GSA: Schedule 70 business looking flat
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Jan 17, 2008
Business on the General Services Administration’s information technology schedule contracts appears to be staying flat, an agency official said Thursday.
Schedule business has seen little or no growth in recent years and, based on sales numbers for first-quarter fiscal 2008, that trend is likely to continue, said Mary Powers-King, director of IT Schedules programs at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.
The multiple-award schedule contracts brought in $16.9 billion in fiscal 2007, Powers said. She was speaking on a panel at a breakfast hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s Bethesda, Md., chapter.
GSA's schedule business has caught some bad press in recent months. GSA’s inspector general and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) pressured GSA and Sun Microsystems for what the company considered too much information regarding its pricing and the GSA contract. Sun ultimately pulled out of the contract. Soon after, two other contract-holders, Canon USA and EMC, left their contracts behind too.
Powers-King said she’s talking with the IG and holding monthly meetings. She said GSA must “make sure industry understands what it means when the IG comes knocking.”
Powers-King, who’s been director for two months, said the schedule also needs to be revamped and modernized to match today’s marketplace. She’s made that one of her priorities.
"Things change," she said.
She pointed out several problem areas. The solicitation process is not as short as it could be, nor as easy to use, and the agency must make sure that pricing and fees keep in line with the costs of other governmentwide contracts. She also said she plans to look at speeding up the contract modification other drawn-out processes.
GSA needs to get creative in finding ways to modernize the Schedule, she said, and "fresh customer perspective" will help. She might put together some working groups to look at these issues. She also wants to talk with companies to get their insight from the frontlines.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.