GSA EXPECTS TO RELEASE DRAFT COMMERCIAL E-COMMERCE RFP BY END OF JUNE
A coordinated, centralized program through which federal agencies buy from commercial e-marketplace providers is moving closer to reality. The General Services Administration announced this week that they expect to have a draft RFP issued by the end of June and still hope to have awards made to start an actual pilot by the end of the calendar year. While the agency intends the pilot to focus on office supplies and industrial products, agency representatives admitted at last week’s Coalition conference that there were no plans to block other items that may come up during a search for those in the pilot project. This seems similar to the catalog approach the agency has had for its office supply schedule and OS4 contracts, where core items are identified, but entire catalogs may be offered. Supply chain security and ensuring that federal buyers actually purchase authentic goods are also key agency concerns, as is a proposed increase in the Micro Purchase Threshold to $25,000 for pilot transactions. GSA officials acknowledged industry concerns that the e-commerce pilot places Schedule product contractors on an unequal footing since different terms and conditions apply to each type of buy. They insist, though, that e-commerce transactions will be complementary to GSA Schedule buys and will largely replace open market purchases that are now made via commercial e-commerce sites. Stay tuned.