New Year, New Mass Mod

At the start of the new year, GSA plans to issue a Mass Modification that will update Schedule contracts to mirror the new consolidated Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) for products and services. The new Multiple Award schedule was released this past October 1st. (GSA Interact, November 25, 2019)

The single Schedule solicitation promotes a simplified format, terms, and conditions along with new categories and Special Item Numbers (SINs). The new Schedule should make it easier for contractors to offer products and services and for agencies to find them. (ibid)

When the Mass Mod is issued, all current Schedule holder’s terms and conditions will align with the new consolidated MAS. The new consolidated MAS solicitation and category attachments are posted on BETA.SAM.gov. Attachments incorporate additional instructions and requirements specific to each large category, subcategory, or SIN. The new consolidated MAS solicitation includes:

  • Solicitation
  • Available Offerings Summary Document
  • Regulations Incorporated by Reference

The Available Offerings and Requirements page on GSA.gov contains templates and attachments for the solicitation. Instructions for each template can be found on Beta.Sam.gov; however individual documents will be housed on GSA.gov. (ibid)

So what do you need to do go get ready? GSA recommends attending one of the following webinars:

Session One:

Date: Thursday, December 19, 2019

Time: 2:30 – 3:30 PM EST

Registration Link: can be found by clicking here.

Session Two:

Date: Thursday, January 9, 2020

Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM EST

Registration Link: can be found by clicking here. (ibid)

Individuals unable to attend either of the two webinars can find recordings on Interact. In addition, there is an Overview of MAS Consolidation and Consolidated Solicitation Advance Notice training recordings which can be reviewed at any time.

To understand the New Offerings structure, individuals should review the solicitation to understand where specific offerings will fall under the new large categories, subcategories, and SINs. In addition, review of the advance notice for the release of the MAS solicitation, for an overview of clauses, available offerings, and a matrix of clauses included in MAS. (ibid)

GSA recommends questions be submitted to your assigned contracting officer (CO) or the Multiple Award Schedule Program Management Office (MAS PMO) at MASPMO@gsa.gov. (ibid)

Once in receipt of the upcoming Mass Mod, we recommend you review it immediately. Note any exceptions. When responding to the Mass Mod, contractors will be presented with each clause in the consolidated Schedule and may either accept the clause or request an exception. Each exception must include a written justification and be negotiated with the CO. (Contractors should not take exception to clauses that do not apply to them.)

All responses to the Mass Mod are due before July 31, 2020. Those not responding by the due date will find their offerings unavailable on GSA eTools. The contract number, period of performance, products, and services offered as well as the assigned CO will not change as a result of accepting the Mass Mod. (ibid)

Concerns about the Mass Mod and whether or how an exception might affect your current Schedule? Concerned with how to justify an exception? Give us a call.

TDR Pilot Still Flying

GSA is extending the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot program for an additional year, giving everyone ample time to work on the pilot while preparing for the upcoming Schedule consolidation.  The TDR pilot program collects pricing data, including cost to the government for services and products sold under GSA contracts. Ultimately, TDR will replace GSA’s Commercial Sales Practices. (Federal Computer Week, August 19, 2019)

TDR was implemented as a noncompulsory, three-year pilot that included eight schedules and their associated SINs. GSA created TDR to reduce bureaucratic burden and increase transparency by requiring monthly reporting of transactional sales data from government-wide contracts, including Multiple Award Schedules contracts. Ultimately, TDR promotes smarter purchasing by federal agencies by allowing expedited and more comprehensive data to assure best value. (ibid)

The GSA Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report last summer pointing out that the TDR pilot will not produce a quantifiable measurement. According to the OIG, data is not available for use and there are no performance targets. The IG asked GSA to set performance targets for each metric used and to verify the data is available and valid. (ibid) GSA and the FAS Commissioner Alan Thomas stated that the pilot was just getting ramped up and that some tweaks might be necessary based on the OIG report. However, the extension to the TDR pilot will allow more time for additional data gathering. According to Roger Waldron, president for the Coalition for Government Procurement, the extra time will give the pilot stability while allowing the price reductions clause to be removed. (ibid)

GSA will review the pilot at the end of fiscal year 2020 and at that time determine whether to cancel or expand the program to all GSA Schedule SINs. (ibid)

Still wondering how you can take part in the TDR pilot or how GSAs multiple schedule consolidation might work in your favor? Give us a call.

 

Nervous about TDR? Drop Out or Don’t Even Join the Pilot!

Transactional Data Reporting now voluntary for contractors

Any contractor that has received multiple-award schedule contracts and special item numbers can now opt out of participating in the TDR pilot. To remind you, the TDR rule allows the agency to collect transactional-level data, which informs buying strategies and purchases.

Mary Davie, acting deputy commissioner of FAS explains that “GSA is altering TDR’s implementation to give new offerers and contractors approaching an option period the choice to adopt TDR….” For those contractors who were previously required to accept TDR, GSA is extending them the option to execute a one-time reverse modification to undo this action and work with their contracting officer to revert back to operating under the structure and tracking requirements of the price reduction clause.

Jack St. John, GSA chief of staff, said the modification of the TDR rule supports agency efforts to transition the current administration’s priorities into acquisition policies.

GSA Interact published the full announcement and further information. If you’d like assistance in reversing your TDR option, contact us at 301-913-5000 or mbotello@ezgsa.com.

Effectiveness of TDR is TBD

GSA Responds to Criticisms of TDR

The new pilot program for Transactional Data Reporting has met widespread criticism, leading many to question its supposed benefits.

GSA wrote the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) requirement as an alternative to the Price Reduction Clause (PRC) and Commercial Services Practices (CSP) provision, in response to contractor complaints. The CSP provision requires government contractors to inform GSA of any discounts they offer to commercial partners. Meanwhile, the PRC requires contractors to offer government clients discounts equal to those given to commercial customers, as determined by the contract itself.

Because vendors tend to loathe these clauses, the TDR requirement generated widespread enthusiasm before its June launch. However, since then, it has met with criticism from the contractor side and has included anecdotal evidence of contracting officers still requesting CSP, or CSP-esque information from contractors enrolled in the TDR pilot.

Kevin Youell Page, the deputy commissioner of the Federal Acquisitions Service has publicly stated that “We haven’t really heard from anyone that this has specifically happened.” Most of the criticism appears based more on worries that COs could still require these, as well as general apprehension. Nonetheless, Youell Page is trying to answer feedback and reform the program. FAS has set up an email address exclusively for questions, comments, and concerns about the program; worked closely with the inspector general’s office to alleviate confusion; and continues a cross-country campaign to train and educate contractors and stakeholders.

This is a dramatic shift, made more  so by the risks associated with the new administration. GSA has only committed to a three-year pilot, and as yet the Trump administration has not moved to support TDR. This creates concerns about the liability of participating contractors for PRC and CSP data after the pilot ends.

GSA’s TDR rule changes EVERYTHING

Just over a month ago, GSA published the final Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) rule designed to expunge the Pride Reduction Clause (PRC), Most Favored Customer (MFC), and the Commercial Sales Practices. Starting 22 August, new Schedule awardees whose contract is part of the pilot roll-out will be evaluated against the TDR. Existing contract holders will be allowed to opt in, but it is a voluntary, bi-lateral move.

According to GSA, “This rule asks contractors to electronically report key procurement data; including prices paid, quantity, standard part number and product description for all purchases through GSA contract vehicles. The information collected through the TDR will help contracting officers make smarter purchasing decisions and provide data to assist in negotiating future contracts.”

The upside for vendors taking on this additional burden is that they will be spared from having to worry about violating the PRC, which states that if your commercial MFC price drops below the basis of award rates, an automatic price reduction is triggered. Failing to implement this price reduction may subject the vendor to the False Claims Act, under which they can be sued for fraud. This had been one of the leading complaints from contractors. And while there are new concerns accompanying this rule, it does seek to address a the difficulty of maintaining pricing compliance.

The TDR will require an entirely new way of dealing with GSA pricing and has some significant future effects. EZGSA is developing a white paper concerning the TDR and will post it’s link here in the next week.