Contracting

GSA streamlines acquisition for small vendors

Shutterstock image (by Mascha Tace): business contract competition, just out of reach. 

 

The General Services Administration has kicked off the second phase of its "Making it Easier" initiative with three new efforts aimed at smoothing the path for new and smaller contractors to do business through the federal government's complex procurement process.

The new effort includes Quick Start Guides for the IT Schedule 70 Roadmap, which offer guidance for prospective contractors on GSA's often-complex acquisition vehicles.

The agency also plans to release a report on the Making It easier program on Oct. 24 describing its work in 2016 and to show how it plans to move ahead with it in fiscal 2017.

Additionally, the agency announced new features for its Multiple Award Schedule Modification Improvement processes and a restructured its help desks to provide a single point of entry for new contractors. Kevin Youel Page, deputy commissioner of the agency's Federal Acquisition Service teed up the changes in a press call with reporters.

The measures are the latest step forward for the program unveiled last spring by GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth. The initiative offers shorter, more straightforward processes for small businesses and companies that are new to the federal market and federal IT buyers. The changes reflect vendor concerns that time and resources required to join a multiple-award contract effectively block small companies from participating.

GSA's FASt Lane process, part of the initiative unveiled on April 6, shortened what has been a sometimes-lengthy contract award process. The previous Schedule 70 process had been an obstacle for small companies and a turn-off for some innovative tech companies that are new to the federal market.

According to Youel Page, 108 companies have made have been processed through the process as of Oct. 20. Time-to-award for contracts is now down to an average of 31 days and contract modifications are down to two days. The FASt Lane has processed 2,260 modifications since the launch, he said.

He also noted that 44 companies had completed the, fast-track admission process for its IT Schedule 70 contract back in April.

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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