Procurement

GSA ponders adding IT to office supply initiative

room of computers

The General Services Administration is considering adding IT equipment to the upcoming set of new rules under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative for Office Supplies.

In FSSI Office Supply 2 rules, basic office supply items such as pens, paper, toner cartridges, staples and the like are considered in-scope, said the GSA on its OS2 blog. For the upcoming OS3 rules, the agency has asked industry if it should expand the scope to include "plug-in" IT transactional purchases such as printers, monitors, keyboards and other hardware. The agency wants feedback on the idea from industry on the idea.

FSSI OS2 has saved GSA $97 million, according to a GSA spokesperson in an email to FCW. For OS3, GSA "will have a robust dialogue with industry, conduct engagement outreach with agencies across the federal community, and work closely with the Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council on our strategy," the spokesperson said.  

The agency's next FSSI OS3 industry day is slated for Aug. 6 in New York.

GSA's exploration in IT plug-ins could have implications for IT products beyond toner and printers, said Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners. Typically, he said, all FSSI contracts have been Blanket Purchase Agreements based on GSA Multiple Award Schedule contracts. Schedule contracts, he said, offered products from proven suppliers more quickly than stand-alone contracts. In considering OS3's scope, he said, GSA may be moving away from Schedules-based buying to separate commercial item procurements under FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) Part 12.

The agency's shift toward separate item procurement under FAR, he said, could signal a possible expansion in the scope of future FSSI contracts to include some IT products, including laptop computers, which are increasingly viewed as a commodity.

Allen said GSA might be looking to open up FSSI agreements to new companies, including manufacturers that could sell direct rather than through resellers.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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