GSA to Replace the Schedules Input Program
Previously known as the Common Catalog Platform (CCP), GSA has recently started rolling out its new FAS Catalog Platform (FCP) to a select few GSA Schedule Contractors. GSA contractors who hold the Office Supplies 4th Generation (OS4) Special Item Number (SIN) were invited to participate in the FCP pilot and will run to the end of the fiscal year. GSA contacted contractors in June 2023 with a survey to complete and has provided further instruction to help prepare for the upcoming transition from SIP/EDI to FCP sometime in Fiscal Year 2024.
GSAAdvantage! and the Schedules Input Program
GSA Schedule Contracts are unique contracts that contain a curated list of pre-negotiated products and services that are available for purchase by Federal Agency customers. Contracts that contain products have the benefit of being loaded into GSA’s premier eCommerce platform, GSAAdvantage!. Federal agencies can browse these discounted products and add to their online shopping cart in an Amazon-esque fashion albeit while abiding by current-day regulation. Upon purchase, the contractor receives and retrieves the order by using a dedicated platform also provided by GSA.
Contractors must use the Schedules Input Program (SIP) to upload their offerings to GSAAdvantage! after every award that calls for updates to both GSA eLibrary and GSAAdvantage!. Upon opening SIP, you will instantly be reminded of the way things looked and operated back in the days of Windows 98.
Home Page, SIP version 8.8b
Even with a recent facelift that claims to improve the program’s look and stability, SIP still suffers from a myriad of other different operating issues and errors. Even the most experienced user will almost always run into an error that requires further inspection, and in some cases, will result in a call to the GSA Vendor Support Center for technical support.
New users are challenged with a high learning curve when using the SIP program for the first time, and experienced users often come equipped with a list of “band-aid” fixes to get past SIP’s most common errors.
What is the FAS Catalog Platform?
The FCP is GSA’s latest attempt to replace SIP with a new catalog platform designed to not only streamline the catalog upload process, but also includes enhancements and tools that help support the acquisition process. GSA released a statement about FCP’s capabilities in a recent Interact post as follows:
- Replaces the outdated Schedule Input Program (SIP) with a modern application.
- Interacts with eMod to integrate the contract and catalog management workflows.
- Uses a new Product File, which consolidates and combines the current Products Price Proposal Template (PPT) fields with the fields required for selling items on GSAAdvantage!.
- Automatically provide a Compliance & Pricing report for Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) items during the vendor submission process to streamline negotiations.
As mentioned before, GSA’s previous attempt to streamline the SIP upload process failed to yield the desired results. What we are seeing now is the revival of those past attempts in hopes that GSA can provide a platform that not only removes the SIP upload process, but also looks to incorporate other acquisition tools.
The FCP in Action – See the Demo for Yourself
See the GSA YouTube FCP Demo Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjkb4FTvgJY
Seeing the platform in action lets us know that FCP is much closer to being released to all GSA contractors. The visual facelift within the web-based GUI is evident, multiple actions and features are nicely integrated within the platform, the tool allows the contractor to use GSA’s automated market analysis tools, and very pleased to see the rest of the above bullet points coming to fruition. GSA has also stated that current participants in the FCP pilot are yielding excellent results, one step closer to releasing this new tool to the rest of the Multiple Award Schedule community.
When Will FCP be Available and How to Prepare
GSA tentatively plans to release the FCP to all other GSA contractors sometime in Fiscal Year 2024 and has made suggestions to help prepare for the switch from SIP to FCP.
GSA has stated that only the contract’s Authorized Negotiators will have access to the FCP. Furthermore, Authorized Negotiators must also register for an FAS ID to access the FCP Platform. Contractors must submit an Administrative Modification to the Contracting Officer if the Authorized Negotiators on contract need to be revised.
It is also suggested to submit a full catalog replacement file in SIP if an upload hasn’t been submitted since October 2022. Doing so will allow GSA to move your contract data to its Authoritative Catalog Repository, a new system that significantly improves processing time.
In June 2023, GSA contractors received a survey to complete regarding the SIP to FCP transition. Contractors who complete the survey let GSA know a few things about the current state of the contract and what type of offerings the contract holds (products and/or services). Contractors who have not completed the FAS Catalog Platform User Transition Form may do so here.
Still Using SIP and Need Help?
After most modifications, GSA Schedule contract holders must still use SIP to send their approved offerings to GSA for eLibrary and GSAAdvantage publishing. We’re still here to help! Coley GCS continues to publish catalogs into GSAAdvantage using today’s proven methods of processing and is actively helping our clients with the FCP transition.
Coley has over 20 years’ experience helping thousands of companies obtain and maintain their GSA Schedule. Let us know if you have any questions regarding the FAS Catalog Platform transition process. Contact us today at email@example.com, by phone at 210-402-6766 or schedule a time that is convenient for you.
Julio is a Senior Consultant with Coley GCS, LLC, a Government Contracts Consulting, Coaching and Training company. Julio has over 10 years’ experience helping companies succeed with their GSA schedules.