The General Services Administration's plan to streamline acquisition is about to find its second gear.
The agency debuted the second phase of its Making It Easier (MIE) initiative on Oct. 24, further advancing its goal of attracting new companies into acquisition while trying to make it easier for current vendors to navigate the procurement process.
"We set a goal to ensure that our agency provides opportunities for suppliers across the board, including small businesses, young businesses and businesses not familiar with working with the government," Kevin Youel Page, deputy commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, said in a call with reporters.
The second phase will introduce more features designed to ease onboarding for the acquisition process and will be found on the Acquisition Gateway.
To expand its IT Schedule 70 Roadmap, GSA plans on adding quick-start guides to inform potential contractors about the acquisition process. The agency will also launch its Multiple Award Schedule modification improvement process, which aims to build off of feedback from a recent survey of 200 industry partners.
The GSA help desk will also now be reachable through a single point of entry, housed on Acquisition Gateway.
The new features will support aspects of MIE introduced during its first phase in April. The initial rollout included the FASt Lane, IT Schedule 70 Startup Springboard, the IT Schedule 70 Plain Language Roadmap, the Multiple Award Schedules Welcome Package and a GSA forecasting tool.
Since unveiling the first phase of MIE, GSA said that 195 companies received training on the Startup Springboard — which helps young and innovative companies get on IT Schedule 70. Of those companies, five have submitted offers, with one receiving an award.
FASt Lane has awarded contracts to 108 companies so far, officials said, with the awarding period averaging about 31 days. Existing contract modifications take about two days, and Page said MIE’s success would come from its reputation in the field.
"It’s very, very important for us to feel as though we are being responsive to our industry partners, responsive to our agency partners," he said. "We’ve heard loud and clear from both sides that this program could serve them better by being flexible, by being easier to use, easier to navigate and in Making It Easier. We’ll be judged on the way we are perceived in creating the more efficient marketplace of the future."
GSA also released its report, "Making It Easier to do Business with the Government," on Oct. 24, summarizing accomplishments in fiscal 2016 for the program and targets for next year.