Procurement

GSA getting out of the warehouse business

empty DC warehouse

Warehouses like this (now-vacant) one in southeast D.C. will no longer be part of GSA's distribution services, according to Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tom Sharpe.

The General Services Administration's closing of the warehouse centers it has used to distribute supplies to government agencies won't affect IT goods or services, agency officials say, but the move does further illuminate the agency's more nimble approach to acquisition.

In a Jan. 30 blog post on the GSA website, Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Tom Sharpe said the move is another step forward for his agency's new vision for acquisition under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI). The idea is for GSA's vendors to directly support customers, simplifying the acquisition process and saving as much as half a billion dollars over the next five years.

Sharpe said FAS is transitioning out of the warehouse business and will no longer buy, ship or store office supplies, tools and other common-use retail items. The agency will continue to accept customer orders, but will rely on its commercial partners to ship directly to customers and retail stores.

IT commodities and gear were never stocked by those distribution centers and GSA officials said Sharp's post does not apply specifically to IT "at this point."

FAS's wholesale supply business used warehouse distribution centers serving U.S. customers as well as customers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and around the Pacific Rim. GSA also managed several retail stores around the world that stocked inventory from those warehouses. Sharpe called the old model "costly, cumbersome and no longer the most efficient or effective approach to supporting our federal partners."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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