Stay Compliant with Changes on Paid Sick Leave

On Labor Day, President Obama passed an Executive Order requiring Federal Contractors to provide all employees to paid sick leave. The order establishes a ratio of 1 hour of accumulated sick leave for every 30 hours worked on a Federal contract or seven days a year. (more…)

Mass Mod for new PSS Coming Soon

New Mass Modifications to accommodate the new Professional Services Schedule

GSA Interact has recently announced an important update regarding necessary actions to contractors who are migrating over to the Professional Services Schedule (PSS).  As you know, the PSS is a new contracting vehicle comprised of existing schedules in hopes to provide customers and contractors with the benefits of streamlined acquisitions. (more…)

The Road to a Successful Transition

Professional Services Schedule Updates

To recap, the new Professional Services Schedule (PSS) is a new single Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). It was created to help provide total solutions for complex professional services requirements, as well as eliminating confusion, and saving time by managing only a single schedule.

As mentioned before, the transition for single schedule vendors will take place on October 1st, (more…)

Legislation that can Impact Contracting

Legislation that can Impact Contracting

With 2015’s new Congress having settled in, new bills have been proposed, that could have an impact on contracting, programs in VA, and national healthcare. This article will break down the first wave of new bills recently introduced. (more…)

How to Grow Government Purchase Card Sales

Emphasizing your company’s capability to accept government purchase cards can draw in more business. Purchase card transactions accounted for $26.4 billion of government purchases in fiscal year 2014. The Air Force used the card for nearly 1.5 million transactions and approximately $1.2 billion in total expenditure. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also took advantage of purchase cards. Around 9,700 DHS employees were authorized to make 925 million purchases amounting to approximately $439 million. (more…)

NITCP 2nd Generation Information Technology BPA Solicitation

During the week of March 2, 2015, it is anticipated that the National Information Technology Commodity Program (NITCP) will release its Second Generation Multiple Award Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) draft solicitation. Vendors can expect to compete among five specialized categories representing different areas of information technology. These categories, or “pools” as they are known in the BPA, will be divided as follows.

  1. Client Computing Devices and Servers
  2. Network/Data Center Equipment
  3. Audio/Visual and Video Teleconference Equipment
  4. Motorola Brand Land Mobile Radios
  5. Cisco Brand IT Products including Network/Data Center Equipment, Peripherals, Communications Equipment, and Ancillary Supplies/Services

The overall goal with the 2nd Generation is to:

  • Simplify data collection
  • Comply with applicable regulations, including the Trade Agreements Act (TAA)
  • Improve customer service and consequently enhance customer relationships
  • Streamline procurement of IT commodities
  • Reduce costs, paperwork, and repetitive individual purchases

The 2nd Generation was created with customer feedback as the driving mechanism.  In contrast, the 1st Generation BPAs were based on industry market research.  Research results facilitated a segmented model featuring multiple sets of BPAs mated to individual commodity groups.  The customer consensus reflected in the 2nd Generation, however, strongly favors a single source preference for all commodity needs.

The Government estimates that the volume of purchases under this BPA will be at or in excess of $5 billion. The 2GIT BPAs are available to federal agencies and also to state and local governments through the GSA Cooperative Purchasing Program.

The 1st Generation BPAs will continue to run their course as the 2nd Generation rolls out.  Those with existing 1st Generation contracts are able to participate in the competition for 2nd Generation BPAs.  Furthermore, vendors are free to bid on multiple pools.

A common question among potential bidders is the business size considerations, as the Government prefers to view itself as a champion of small business.  Small businesses will continue to receive preference, but the 2GIT will not be restricted to small business exclusively.  Businesses of all sizes will be considered and are encouraged to bid.   With 2GIT,”small business” will continue to be defined by the size standard established at the GSA Schedule 70 contract level.

The Ten Categories of the Common Acquisition Platform

As the Federal government continues to focus on cutting acquisition costs by establishing a centralized purchasing platform, the term “Category Management” is gaining increasing traction in the Industry.

The General Services Administration (GSA) is leading the “Category Management” charge by spearheading the Common Acquisition Platform (CAP).  The CAP Vision as described by GSA is a multi-pronged effort to make procurement faster, easier, and more cost-effective by improving efficiency through process improvement and better informed buyers.  CAP has numerous objectives, but none is more urgent than the need to eliminate waste and cut costs in government procurement.  GSA has tackled this issue with unprecedented gusto by arranging the categories of largest spend into a centralized, agency-friendly digital procurement superhighway.

The CAP website is oriented around a network of category “hallways” that comprehensively guide an agency down virtual “corridors” to the most relevant available products and services based on the agency’s need.   This Government-wide initiative is expected to reduce excess, duplication, and inconsistency and increase cost effectiveness, transparency, and purchasing power.  GSA realizes that smarter purchasing comes through educating potential buyers.  Consequently, GSA has placed strong emphasis on empowering purchasers by sharing knowledge and best practices within these hallways.  A more collective effort means that each agency gains negotiating power that it could not gain individually.

Centralization begins with identifying distinct areas of acquisition.  Goods and services under CAP have been narrowed down to 10 “super categories,” or categories of common spend.  These have been established by the Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council (SSLC), which has been tasked with identifying the most common groups of products and services from the vast total number. The SSLC is comprised of the largest spending government agencies, and is therefore the most knowledgeable and best equipped to set an example to smaller agencies.  The following is the list of the ten super categories established by the SSLC in order of the total volume spent in each category in fiscal year 2013.

CATEGORY SPEND (billions)
Facilities and Construction $72.1
Professional Services $64.4
Information Technology $47.4
Transportation and Logistics $34.1
Medical $33.2
Industrial Products and Services $11.8
Security and Protection $4.8
Human Capital $3.6
Travel and Lodging $3.6
Office Management $2.1

Some of these categories appear more specialized than others, so it remains to be seen if these CAP “hallways” will be further narrowed in the future.  For example, “Professional Services,” casts a wider net than Travel and Lodging, with Legal, Technical, Financial, Public Relations, and Marketing services all lumped into a single category.  This suggests there may be some disparity in the scope of specialization for each category.  Tom Sharpe, the commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, has hinted that mistakes will be made when bold new initiatives are implemented, and that GSA is prepared to recognize mistakes and respond to them quickly.  As such, ongoing changes to the new CAP initiatives should not come as a surprise to agencies or vendors.  However, Sharpe sees occasional mistakes as a far better alternative than to remain in the government procurement status quo of inefficiency and duplication.  There is little doubt that Category Management has already made great strides in bringing order to the chaos of the acquisition landscape.

Find the Opportunities Behind that Lost Bid

How can losing a bid help you win?

One characteristic of a winner is the ability to use a setback to gain humility, strength, and experience out of a defeat.   No one in the business wishes to lose a bid, but in a competitive environment everyone experiences this, no matter how well-prepared a proposal or appropriate a technical solution may be. (more…)

Tangherlini Questions Future of Schedules Program

In November of 2014, GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini caused many in the industry to sit up and take notice with a provocative suggestion that the future of the GSA Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Program could come under increasing scrutiny.  In his words, he stated that “everything should be on the table” when addressing the future of the MAS program.  Tangherlini has already shown his willingness to affect change on multiple layers of the beleaguered Agency following the fall from grace that accompanied the notorious Western Region Conference scandal that rocked GSA in the spring of 2012.  However, some critics are hesitant to endorse Tangherlini for all of his initiatives, suggesting that perhaps he is affecting change for the sake of change; a political appointee taking more drastic measures than necessary to erase the GSA’s dubious recent history.   It’s even been suggested that in some of his goals, he is setting impossible expectations that are setting GSA up for failure and advocating a new era of GSA monopoly.     (more…)

GSA Will Combine Most Professional Services Schedules into One

GSA Makes an Official Announcement: Changes in Services Schedule by the New Year

(updated December 11, 2014)
With the first step to improve their professional services Schedule offerings GSA has announced they will be combining eight of the current professional services schedules into one master Professional Services Schedule. GSA feels this step will make it easier and less confusing for buyers to purchase professional services, specifically when a project’s scope may overlap between two separate GSA schedules. The migration should also alleviate some administrative burdens for companies that have to manage multiple GSA schedules.
(more…)

New Requirement for Certain SINs under Schedule 51V

Ability-One-Program

The Schedule 51 V hardware superstore schedule includes several categories of products/services, or SINs, for just about anything you can find at your local hardware store. In the latest schedule refresh, the 51 V office released an important update relating to the Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI). The latest refresh of the 51 V solicitation may be found on FBO. (more…)

eMod Bug Causes Rash of Emails Sent From GSA

eMod Bug Causes Rash of Emails Sent From GSA

Disregard Recent Email From GSA

If you are a GSA Schedule holder, you mostly likely recently received an email from [email protected] with the subject line:

“An eMod is required to complete the CCR information update with GSA contract.”

You can ignore this email.

GSA-emod-email

Your System for Award Management (SAM) migration from CCR may have created extra spacing, commas or special characters in your Company name that did not exactly match GSA’s internal system and because it was not an exact match, GSA’s internal system registered it as a name change. We have been corresponding with one contracting officer who indicated: (more…)

SWEP- Potential GWAC Opportunity for IT Product and Service Providers

SEWPSolutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP), is a multi-award Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) for IT products and services. Products and services offered through SEWP include tablets, desktops, servers, network equipment, storage systems, security tools, software, cloud based services, video conferencing systems, IT product installation, IT training, and IT maintenance.

SEWP is run by NASA but is open for use to all Federal Agencies. Under the current SEWP, SEWP IV, there are 38 contractors both large and small Business. SEWP IV will expire in 2014 and NASA has begun discussions on their next GWAC, which is SEWP V. According to their website a draft RFP for SEWP V is set to be released on or about February 22, 2013. If you offer IT products or services we encourage you to monitor this RFP and respond.

Just as a refresher, a GWAC is: A task-order or delivery-order type contract established for government-wide use:

  • Master contract that defines the scope of work allowed and establishes pre-negotiated pricing
  • May be awarded to a few or to as many as several hundred contractors
  • Delivery/Task order competition restricted to awarded contractors
  • Once awarded, the contract closes to new companies until the contract expires—usually five to seven years later

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