FAS Commissioner Tom Sharpe promoted a new acquisition portal in a recent blog post. (Mike Morones/Staff)
The General Services Administration is developing a new way for agencies to purchase goods and services by combining data and expertise into a common platform.
Thomas Sharpe, the commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at GSA, said in an April 9 blog post that the agency is developing a “Common Acquisition Platform” that will help guide agencies to the services and products they need — saving money in the process.
Here’s how it works:
The agency official seeking goods or services will enter the common acquisition platform through a digital portal and choose the type of service or product needed.
The portal will then guide the purchaser through a “virtual hallway” containing a wide array of information on the chosen products or services, such as subject matter expertise or data on prices paid by other agencies.
It will also have a eCommerce transaction platform where agencies can complete simple purchases, according to GSA.
Its all part of GSA’s new push into “category management” that mimics the buying strategies of major companies by providing greater expertise to agencies and guide them through the procurement process, according to Sharpe.
Sharpe said there are more than 500 departments across agencies engaging in their own purchasing, which can be an inefficient.
“Our current, fragmented acquisition landscape leads to many agencies duplicating efforts and establishing redundant acquisition programs. These redundancies are driving up our collective operating costs and needlessly wasting valuable taxpayer dollars,” Sharpe wrote.
GSA will also provide deep-dive market analysis and address issues with supply chain management while working with agencies to save money where it can by reducing demand.
The Federal Acquisition Service will identify core categories where agencies need help and develop greater expertise in those fields. Once GSA implements category management it will be able to streamline government purchases of IT, professional services or travel-related products.
“By streamlining and simplifying the federal acquisition process through category management and CAP’s expert decision support, GSA will help the government be more efficient while gathering the spending data we need to make smarter buying choices,” Sharpe said.