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GSA seeks to phase out 8,000 ‘obsolete’ contracts

Jun. 7, 2012 - 04:10PM   |  
By STEPHEN LOSEY   |   Comments

The days of buying typewriters and trophies through the General Services Administration’s schedules are numbered.

GSA on Thursday announced a new “demand-based model” for its multiple award schedule program that it hopes will eventually phase out more than 8,000 contracts it identified as obsolete to save more than $24 million a year.

GSA said it will stop adding new contractors to those schedules as the first step toward streamlining its contracts, and after a year, it will review the schedules to see if there is demand for them. GSA plans to eliminate contract agreements that are rarely or never used.

“By stopping the proliferation of low performance contracts and cutting products or services that are no longer mission-critical to the government, GSA will reduce waste and save millions of taxpayer dollars annually,” acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a news release. “This helps us streamline the way we do business, save taxpayer dollars, and ensure the most efficient delivery of services to our customer agencies.”

GSA singled out typewriters, non-digital photographic equipment, trophies and commemorative or promotional items as examples of the kinds of outdated or unnecessary products that it is seeking to phase out.

The multiple award schedules program is meant to allow the federal government to pool its purchasing power on thousands of contracts to buy discounted products and services. But GSA said the number of companies trying to get on schedules has doubled in recent years, and the number of modifications to existing contracts has tripled, which requires significant resources to maintain. More than 50 percent of the contracts awarded in 2011 will have low or no sales, GSA said.

Besides the 8,000 obsolete contracts already targeted, GSA will also review more than 19,000 other contracts to see which industries are oversaturated, and where duplication in products and services offered “has created a crowded and confusing market.”

“When contracting officers are bogged down managing thousands of contracts with little to no sales, they can’t focus on adding innovative solutions to the schedules, improving pricing and simplifying the buying experience for our customers,” said Steve Kempf, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. “Modernizing the schedules will change that.”

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