For many vendors the time a new or updated product takes to get to market is crucial to their success — and sometimes, there survivability. Some contractors receive quarterly changes and additions from their suppliers, but GSA may take 1-3 months for approval; creating difficulty for small business to generate sales and for GSA to review accurate comparisons. Why can it be so difficult and take so long?
There are many factors that can cause processing delays at GSA. These may include:
- Increased demand for services: The recent inflation in prices generated extra demand for GSA to process price increase modifications. This sudden increase in demand for their services has resulted in delays in processing times as the agency adjusted and worked to keep up with the volume of requests.
- Staffing shortages: Some divisions of GSA are facing staffing shortages and say they are underfunded, this can lead to delays in processing times as remaining staff members work to cover the workload.
- Technical issues: Technical issues, such as system failures or network outages, can also cause processing delays.
- Lack of or outdated resources: The GSA may experience delays in processing times if they do not have adequate resources, such as budget or personnel, to handle the demands placed on them.
- Complex processes: GSA may also experience delays if the processes and procedures involved in providing their services are complex and time-consuming.
How is GSA Improving & Increasing Resources?
GSA has stated the reasons for some processing delays are due to resources at the time being underfunded and a lack of contract support. To correct this, GSA is planning a surge in contract support and improve resources, such as:
- Upgrading their Price Point Plus Portal (4P) pricing tool. Although this report is a combination of different data, it will now include Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) and commercial pricing information from large, big box retailers. This plan is to capture a mixture from sources across the market, rather than only comparing GSAAdvantage and Fedmall.
- 4P Pre-Modification Review. GSA is running a pilot program with the office supply SIN that provides a report to vendors wishing to modify their contract. Vendors will receive a 4P report and have a chance to modify their contract before submitting the request.
- Improving Part number identification. GSA is also focusing on having the exact Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) part number and descriptions available to compare during modification review.
- Consolidation of products. Perhaps the most controversial is that GSA is looking to consolidate bloated catalogs. If a vendor has 100,000 items but they have only sold 15,000 of those in the last year or two, GSA may suggest removing the other 85,000. More below
- Product Catalog SIP Replacement. Once awarded, the system will use the submitted Price Proposal template to create a file to be automatically uploaded to GSAAdvantage and eLibrary. More below.
System improvements take time and may create headaches, but the path forward should create efficiency if you understand the systems. Coley advisors support clients on GSA Schedule with price updates and modifications utilizing these systems daily to get successful awards as quickly as possible.
What GSAAdvantage Catalog Review & Adjustments can Contractors Expect?
Updated Solicitation: Although the solicitation is worded in a way so that the contractor is encouraged to provide a full and broad array of product offerings in a single contract, GSA plans to revise the solicitation so that items with little to no sales history are not listed and all parties involved will have a more efficient way of managing items. Starting with vendors in the Office Supplies category, GSA will review and analyze these types of items with the intent to reduce the number of items listed. It is GSA’s intent for larger catalogs to become smaller, and smaller catalogs will have more options provided to them for better product management.
As a GSA Schedule consultant, our recent experience with modification award delays can occur whenever large data are being edited or added. This includes clarifications from the 4P report that requires additional actions from GSA’s analysis. Based on GSA’s comments, lack of support and resources attribute to delays processing the mods in a timely manner. This is why it’s important to always have your data as accurate as possible when submitting modifications and have additional documentation readily available to send if clarifications occur.
A New Catalog Information Platform: The Common Catalog Platform (CCP), will be rolling out later this year, and will work to reduce the amount of information needed to provide for modifications. This platform will communicate with eMod whenever contractors need to submit a modification. Additionally, once the mod is awarded, the items will automatically be published to GSAAdvantage without a need to upload via SIP.
For over 20 years Coley GCS has provided companies with full range of services that helps accelerate government contracting success, including GSA Schedule acquisition, contract management and compliance, training, coaching and much more. Reach out to Coley by phone at 210.402.6766, by email at email@example.com or schedule a call at a time convenient for you and accelerate your journey to contracting success.
Roman, a GSA Schedule consultant, provides support to contract holders working tirelessly to keep clients up to date and compliant.