BEYOND CONSOLIDATION: THREE THINGS GSA IS DOING TO KEEP THE SCHEDULES PROGRAM MOVING
While GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule team is still in the final phase of merging contracts into one vehicle, the agency’s work on the Schedules program doesn’t stop there. Here are three things that GSA is doing now to ensure that Schedule contracts remain a viable, low barrier to market entry contract vehicle.
1. Publication of the GSA Schedules Roadmap: This set of guidance provides clear, easy to follow steps for companies considering obtaining a Schedule contract. It lets companies know what will be required of them and what the benefits are of taking the GSA Schedule journey. “De-mystifying” the Schedules process has been a priority for the agency’s leadership and the Roadmap is one part of that process.
2. Expanding the Startup Springboard option across the program: Startup Springboard allows companies with less than two years of experience to apply for a Schedule contract. Started with the IT Schedule several years ago, it is now open to any business that offers a product or service inside the scope of Schedule offerings. Companies are encouraged to show the experience of key people in working with government customers in other capacities, sub-contract experience or other information which shows their capabilities and business readiness. GSA leadership wants to encourage more small, new market entries to participate in the Schedules program and Startup Springboard is one key way the agency can meet that objective.
3. Expanding the use of the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) schedules option. We will freely admit to being skeptics about the TDR program when it was first rolled out and we still recommend that companies using this option to obtain a Schedule contract use precise, clear wording. That said, TDR has shown to be a popular way through which both current and new contractors can obtain a Schedule contract, or even expand the services and solutions they offer through the program. TDR allows a company to bypass the traditional Commercial Sales Practice disclosures requiring detailed discount and pricing information. Instead, TDR uses market research and, typically, a smaller amount of company-provided data that contracting officers use to determine the price reasonableness of offered solutions. Significantly, TDR eliminates the Most Favored Customer trigger of the Price Reductions Clause. These three steps are designed to make Schedule contracts easier to manage and obtain. Combined with GSA’s extensive contractor training, the agency is making significant strides to ensure that companies can obtain a Schedule contract and actually sell through it.