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GSA to pare back supply schedules, grow strategic sourcing

Oct. 25, 2012 - 02:30PM   |  
By SARAH CHACKO   |   Comments

The General Services Administration may consolidate its 31 Federal Supply Schedules into eight, a top agency official said Wednesday.

GSA has floated the idea to industry groups and customer agencies of reorganizing the supply schedules program to make it easier for government buyers to navigate, Jeff Koses, GSA’s director of acquisition operations, said at a conference of the Coalition for Government Procurement.

“In some ways, schedules have become more complex to navigate than they were 10 to 20 years ago,” Koses said.

Reducing the number of schedules and grouping them into “families” could make it easier for agencies to find offered products and services, he said.

GSA announced earlier this year that it will use a “demand-based model” to phase out more than 8,000 contracts it identified as obsolete.

GSA has pointed to typewriters, non-digital photographic equipment, trophies and commemorative or promotional items as examples of the outdated or unnecessary products that it plans to phase out. The reduction is expected to save GSA more than $24 million a year.

GSA will first stop adding new contractors to the schedules. After a year, it will review the schedules to see if there is demand for them.

The Coalition for Government Procurement, which represents vendors in the supply schedules program, says the move will scrap contracts useful to agencies. Ultimately, the plan could diminish the value of the schedules, industry officials say.

The products that GSA is cutting, such as typewriters, may be offered on other federal contracts, said Mary Davie, acting commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. But GSA is trying to redefine what its role is in government procurement, she said.

“Is [GSA’s role] to make everything available to everyone?” she said at the conference. “It’s just getting really expensive to do that. And it also makes it hard on us to manage those things effectively and then provide the expertise that our customers are now starting to demand from us.”

GSA has been especially focused on its governmentwide strategic sourcing efforts. GSA receives commitments from various agencies that they will funnel purchases for certain products and services, like office supplies, printers and delivery services, through one contract with a select group of vendors. GSA then uses those purchasing commitments to negotiate better discounts on the contract.

GSA has four strategic sourcing contracts in place and plans to roll out 10 new ones between 2013 and 2015, Davie said.

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