GSA TESTING NEW ACQUISITION METHODS
GSA officials announced, or added details to, a series of steps they intend to take to streamline acquisition, improve transparency and bring new companies into the government marketplace this week. Taken together, these initiatives indicate the agency’s intent to stay at the forefront of innovative acquisition. First, GSA is asking Congress for the ability to pilot test non-priced service schedules. The idea is that contract-level labor hours are only somewhat relatable to the prices customers pay for blended service solutions. Pricing, rather, is unique to each circumstance. Next, the agency is testing Commercial Services Opening (CSO) assisted acquisitions. Such acquisitions would be done outside of FAR rules, are intended for commercial solutions, and would be based on discussions GSA had with a customer agency. One intent of this project is to attract new companies to the market. In addition, GSA has plans to place post-award summaries of its own E-Buy purchases in FedBizOps. The idea is to give smaller businesses a look at the type of work that goes through E-Buy, what Statements of Work look like, and, by extension, improve the ability of smaller firms to compete for future business. Lastly, the agency plans to increase discussions with contractors on acquisitions in the pipeline, but on which no RFP or RFQ has been released. GSA hopes to answer questions and provide insights into the RFP/Q response process to improve the quantity and quality of contractor proposals. Whether or not any of these initiatives get beyond the pilot stage, GSA is undeniably open to trying new things. If you have an idea, you may have an audience.