GSA to change corporate schedule program

The General Services Administration is changing a little-used program that allows vendors to combine offerings from multiple GSA schedule contracts into single deals.

GSA officials want more vendors to use the program, which will let agencies combine multiple purchases into faster, less expensive single transactions. For example, a company that sells computers through GSA's schedule 70 and consulting services through the Management, Organization and Business Improvement Services (MOBIS) contract could draw from both contracts to offer a package deal to agencies, said Neal Fox, assistant commissioner of GSA's Federal Supply Service.

The program, originally called the Corporate Schedule, was instituted in the late 1990s but has never been widely used, Fox told an audience at the Coalition for Government Procurement's Fall Conference in Arlington, Va., today.

"The corporate schedule is a good concept that has not lived up to expectations," he said.

Fox suggested several possible reasons that the program has not found wider acceptance. For one thing, the program's original name did not reflect what it is, he said. Large companies often offer their products and services out of different divisions that don't coordinate well enough to combine them, said Fox, who has changed the program's name to Consolidated Products and Services Schedules.

"The middle tier businesses will benefit most," he said.

GSA will train contracting officers specifically how to use the program, he said.

E-Mods

Fox also gave the audience an update on E-Mods, a system for companies to modify their contracts electronically. The agency is working on rules that will eliminate about 80 percent of mandatory modifications, he added. For instance, vendors who want to offer the latest upgrade of a product already have listed on their schedule contract must file for a modification. The new rules will eliminate such requirements, he said

The electronic system will speed the process for modifications that are still necessary, he said. He predicted GSA's information technology division will start using it first, sometime next year.

"That's where we see a lot of mods coming through," he said.

SmartBuy

Fox also touched on SmartBuy, the enterprise licensing program that the Office of Management and Budget initiated in June with promises that some enterprisewide licenses would be in place by the end of September. To date, no such contracts have been signed, Fox said.

Karen Evans, who recently took over as administrator of OMB's Office of E-Government and IT from Mark Foreman, is reworking the approach to SmartBuy, Fox said.. Evans earlier promised to deliver an action plan to get the program moving by next month.

"We've put in a lot of planning," Fox said. "We want to do this right. You're seeing us take a thoughtful approach, under some pressure."

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