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.

Oh Say Can You See? Focus on the Micro-Purchase Threshold

During a recent industry day, GSA reiterated that the Portals Program will focus on transactions under the Micro-Purchase Threshold. The current draft of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act grants a GSA request to increase the Micro-Purchase threshold for purchases through approved portals to $25,000. If included  in the final draft, this will make the Portals Program the preferred vehicle for any micro-purchases. The GSA Schedules Program will remain the preferred contracting vehicle for all other commercial item procurements. GSA said this would simplify the acquisition process and address federal buying requirements (such as considering AbilityOne and designated small business contractors for procurement).

On the other hand, not all industry partners are so enthusiastic. Will this create two completely separate market places for the same services and products, at two different price barriers? Some contractors are nervous that the Portal initiative might create a different compliance structure from Multiple Award Contracts,  potentially leaving businesses with difficult decisions. The concern is that the move will create parallel systems of compliance and companies will have to weigh the cost of navigating both.

Roger Waldron, president of Coalition for Government Procurement, has an example. “If there are compliance requirements in one channel and they don’t exist in another channel, do (businesses) stay in the channel where they have compliance requirements and increase costs and lower margins? They are going to be making those kinds of business decisions ultimately.”

In response, GSA officials said they are still weighing how to design the policies for the portals and would be testing the new micropurchase threshold in a proof of concept pilot sometime next year. Jeffrey Koses of the Office of Governmentwide Policy said GSA is “still trying to determine if this is more of an [indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity] type of relationship or is this something else. It’s a fair question. I don’t know if we have all of the answers at this point.”

GSA released two RFIs about the regulations needed- one for suppliers that sell on commercial e-commerce platforms and one for commercial providers. Leave your thoughts there, or in our comments.

Sign your Name on the Dotted Line

Actions needed for Schedule 75 Contract holders

On January 10, GSA released plans for Mass Mod A598, and now they’re following through. Changes for Schedule 75, Office Supplies, include new business rules, new TAA compliance standards, new environmental guidance, and a new letter of supply.

Contract holders must sign the new Letter of Supply, GSA Business Rules, and Critical Information Specific to Schedule 75, and return them to GSA by the deadline on June 30, as well as supplying new TAA Operating Procedures. Otherwise, their contracts will fall out of compliance, and GSA may take action such as removal of the GSA pricelist from GSAAdvantage, or cancellation of the contract itself.

After contractors complete all required documents, they should upload the files to a new Terms and Conditions modification in eMod. GSA will then finalize the modification and incorporate into the GSA MAS Schedule Contract.

For the necessary documents, and more information, visit the solicitation. And of course, EZGSA is always here to help you with questions! Call 301-913-5000 or email mbotello@ezgsa.com.