Acquisition

As GSA consolidates buying schedules, special item numbers are due for cuts

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The language in the unified schedule contract the General Services Administration is closing in on by the end of fiscal 2019 won't hold any surprises for federal contract holders,  the top manager of agency's multiple awards schedule program said.

"We've been working to look through all of the terms and conditions" in every active contract and eliminating duplications, Stephanie Shutt, director of the Multiple Award Schedule Program Management Office at GSA, said at a Professional Services Council acquisition conference on June 13.

GSA released a request for information on June 7 looking for input on the terms and conditions in the unified schedule. The agency anticipates having a new unified schedule out by Oct. 1.

Shutt assured contractors that no new terms and conditions would be added to the consolidated schedule.

"There won't be any surprises," she said. "You're not going to see anything new. No new terms and conditions. We can delete obsolete terms and conditions, though," she said. "Do we need 11 versions of the academic price adjustment? We need to get to one."

The next stage of the schedule consolidation, said Shutt, is winnowing down the special item numbers (SINs) used to identify specific sets of products on the schedules. SINs have proliferated on the schedules in the last few years as the agency sought easier paths for agencies to buy specific items.

The RFI for the unified schedule's terms and conditions didn't address SIN consolidation because it would have added complexity, Shutt said. However, GSA is set to issue an RFI on the new SIN structure by the end of June, she said. The comment period will run for two-and-a-half weeks.

"We asked the acquisition centers to review their special item numbers" for duplications and opportunities for consolidation. "If it's 'scientific equipment,' maybe we don't need a number for every type of equipment. Maybe we just need 'laboratory equipment.'"

The new SIN structure numbers, said Shutt, will resemble the [North American Industry Classification System] codes GSA uses. "That's on purpose. The reason being if there's a one-to-one ratio where one NAICS code equals one SIN, that SIN will be that NAICS code. You won't have to learn two numbers," she said.

There will also be fewer SINs under the consolidation. The new schedule will reduce the number of SINs from 900 to 300, she said.

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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