GSA wants the price it thinks contractors should give it according to their automated pricing tools, regardless of what commercial or government market reality might reflect.  The latest development on this front is GSA’s MAS Pricing Targets & Standardization Dashboard that allows contracting officers, contractors, and other interested parties to access GSA’s horizontal pricing targets via GSA Advantage listings.  The agency is taking discretion on pricing and other matters away from contracting officers and entrusting such matters to automated tools.  The feeling is that the tools will provide lower prices and be able to make accurate comparisons among products to decide which ones federal buyers see most.  The agency will continue to call out companies that offer prices deemed “too high” based on its comparison tools.

By taking people increasingly out of the loop, though, GSA is taking away discretion and the ability to recognize actual differences that a tool, no matter how well designed, will miss.  CO’s will know, too, that they invite IG or supervisory involvement if they make decisions that depart from what the tool says.  Contractors need to understand that the window for being able to have any sort of reasonable discussion on pricing for products on the GSA Schedule program is rapidly closing.  If you offer a product with any discernable quality factor you may need to reassess your participation in this brave new world.  Previous government experiences on relying on automated tools can be viewed here: The dashboard can be accessed here.