on existing contracts under the new cross-agency priority goal of category management.

OFPP Administrator Anne Rung and Tom Sharpe, the commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, wrote in an Oct. 14 blog post that making category management a cross-agency goal is the next step in the initiative of changing the way the government buys goods and services.

“These three goals are in addition to the government’s continued focus on increasing meeting or exceeding our small business participation goals as a major component of each category’s management strategy,” Rung and Sharpe wrote in the post. “Agency leadership, the acquisition and IT community, and other key stakeholders, will be working together to ensure we meet our new goals.”

Rung and Frank Kendall, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, are the goal leaders.

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In the updated category management guidance issued in May, OFPP and GSA said they plan to save an additional $2.3 billion by December 2016 and a total of $10 billion by the end of 2019.

OFPP and GSA also want to reduce the number of IT contracts for hardware by 20 percent, and 10 percent each for software and telecommunications.

Finally, GSA and OFPP said they plan to increase the percent of spending under the category management for common goods and services by 40 percent by the end of 2016 and 80 percent by the end of 2019.

Rung made category management a key priority when she took over OFPP about a year ago.

It grew out of the governmentwide strategic sourcing program and GSA’s efforts to create acquisition hallways to bring together information about specific industry sectors such as IT software, IT hardware and professional services.

Now as a governmentwide goal, category management will come under a more stringent oversight. The Category Management Leadership Council will continue to oversee the program, but the Office of Management and Budget now will hold deputy secretaries more accountable for making progress.

For example, as part of GSA’s new goals for fiscal 2016 and 2017, it plans to save $9.5 billion by Sept. 30, 2017 by helping agencies buy smarter and more efficiently. Another GSA goal is to increase the number of federal users of the Acquisition Gateway to 14,000 from a baseline of 1,000 in 2015 and the number of federal agencies accessing the Acquisition Gateway to 34, from a baseline of 15 in 2015.

As a way to move agencies toward the new category management, Rung and Sharpe said agencies should expect more guidance and updates to GSA’s tools.

“Shortly, we will be issuing several significant category management policies to drive greater savings and efficiencies in IT, we will see even greater improvements to the Acquisition Gateway, and we will continue toward standing up all 10 categories by early 2016,” Rung and Sharpe stated. “In the end, we will have laid the foundation towards a major transformation of the federal acquisition landscape to help the federal government buy and act as one.”

Additionally, GSA and OFPP will announce agency leads for each of the new category management centers of excellence and category managers for each of those centers.

Currently, GSA, DoD, OMB and the Office of Personnel Management lead seven of the 10 centers. OMB is leading the IT category; DoD is leading the Transportation category; OPM leads human capital and GSA heads office management.

Part of that effort is the creation of a new playbook for category management, which will “show examples of key ‘plays’ that highlight best practices in category management.”

Rung and Sharpe said so far they are seeing results from the category management efforts.

“We’re using a ‘Spend Under Management Tiered Maturity Model’ to evaluate and highlight the good work already underway at the agency level, and to more clearly see where we need to go to move to a more mature model of managing our spend governmentwide,” they said.

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