Noting that the government is moving into an era of increased transparency and real-time pricing information, GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini stated last week that “everything should be on the table” when discussing the future of the Multiple Award Schedules program. Tangherlini also questioned the role of the Schedules when agencies can have information on other government procurement programs at the touch of a button.


Tangherlini, who’s primary expertise is in real estate, an area in which he spends most of his time, may not be fully aware of all that the Federal Acquisition Service does, including programs like GSA Advantage or E-Buy. While Advantage needs a makeover, it was one of the first digital marketplaces in government. Should Tangherlini choose to direct some of his 18F innovation firepower at Advantage, it could again become the government’s leading digital marketplace.


While it is true that government buyers have multiple choices for purchasing IT solutions, there aren’t abundant, if any, choices outside of that segment where federal buyers can easily make purchases for common items. BPA’s, frequently cited by some as alternatives to Schedules, are, in fact, Schedules-based and not stand-alone contracts.   Even in the IT sector, it would take approximately 5 Alliant programs to equal the sales made through the IT Schedule.

None of this even begins to touch the robust small business success of the Schedules program, where fully 30% or more of all dollars go directly to small business contract holders. More money flows to small business dealers and subs. One would think that GSA has already caused itself enough small business aggravation in Congress with its nascent FSSI attempts.


Companies and federal buyers that rely on the Schedules program need to make sure that message gets to Mr. Tangherlini. Even though he’s a numbers guy, the $30-38 billion that goes through the Schedules each year doesn’t seem to register. The fact that customers and contractors use the program more often than any other Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract should.