New Schedule contracts and modifications will
continue to be awarded under the present terms and conditions until October 1st according to
information shared this week by GSA officials with the Coalition for Government
Procurement. After October 1st, contracts
will be awarded under a new set of standardized terms and conditions. Renewals will be handled under the “old”
system until January 2020 when a mass mod will be issued to all existing Schedule
contractors. Prior to any of
this, however, GSA will issue a draft of the new terms and conditions for
comment in early June. Contractors are
strongly advised to review and comment on the proposed terms. Similarly, no mass modification should be a
“click and accept” action. Many
contractors negotiated specific terms and conditions to make their Schedule
contracts manageable. Although GSA does
not intend for those terms merely to be swept away by accepting a mass mod,
they almost certainly would be. As such,
recommend reading and taking exception with any new terms that conflict with
any you have specially negotiated.
Similarly, contractors should know that GSA will not be able to change
all of the taxonomy associated with the new contracts overnight. As such, you will have to educate your
customers on proper use of Advantage and E-Buy once new terms are
issued until such time as GSA’s internal resources can change those systems. This entire exercise is the second phase of
GSA’s Schedules consolidation initiative.
No contracts will be consolidated under this phase unless a contractor
initiates such an action. Only the terms and conditions will be
altered, though the agency may also start to transition away from Special Item
Numbers to North American Industrial Codes (NAIC’s).
Make sure you’re paying close attention to the changes coming soon to a
contract near you.
Federal agencies will increasingly be expected
to make common purchases from Best In Class (BIC) contracts per a new memo made
public last week by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While agencies may still buy from agency-wide and
localized contracts, OMB expects that agencies will increasingly implement
Spend Under Management (SUM) practices with the goal of greatly reducing
non-aligned or inefficient spending. Small business and other socio-economic
requirements must also be met, but it is clear that the net effect of this memo
will be to reduce both the acquisition vehicles and number of contractors that
currently participate in the federal market. Another key provision of the memo is that agencies
will also be expected to share prices paid on various contracting vehicles on
the Acquisition Gateway.
Contractors can expect to share the burden of providing this
information, but should also be pro-active in educating their customers on what
is likely to be the very limited utility of prices paid information. To be clear:
Prices paid information really only works with commodity or
commodity-like items. As the government
is a net buyer of services and solutions that vary considerably by agency,
requirement, timing, and other factors, posting prices paid on solutions will
likely cause confusion, provide information of little utility, and increase
acquisition cycles. Inevitably, contractors will have to explain
very legitimate differences between prices posted on the database for past buys
and prices offered on new opportunities.
This will increase contractor workload, a factor that will inevitably be
passed along to buyers. Contractors
should, in any case, be familiar with the memo.
Alert reader H. Bogart of California writes, “Our company won a government
contract for professional services several months ago. A recent task order bears little resemblance
to the original deal. Our customer and
sales team says ‘Let’s go’.
Should I be concerned.?” It’s not
uncommon for the government to ask for a solution one way and then actually buy
it sliced some other way, H, but, yes, task orders that bear little
resemblance to the other original contract could be a concern. Your need to make sure that the work performed
is within the scope of the original award and that you can provide a clear,
easy to follow crosswalk for any requested work that isn’t laid out according
to the original award documents. Too
many companies just go with the flow, only to find themselves in serious
trouble later. Non-conforming invoices
may not be paid. Over-charging may be
alleged, as may out of scope work.
Remember: the contracting officer
is the only person who can change the terms of your contract. If the crosswalk between task order and
contract isn’t clear to you, don’t proceed until it is. “We’ll always have Paris” is cold comfort if
your company finds itself fined, or even on the suspended list. Make sure your work stays within scope and
reasonably matches with the work you were originally awarded.
is time for GSA to move ahead announce a new nationally-scoped training and
The agency is not only harming its customers, but its contractors and
itself by continuing a years-long exercise of introspective naval gazing on
this issue. Nothing speaks louder than
the facts, so here are a few that should make the decision to hold such an even
an open and shut case.
Demand for Training: It’s been over 2 years since GSA
held a specialized show in Huntsville, Alabama to train DOD users on how to
properly use GSA Schedule and other contracts.
Those sessions were totally sold out, with thousands receiving the
training they needed to make sound, correct acquisition decisions. GSA has ramped up its on-line training
considerably for both government and industry.
The demand for training has likely never been higher. With the Air Force, DHS, and other agencies
scrapping their own contracts in favor of GSA-based vehicles, demand for
training will only accelerate. In-person
training creates relationships and offers better opportunities for interaction
than the most sophisticated on-line tools allow. Even in this age of technology, there is
sometimes no substitute for actually being there, especially when it comes to
greeting new customers.
a Thousand New Schedule Contract Holders: A conservative estimate is that well over
1,000 companies are new to the Schedules program since the last GSA Expo was
held. We’ve taught a lot of Schedule
training classes recently and, when asked whether they ever attended an Expo,
approximately 90% of the class did not know what that was. There are new people who need training on the
industry side, in addition to the government.
As one our recent students put it, “we don’t know what we don’t know”
Contracts, Solutions, and Technology: Those new contractors brought new solutions
with them. GSA has created dozens of new
Special Item Numbers that either offer new solutions that didn’t previously
exist or were difficult to find. Outside
the Schedules, the last time the agency held a show there was no OASIS program,
no EIS telecommunications contract, and an Alliant program that is nothing like
what it is now. Without a show, GSA’s
customers may well believe that there is nothing new to see. That’s a little like a car dealer still promoting
its 2012 line-up.
GSA leaders were reportedly considering a show for
2019, but got cold feet. The
time to launch a show for 2020 is right now. GSA Administrator Emily Murphy commands
substantial respect, even though she was buffeted by Congressional oversight
committees last week. She has a
tremendous opportunity to lead the agency forward and not let the past define
the agency’s future. Indeed, failing to
act now opens the agency to future allegations that it is not doing enough to
ensure that customers and contractors know how to effectively do business with
Despite overall uncertainty of exactly where defense money would be
allocated under the President’s FY’20 budget request released last week, Pentagon
officials did allows that their agency would receive $9.6 billion in cyber
funding – $1 billion more than this year. The money would go toward not only hardware and software, but
also toward the construction of new buildings to house DOD’s increasing cyber
infrastructure. In fact, nearly 20% of
“cyber” money would be for construction.
Beyond that, over $500 million would go to support Cyber Command headquarters with
“some” of the remaining funds to be targeted at R&D for both offensive and
defensive cyber capabilities.
While CYBERCOM will fall short of their original FY’19 goal of spending
$75 million through non-traditional procurement methods, CYBERCOM chief General
Paul Nakasone predicted that his organization will come fairly close to that
target and will continue to make expanded use of innovative acquisition
techniques such as Other Transaction Authority. General Nakasone stated that CYBERCOM needs
such flexible tools in order to meet the changing face of threats. “We invested in tools—significant
tools for how we operate with our teams”, he said. “Secondly, big data
analysis. Thirdly, an opportunity for our developers to operate offsite
at a facility to look at new networks, new capabilities, new
infrastructures.” Cyber spending
continues to soar, both in DOD and civilian agencies. Make sure your company is prepared to meet