Acquisition

GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock) 

The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication and overlap, the agency announced Nov. 27.

Administrator Emily Murphy said the current stable of 24 Multiple Award Schedules will become a single list by the end of 2020.

Some of the agency's most popular acquisition resources, including IT Schedule 70, are MAS contracts.

MAS vendors offering more than 10 million commercial supplies and services to federal, state, and local agencies. GSA said those entities spend about $31 billion dollars through the schedules every year.

The consolidation "is long overdue," Murphy said in a Nov. 27 call with reporters. The single schedule will rationalize a web of buying schedules for federal customers, who are increasingly looking for solutions which draw on multiple schedules.

For example, the single schedule would let customers package both services and products without having to sort through separate professional services or IT schedules.

De-duplicating efforts across the 24 schedules, with common contracting language and terms also frees up GSA's contracting workers to focus on other areas, Murphy said.

The harmonization process will take about 24 months, according to Alan Thomas, GSA's Federal Acquisition Service commissioner. The single  entry point will also save vendors from the burden of managing contracts on multiple schedules.

In the coming fiscal year, GSA will work to develop and release the framework for the common schedule, according to Stephanie Shutt, director of GSA's MAS Program Management Office.

The MAS modernization is part of the agency's Federal Marketplace strategy to streamline and simplify government purchasing. The effort, said Thomas, is aligned and bolstered by other agency programs, such as the commercial buying platform initiative, to make buying products and services from GSA as easy as it is for an online shopper to buy from Amazon.com.

GSA attempted similar consolidations in the 1990s and in 2000s. This time around, according to Shutt, policy and modern technology have aligned to make the effort much more efficient than back then. In those earlier efforts, print contracts were the medium and consolidating all that paper was cumbersome. The agency talked to employees who worked on earlier consolidation attempts to inform its current program, she said. It also learned from its efforts to consolidate its professional services schedule a few years ago, she said.

For contractors, "it's business as usual" for the time being, Thomas said. He advised the thousands of contractors to keep up regular activity with maintaining and augmenting their presence on the schedules.

GSA plans an industry day at its Washington headquarters on Dec. 12 that will provide more details on the MAS consolidation, as well as its Federal Marketplace strategy.

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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