Expert: GSA is implementing 2 major initiatives important to contractors
As the federal fiscal year 2016 approaches the finish line on Sept. 30, the federal General Services Administration (GSA) is making some changes. GSA is the agency that provides centralized procurement for federal government agencies. GSA provides billions of dollars worth of products, services, and facilities that federal agencies need to serve the public.
Government marketing expert Michelle L Hermelee, CSCM, discusses two of the GSA initiatives, and what they mean for federal contractors. Hermelee is president & founder of BH Sky Associates, a consulting firm that assists government contractors. The GSA initiatives are: Transactional Data Reporting and Formatted Product Tool. Below are Hermelee’s views.
The purpose of Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) is to capture transactional data on procurements across all GSA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts. The TDR rule requires vendors to electronically report the price the federal government pays for an item or service purchased through a GSA acquisition vehicle.
GSA points out that TDR will reduce the burden on vendors by eliminating the Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) and Price Reduction Clause (PRC) tracking requirements. GSA has tentatively scheduled a TDR solicitation refresh and mass modification for the fourth quarter of FY2016 for GSA Schedules 72, 58 I, 51V, and 03 FAC. Other Schedules will be addressed in the following fiscal year.
The purpose of the Formatted Product Tool (FPT) is to address the differing standard part numbers for identical items, eliminate the Schedule Input Program (SIP) and increase transparency around schedule contract pricing. FPT will provide contractors with valuable information in regards to where their product is positioned in the marketplace. The tool will also provide contracting officers with data intelligence to use in price evaluations and negotiations. FPT is a system upgrade within the existing GSA eOffer/eMod system, and will replace SIP and CORS processes. Using FPT will improve speed to market on GSA Advantage! It also will allow federal agencies to easily compare items using standard part numbers.
The FPT system applies to products only. Acceptance of modification will require an initial one-time “rebaselining” of price list data to ensure GSA has all currently awarded products on GSA Advantage!, using the template provided in GSA eOffer/eMod. Rollout of the initiative began mid-July 2016 in roughly two-week intervals starting with Schedules 72 and 58 I and followed by Schedules 75, 73, 51V, and 70.
What are takeaways for contractors?
GSA is introducing TDR and FPT requirements in a phased approach as noted above with pilot programs on select products and services beginning in July 2016. Acceptance of the TDR and FTP mass modifications are optional, but strongly encouraged. FPT and TDR will be mandatory for all new offers submitted under pilot schedules. Vendors are responsible for determining if FPT and TDR initiatives apply to their contract and when they apply.
BH Sky suggests that contractors and prospective contractors participate in upcoming hosted webinars on GSA Interact. Through the webinars, contractors can learn more on how these end-of-year initiatives will affect their GSA contract.
Contractors are advised to carefully review the clauses and requirements of the solicitation refresh and mass modification. They should discuss any questions or concerns with their Contract Officer before acceptance.
BH Sky helps its clients find the right contracts to bid on. The firm assists clients successfully obtain contracts to sell their products/services to the government – federal, state, county, and local, as well as to public school districts, universities, hospitals, and even casinos.
The company’s services include GSA and VA Schedule contract administration, including contract modification, GSA proposal preparation, bid notification, and market intelligence. BH Sky has a staff of procurement experts who can help clients write winning proposals.
The firm identifies, secures, negotiates, manages, markets and oversees small- and medium-size businesses do business with federal, state and local government agencies. The company has over fourteen years of successful experience in the government-contracting field.