GSA works to improve Schedule 70 operations

The General Services Administration is cleaning up the operations of its $16 billion information technology schedule contract, an official said Jan. 14.

Mary Powers-King, director of governmentwide acquisition contracts and IT Schedule 70 programs at GSA, said she has created a plan called Vision 2010 to make the Schedule 70 program run smoothly and rebuild employee morale.

Powers-King and other officials involved in the project are distributing the workload for overseeing more than 5,000 contracts across the program’s employees and offices. They want contract specialists to handle about 60 contracts each rather than the more than 200 contracts that some employees were responsible for a year ago. Powers-King and others are also filling management positions that have been empty for a long time.

She said she also wants to capture more information about trends in Schedule 70 business. The program has lacked reporting tools that would give officials a clear view of the direction in which it was headed. She added that she’d like to see more interaction with agency customers and industry.

Ultimately, Powers-King said she wants to bring the prestige back to Schedule 70. In the past few years, sales have generally slipped. In fiscal 2007, agencies bought more than $16.4 billion worth of IT products and services under Schedule 70. As of July 2008, sales were close to $16 billion but 2.9 percent below projected year-to-date sales, according to GSA.

“I’m characterizing this as a new day for Schedule 70,” said Powers-King, who's been on the job for a year. “It, at one time, had somewhat of a poor reputation.” Changing that perception has been one of her priorities since she took the job.

Larry Allen, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, said the fixes are “not so much for agencies, but that’s not the point.”

“You need to walk before you can run, and this is what the agenda reflects,” he said. “It means a great deal to contractors in terms of improving timely actions. That, in turn, will drive customer use and satisfaction.”

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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