FAS Boss Talks Shop

In a recent interview, Alan Thomas, the Federal Acquisition Service commissioner, promises that agency customer and industry partners are helping to drive the schedules’ modernization strategy. This includes making it easier to buy products and services, such as allowing agencies to combine products and services —  order level materials (OLMs) or other direct costs (ODCs) — under one buy. Although the impact will likely not be felt until 2019, vendors and buyers can take advantage of the change today, according to Thomas. The “one buy” option requires a contract modification and special item number addition.  

Another major change is the elimination of minimum purchase thresholds, which is extremely helpful for those needing only one of an item, and not 5 or 10.

The next fiscal year is likely to see major changes to the Schedules program. Thomas said FAS will possibly consolidate schedules down to one or a smaller set of Schedule contracts, in order to make it easier for customer purchasing. This will remove the difficulty of figuring out which schedule to buy from in perceived overlaps. Thomas wants to reduce confusion for agency customers and make it less burdensome for vendors who may be managing many schedules. Implementation of this change would not take place until late 2019 or possibly 2020.

Another change Thomas is looking to implement is the reduction in the number of contractors on schedules, beginning with those who have not had any sales in two or more years. Schedule holders, be aware: sell your products/services through the Schedule and claim these on your 72(a) to ensure you aren’t on the chopping block. 

Other major changes coming to schedules revolve around transparency and fee adjustments. Thomas said vendors must be able to see what agencies are buying through RFQs or task orders so they know whether the Schedules are being utilized.  Will the new e-Buy pilot provide that transparency? Who knows. And we wonder what making the fee structure consistent across Schedules will actually ‘look’ like.

Finally, GSA and VA are trying to improve their collaboration across similar contracts. Thomas said VA is looking at the technology that GSA uses to manage its Schedule program and global supply program for more control, visibility and greater efficiencies in its micro-purchase expenditures.

Bye Bye FPT, It’s Been Nice Knowing You

The GSA Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) has decided to discontinue the Formatted Product Tool (FPT), reverting contracts that were awarded through this process to the legacy SIP/CORs process for managing and loading catalog data into GSA Advantage! Offer submissions and modifications will continue through eOffer/eMod, without the formatted templates from FPT. This change requires a refresh to the three types of schedules listed below, and the issuance of a mass modification to remove FPT specific clauses, replacing them with the legacy versions where applicable. This will be taking place over the next several months.

This notice applies only to the following three schedules:

  • Schedule 58 I – Professional Audio/Video Telemetry/Tracking, Recording/Reproducing, and Signal Data Solutions
  • Schedule 72 – Furnishing and Floor Coverings
  • Schedule 66 – Scientific Equipment and Services

FAS saw mixed success from the user experience perspective. “Vendors participating in FPT indicated to us that the current process is cumbersome and in some cases, extremely time-consuming – especially for vendors with large catalogs. Additionally, vendors experienced frustration in the time required to address catalog data validation as a result of the FPT process.”

Vendors should review the Significant Changes Document for any potential changes to their solicitation/contract, including those not related to the FPT rollback.

Please call EZGSA at 301-913-5000 with any questions you may have.