THINK SCHEDULE CONTRACTS HAVE SEEN THEIR HAY DAY? THINK AGAIN
Commercial e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, are coming to the government market and, indeed, are already here for smaller purchases. As GSA moves forward to expand these programs, several companies have wondered out loud whether the Multiple Award Schedules program has seen its hay day. Why would federal customers use the Schedule when they can point and click? Should we keep our Schedule? Should we exit the federal market?
Forgive us if we’ve heard it all before. Whether it’s E-commerce, reverse auctions, new GWAC’s, or better pricing allegedly available on every street corner, obituaries for the MAS program have been written for years. Yet, the program still stands as the largest central procurement method, by far, with the IT Schedule outdistancing its nearest rivals by at least a margin of 2:1. No other program has the depth and breadth of Schedule contracts, with annual sales still at or above $40 billion.
There are many reasons for this. On the Schedules side, there’s continued innovation, especially in technology, that keeps industry participation high and drives customer interest. Coming rules on Other Direct Costs will make it easier to do complete service procurements through Schedule contracts. On the other side, statements at a recent GSA public meeting indicate that the government may want to proceed only with a limited e-commerce pilot program, waive few existing laws, and implement other procedures that may well make whatever platforms that are developed operate very differently from their commercial counterparts.
As Mark Twain is alleged to have once said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”. Our bet is that the MAS program will continue to operate successfully for many years to come.