eBuy Open Launches

eBuy Open takes eBuy a step further — this electronic Request for Quote (RFQ) system launched just this week. The one-year pilot will test whether  vendors without a GSA Schedule contract will be better able to determine their intentions with regard to the Schedules or subcontracting opportunities.

GSA’s idea is to increase new entrants in its acquisition vehicle programs, increase competition, and promote transparency. This latter part will be promoted through federal buying opportunities receiving public view in eBuy of opportunities posted, after contract award.

A test group of government purchasers is included in the one-year pilot program, comprised of contracting officers from the GSA Office of Internal Acquisition and the FAS Region Southwest Supply and Acquisition Center for GSA-funded procurements. The test group will upload award notices for public viewing of each eBuy award. Opportunities can be found by entering the keyword “eBuyPilot” in the search box.

Please call EZGSA at 301-913-5000 if we can assist or answer any questions.

What’s Going On PSS?

During the PSS “What’s New and Coming Soon” webinar this week, Lisa Norgren provided some updates and coming attractions. Among the most interesting/important points:

  • SSQ has a new interface! And it’s pretty! We tried using the sample search, it didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean yours won’t. One big change: you now must log in to perform a search.
  • 72a reporting is slowly migrating to a new FAS Sales Reporting Portal. Slowly, you ask? Yesss. The new system is being rolled out to some users, and the method seems haphazard. As we check the portal for all our clients, you may want to do the same. This ongoing migration will eventually replace the current system for all contractors.
  • The streamline process for PSS continues, with more updates expected early next year.
  • PSS SIN consolidation also continues, with more announcements expected by the middle of 2019.

As always, please contact us (301-913-5000) with any questions or concerns about the above. We are here to help!

Webinars, Seminars, and an Exposition

GSA is hosting several upcoming events:

October 8th -10th – The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) is holding their annual meeting and exposition October 8th – October 10th. The event will take place at the Washington, DC Convention Center with over 700 exhibits and 30,000 attendees and offers a great opportunity to meet Department of Defense decision makers. To register and obtain additional information, visit their website at  http://ausameetings.org/2018annualmeeting/ for additional information.

October 11th  – 1:00-3:00 PM EST  – Webinar offered by the Building Maintenance and Operations (BMO) and Delegation of Procurement Authority (DPA). An overview of the BMO acquisition strategy for the government-wide strategic sourcing contract vehicle and detailed ordering procedures. Eligible attendees who register will be provided a virtual meeting link prior to the training. https://www.gsa.gov/events/building-maintenance-and-operations-overview-dpa-training-virtual-892018

October 18th – 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST – Webinar offered by GSA Office of Travel, Transportation, and Logistics (TTL) Medium and Heavy Vehicle Branch (QMAAB). Expect training on Subcontracting Plans and reporting in the Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSARS). It is recommended that large businesses required to have a Subcontracting Plan attend this meeting. It is strongly encouraged that questions be submitted in advance of the webinar. To join the meeting:

To join the meeting:

https://meet.gsa.gov/autovirtual/

Conference Number(s):

US (Toll): 1-719-325-2013

US (Toll-Free): 1-866-928-2008

Participant Code: 629681

 

Please give EZGSA a call if we can answer any questions at 301-913-5000.

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!

 

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.