GSA accepts Express Schedule offers

Information on Express program

The General Services Administration is acting on one of Administrator Lurita Doan’s earliest promises: awarding a basic GSA Schedule contract within 30 days.

GSA said today it will immediately accept offers under the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Express test program. The program’s primary goal is to simplify and streamline the process for awarding MAS contracts, according to “MAS Express Program Instructions to Offerors,” a GSA document with program details posted Jan. 16 on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

“It is going to take a little work and a little time, but we are going to meet our goal,” Doan told the Coalition for Government Procurement’s spring conference in McLean, Va., in June 2006. It was her fourth day as administrator.

The program will include GSA Schedule 70 products and services, and products on four other schedules, according to the GSA Web site.

The schedules program establishes long-term governmentwide indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts for products and services. The current process for awards averages 120 days, but GSA is striving to meet Doan's 30-day goal within the program’s first year, GSA said in a news release today.

GSA expects to shorten the processing period for schedule awards by expediting review and qualification checks and giving vendors quick feedback on their applications.

The express program will standardize the current process, GSA said. It will require mandatory education programs for industry, a new Schedule Program Express Evaluation Desk to handle all incoming offers and conduct the initial reviews, and a simplified set of eligibility criteria.

Eligible companies must be at least two years old with more than $100,000 in cumulative commercial sales. They must have more assets than liabilities, and they cannot have a negative past performance rating, the instruction document states.
Some GSA analysts and vendors are eyeing the program skeptically.

Scott Orbach, president of EZGSA in Bethesda, Md., said schedule offers not on the express program will be delayed. Moreover, a 500-item limit on offers will force companies to make modifications after the award, causing further snags and more work for contracting officers.

Neal Fox, former assistant commissioner for commercial acquisition at GSA and now an independent consultant, said the program mainly benefits small businesses because of that 500-item limit.

“The test will come in five weeks,” Orbach said.

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