GSA ponders adding IT to office supply initiative
- By Mark Rockwell
- Jul 30, 2013
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.
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.