Year End Bonanza

This year many agencies had high percentages of spending not obligated for fiscal year 2018.m  This makes a strong case for being prepared during the last two months of the fiscal year when spending can be at an all-time high. This Nextgov article reports on data prepared by the Pulse and the Professional Services Council, showing that up to 40% of an agency’s budget may not have spent by fiscal year-end.  GSA Schedules provide government buyers with an easy, clear path to procure end of fiscal year needs.

Education is key: not all government customers are familiar with GSA Schedules or the benefits of purchasing from one.  it couldn’t hurt to remind your agency buyers that the contract has been competed and has no ceiling value. Depending on the type and dollar value of an order, agencies can buy directly from GSA Advantage!  Provide your customers with information from the General Services Administration on GSA Schedule benefitsordering procedures, and FAQs.

One of our most valuable tips is to make sure that pricing and product/service offerings are up-to-date on your awarded contracts. If not, you could be leaving money on the table or missing out on many time-sensitive opportunities.

Questions about whether your contact is current? Contact us at 301-913-5000 and we will help you find out!

 

Sign on the dotted line…

On the recent-GSA-trend front, our EZGSA proposal specialists have noticed our Contracting Officers making a small but significant change to GSA Schedule awards.

Until recently, COs would provide us with a GSA Schedule contract number immediately upon issue and contractor signature of the SF1449. This allowed businesses to begin marketing their Schedules immediately, as well as prepare for new task orders with interested government clients. Recently, however, the COs have been waiting to give a contract number until it has been countersigned. And the number is being issued with a modification, effectively changing the contract before it’s been awarded.

A little confusing, yes. Tragic, no. But if you have questions, give us a call and we will do our best to answer them. 301-913-5000.

Reverse Auction is Reversed!

GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) is decommissioning the ReverseAuctions (RA) platform on September 30, 2018. The RA platform will not be available for either the creation or management of auctions after this date. Auctions with end dates after October 1, 2018, will be allowed to conclude as scheduled, and GSA will maintain RA system access for users, allowing for the retrieval of auction related documents through December 31, 2018.

Note: FSSI OS3 vendors can continue to log in and bid on OS3 auctions.

 

Federal Travelers take note: GSA releases FY2019 Per Diem Rates

You knew it was coming …. GSA released the fiscal year (FY) 2019 travel per diem rates, which will take effect on October 1, 2018. GSA sets these rates for the Continental United States annually. Rates are based on local market costs of mid-priced hotels, lodging per diem rates provide caps, or maximum amounts, that can be reimbursed to federal employees for lodging and meals while on official travel.

For more information on FY 2019 travel per diem rates, please visit www.gsa.gov/perdiem.

 

 

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.