Scam targets GSA schedule holders using spoofed federal email addresses

The General Services Administration’s schedules program has been victimized by spear phishing attacks costing vendors more than $1.5 million, and law enforcement officials say, is increasing.

GSA alerted Schedule 70 and 75 vendors Wednesday that since July 2012 the FBI, the Environmental Protection Agency and GSA inspectors general have been investigating a series of fraudulent orders placed online to GSA vendors from criminals posing as federal contracting officials, according to an email to Schedule-70 and 75 vendors, which Federal News Radio obtained.

The hackers ordered HP printer toner cartridges using official federal employee email credentials but fake phone telephone numbers and stolen credit cards.

Law enforcement officials now say scammers are targeting orders for laptop computers, though it’s unclear if these two cases are related. But GSA said “there are some significant similarities and we’re following up on investigative leads to make further determinations.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/490/3595717/Scam-targets-GSA-schedule-holders-using-spoofed-federal-email-addresses 

GSA Schedule Preparation Workshop to be held June 11 & 12 in St. Louis

The Contracting Education Academy’s popular GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop will be conducted in St. Louis, Missouri on June 11 and 12, 2014.

The Georgia Tech workshop helps businesses complete – in as little as two days – a proposal to obtain a GSA Schedule contract.

The federal General Services Administration (GSA) awards about $50 billion in blanket contracts known as “Schedules” to hundreds of companies each year. Eighty percent (80%) of Schedule contractors are small businesses who are successful at 36% of those sales. The process to win one of these contracts begins with a proposal, an arduous task that typically takes several months to prepare.

Now, thanks to Georgia Tech’s workshop, a GSA proposal can be actually completed at the workshop. If a business is not prepared to submit all the documentation at the time of the workshop, the GSA proposal preparation process easily can be shortened to within 30 days following the workshop.

By attending the workshop, business people will save time and money with an instructor-guided, do-It-yourself approach as well as avoid mistakes that typically delay or stop GSA Schedule proposals from being considered. Attendees will receive expert guidance and valuable instructional documents, including templates and sample narratives based on successful GSA Schedule offers. Fifteen (15) Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits are also granted to each person successfully completing the workshop.

The GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop is conducted by experienced government contracting professionals who have helped many businesses successfully land GSA Schedule contracts. Real world business scenarios are presented during this instructional session, tackling all the difficult and confusing aspects of the proposal process.

As an added bonus, The Academy provides workshop attendees with four hours of time with instructional personnel – after the workshop – to answer any remaining questions, review proposal packages, and provide follow-on consulting.

The St. Louis GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop will be held on the Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College, located in north St. Louis County. The workshop is being hosted by the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.

To register for this one-of-a-kind Workshop, please click here or visit: http://tinyurl.com/kv2by74.

“Nothing missing” from the Academy’s GSA Schedule proposal workshop

The reviews are in!   Participants in the GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop unanimously agree that the workshop exceeded their expectations.

On January 13 and 14, 2014, The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech (The Academy) hosted its first workshop devoted to helping businesses put together a GSA Schedule proposal package.  The hands-on instruction enables participants to actually complete their proposals during the two-day workshop.

Here’s a sampling of what participants have to say:

  • “I received what I came for – a completed GSA Schedule.”
  • “I received assistance with a GSA proposal submission that includes instructor-led training, sample documents, templates, and one-on-one assistance.”
  • “I got enough guidance and information … to complete my GSA application.”
  • “The class was very good; there was nothing missing.”
  • “I valued the small group and close one-on-one interaction with the instructors.”
  • “Excellent course!  Great job!”

The next opportunity to attend this unique workshop is May 19 and 20, 2014.  The workshop is scheduled to be conducted in Atlanta, Georgia on Georgia Tech’s midtown campus.  Registration details for the next workshop can be found here.

Real world business scenarios are presented during this instructional workshop, tackling all the difficult and confusing aspects of the proposal process.  The Academy’s affordable course is designed to reduce the typical proposal preparation time frame.  Our workshop is conducted by experienced government contracting professionals who have helped many business people successfully land GSA Schedule contracts.

The Academy’s GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop provides your business with the ability to complete your Schedule in as little as two days, depending on how readily available your proposal documentation is.  Even if you are just starting your proposal, our GSA schedule workshop can shorten the preparation process to as little as 30 days.

Plus, as an added bonus, The Academy provides workshop attendees with four hours of time with our instructional personnel – after the workshop – to answer any remaining questions, review your proposal package, and provide follow-on consulting.

More details, including the course outline, can be found here.  Registration details are here.

New GSA sourcing plan to include businesses without Multiple Award Schedule

The General Services Administration plans to change the way it sources office supplies by including businesses that don’t have a GSA Multiple Award Schedule onto its strategic sourcing vehicle, among other planned changes, a Dec. 2 GSA statement says.

The FSSI program works by negotiating lower rates from suppliers through bulk purchases.

The updated office supply sourcing plan – named OS3 – will be a full-and-open solicitation, open to all office supply businesses, regardless of whether they have a GSA Multiple Award Schedule.

Among other changes, OS3 will increase the number of awards reserved for small business and add purchasing channel options for agencies.

GSA expects the updated plan to provide savings of $90 million in annual savings through lower office supply prices.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/new-gsa-sourcing-plan-include-businesses-without-multiple-award-schedule/2013-12-03 

New workshop makes GSA Schedule proposal possible in as little as two days

The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech (The Academy) is proud to present an advanced workshop designed to help businesses seeking a GSA Schedule contract.  The Academy’s two-day workshop provides all the necessary hands-on instruction to help any businesses seeking a Schedule to prepare a complete proposal to GSA.

The next opportunity to attend this unique workshop is May 19 & 20, 2014.  The workshop is scheduled to be conducted in Atlanta, Georgia on Georgia Tech’s midtown campus.  Registration details on the March workshop can be found here.

GSA Schedule Contract

Real world business scenarios are presented during this instructional workshop, tackling all the difficult and confusing aspects of the proposal process.  The Academy’s affordable course is designed to reduce the typical proposal preparation time frame.  Our workshop is conducted by experienced government contracting professionals who have helped many business people successfully land GSA Schedule contracts.

The Academy’s GSA Schedule Preparation Workshop provides your business with the ability to complete your Schedule in as little as 2 days, depending on how readily available your proposal documentation is.  Even if you are just starting your proposal, our GSA schedule workshop can shorten the preparation and submittal process to as little as 30 days.

Plus, as an added bonus, The Academy provides workshop attendees with four hours of time with our instructional personnel – after the workshop – to answer any remaining questions, review your proposal package, and provide follow-on consulting.

If your business has been thinking about going after a GSA Schedule contract, this is the workshop you have been waiting for!

Three Reasons Why You Should Attend:

1. Knowledge.  Understanding all of the aspects of the GSA Schedule proposal process can be a daunting task.  There are over 40 different GSA Schedules, each containing numerous subcategories called Special Item Numbers (SINs) – and all having unique proposal and contract requirements.  The Academy’s GSA Schedule Preparation Workshop reduces the learning curve associated with responding to all the details in a GSA solicitation document.  Participants in our Schedule workshop gain a solid technical understanding of each specific step in the GSA Schedule proposal preparation process, enabling you to complete your proposal faster and more efficiently.  Workshop attendees don’t have to spend countless hours researching requirements or spending time on the phone with GSA representatives.

2.  TimeIf you are a do-it-yourselfer, the time you’ll take to prepare a GSA Schedule proposal will likely take you between 9 and 12 months.   The Academy’s GSA Schedule Preparation Workshop shortens the time to submit, allowing you to have your proposal ready in as little as 2 days (for companies that have already begun the process) or within 30 days (for companies new to the process).  Our GSA Schedule Preparation Workshop provides you with the information, templates, knowledge, and the follow-up consultation services you need to finalize and submit your Schedule proposal to GSA.

3.  Value.  The cost of hiring a consulting firm to assist with your GSA Schedule proposal easily can range between $8,000 and $20,000 – or more.   Many businesses understand the value of a GSA Schedule consultant, but simply do not have the budget.   Other businesses understand that there is value in controlling their Schedule proposal as the first step in establishing and managing their relationship with GSA.   Priced at just $1,995, The Academy’s GSA Schedule Preparation Workshop provides the perfect alternative for any business that wants to save money and keep control of the process.   If your company is considering the proposal process on its own, our GSA Schedule Preparation Workshop, for a fraction of the cost, provides all of the instruction, templates, and coaching that most businesses need.  As an added bonus, each person who completes this workshop receives 15 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits, plus a certificate of completion from Georgia Tech.

Summary of Benefits:                                                

  • Save time and money with The Academy’s instructor-guided, do-It-yourself approach.
  • Avoid mistakes that can delay or stop your GSA Schedule proposal from being considered.
  • Receive expert guidance, valuable instruction, and answers to all of your questions.
  • Gain access to templates and sample narratives based on successful GSA Schedule offers.
  • Receive up to 4 hours of consulting after the GSA Proposal Preparation Workshop to review your package and receive further advice.
  • 15 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

Workshop Outline:

Part I – GSA Schedule Fundamentals – Getting Started

  • DUNS Number
  • SAM, Representations and Certifications
  • Digital Certificate
  • Past Performance Evaluation References – (Open Ratings)
  • GSA Schedule and SIN(s) Selection
  • Navigating through GSA Checklists
  • GSA’s Pathway to Success

Part II – GSA Schedule Proposal – Services/Products Offered

  • Corporate Experience
  • Project Experience and Resumes
  • Pricing Information
  • Commercial Sales Practices – (CSP-1)
  • Discounting Policy
  • Authorized Dealer Information and Letters of Supply
  • Labor Category Matrix
  • Catalogs
  • Organization Structure
  • Production Points

Part III – GSA Schedule Proposal – Required Documentation

  • Descriptive Narrative and Literature
  • Marketing Plan
  • Quality Assurance Plan
  • Professional Employee Compensation Plan
  • Subcontracting Plan
  • Financial Statements
  • Sales Forecasts / Previous 12 Months’ Sales
  • EPA Mechanism
  • Exceptions to Reps and Certs – FAR 52.212-3
  • Training Courses

Part IV – GSA Schedule – Contract Administration

  • The SIP Program
  • GSA Advantage!
  • Industrial Funding Fee
  • Contract Management and Maintenance

 

For registration details on the next workshop, please click here.  (For additional information, including on-site group pricing, please contact us at 404-662-2331 or send an email to gsa@contractingacademy.gatech.edu.)

Schedule sales continue to slide

When Tom Sharpe oversaw procurement policy at the Treasury Department, his agency used the General Services Administration supply schedules about as much as most other departments across government do — which, if you ask top GSA officials, isn’t nearly enough.

Last year, about 12 percent of federal procurement dollars that could have gone through GSA actually did. Now, GSA officials say they’re expecting to hit 17 percent by the end of the year. What’s more, they’ve made it clear they’re aiming to hit the 90 percent mark within a decade.

In the face of such lofty goals, GSA schedule sales dipped in 2012 for the second year in a row — 2.9 percent from 2011 and a total 3.5 percent from 2010, according to data compiled for Federal Times by market research firm Deltek.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20130731/DEPARTMENTS/307310004/Schedule-sales-continue-slide

‘Behavioral issues’ behind agency aversion to GSA

Federal agencies should utilize the General Services Administration more when  procuring commercial items, urged Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tom  Sharpe.

“Agencies should not be solving their own office supply problems,” Sharpe  said at a July 18 Association for Federal Information Resources Management  event.

In 2012, FAS was responsible for 12.3 percent of the federal market share of  commercial procurement; Sharpe says that number should reach 17 percent before  the end of 2013.

When Sharpe left the Internal Revenue Service to work at GSA in January he  said he thought it was an “acknowledged principle” that the federal government should have a centralized buyer, but he quickly found out that it is not.

“There are too many procurement stops and too much duplication,” he said,  repeatedly.

Not using GSA as a centralizing procurement source is a “behavioral issue,”  Sharpe said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/sharpe-behavioral-issues-behind-agency-aversion-gsa/2013-07-18

Interagency acquisition and GWACs explained, related resources identified

A government-wide acquisition contract (GWAC) is one form of interagency acquisition – the process by which one agency uses the contracts and/or contracting services of other agencies to obtain supplies and services.

Interagency acquisitions typically involve two government agencies: the requesting agency, which is the agency with the requirement, and the servicing agency which provides acquisition support, administers contracts for other agencies’ direct use, or both.   In some cases, more than one servicing agency may be involved in an assisted acquisition.

Requesting agencies benefit from the capabilities or expertise of the servicing agency and the efficiencies and economies associated with leveraging resources and requirements. Servicing agencies benefit from the improved pricing and terms and conditions they can negotiate when consolidating, in a justified manner, other agencies’ needs with their own and among requesting agencies.

Interagency acquisitions are commonly conducted through indefinite delivery vehicles (IDVs), such as task and delivery order contracts. The structure of these vehicles is well-suited to the efficiencies and economies that agencies seek through interagency acquisitions. IDVs permit the issuance of orders for the performance of tasks or the delivery of supplies against prepositioned contracts and agreements during the term of the vehicle. The IDVs used most frequently to support interagency acquisitions are multiple award schedules (MAS), government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs), and multi-agency contracts (MACs).

Types of Interagency Acquisitions

There are two types of interagency acquisitions: direct acquisitions and assisted acquisitions.

  1. In a direct acquisition, the requesting agency places an order directly against the servicing agency’s IDV.   The servicing agency manages the IDV but does not participate in the placement of an order.
  2. In an assisted acquisition, the servicing agency and requesting agency enter into an interagency agreement pursuant to which the servicing agency performs acquisition activities on the requesting agency’s behalf, such as awarding a contract, task order, or delivery order.  In many assisted acquisitions, the servicing agency also manages the IDV against which orders are placed. For example, the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service will typically place orders against a MAS contract or a GWAC on behalf of its requesting agencies.  Sometimes, a servicing agency may find that another agency’s IDV can better serve the requesting agency’s needs, in which case two servicing agencies would be involved in the interagency acquisition.

Legal Authority

A variety of laws authorize interagency acquisitions. The Economy Act, 31 U.S.C. 1535, provides general authority to undertake interagency acquisitions that is available to agencies when more specific statutory authority does not exist.

An increasing number of interagency acquisitions are falling outside the Economy Act because many of interagency contract vehicles that are widely used today, such as the MAS and GWACs, are not governed by the Economy Act.  Instead, these vehicles are governed by more specific statutory authority.  For example, the MAS is governed by Title III of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 251, et seq.) and Title 40 U.S.C. 501, Services for Executive Agencies. GWACs are authorized by section 5112(e) of the Clinger-Cohen Act (40 U.S.C. 11302(e)).

As a general matter, laws and regulations give agencies the discretion to determine whether to use an interagency acquisition.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) says direct acquisitions from GSA’s GWACs are “in the best interest of the government” in its June 2008 memo, Guidance for Improving the Management and Use of Interagency Acquisitions.  OMB designated GSA as the Executive Agent for GSA-issued GWACs under the Clinger-Cohen Act.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) also asks agencies to look to interagency contracts like GWACs first for efficiencies and cost savings in its September 2011 memo, Development, Review and Approval of Business Cases for Certain Interagency and Agency-Specific Acquisitions.

The Department of Defense issued a memo on July 14, 2011 encouraging the use of 8(a) STARS II, Alliant Small Business, and VETS to meet DoD’s small business contracting and information technology needs. Read the July 14, 2011 memo.

The Department of Navy issued a memo on April 23, 2012 emphasizing the mandatory use of the GSA Alliant/Alliant Small Business for the acquisition of IT development and support services. Read the April 23, 2012 memo.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense issued a memo on August 16, 2012, stating that the Department of Defense acquisition community is to maximize the use of all available authorities to acquire products and services from small businesses. Read the August 16, 2012 memo.

Using an Indefinite Delivery Vehicle

Before placing an order directly against another agency’s IDV, the requesting agency’s contracting officer, or other official designated in accordance with agency procedure, should ensure that an interagency acquisition is in the best interest of the government, taking into account factors such as:

  • Suitability – whether the IDV that would be used can satisfy the agency’s schedule, performance, and delivery requirements, including any statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements.
  • Value – whether the IDV’s pricing, including vehicle access fees (sometimes referred to as an “industrial funding fee”), is fair and reasonable and comparable to what the agency is likely to secure by creating its own contract, and structured to allow the agency to obtain the best value for its needs.
  • Expertise – whether the agency’s contracting office personnel have the appropriate experience and training to properly place an order on a timely basis, take advantage of beneficial features, such as discounts, and effectively administer the order.

GSA GWACs

GWACs were put in place by the General Services Administration to enable federal agencies to buy cost-effective and innovative solutions for information technology (IT) requirements.

GWACs provide access to IT solutions such as systems design, software engineering, information assurance, and enterprise architecture solutions. Small business set-aside GWACs also provide socioeconomic credit.

GWAC benefits

GSA promotes the use of GWACs by promoting a number of potential benefits, including:

  • Premier IT service providers – Access to exceptionally qualified IT service providers enabling innovative solutions at competitive prices.
  • Worldwide IT solutions – GSA GWACs can be used to develop IT solutions anywhere in the world.
  • Access to ancillary support – GWACs facilitate a total integrated solution on a single task order by providing access to ancillary support, such as products and services that are integral and necessary to an IT effort.
  • Savings in time and money through streamlined contracting – GWACs are pre-competed contracts offering a full range of contract types (all types of fixed-price, cost-reimbursement, labor-hour, and time-and-materials) making procurement planning easier.  GWAC task orders can be issued in considerably less time than conventional open market procurements.
  • Scope compatibility reviews – At no cost to the agency, GSA promises to determine whether an agency’s requirement is within scope of a GWAC within two to five business days.
  • Support from Assisted Acquisition Services – GSA’s Assisted Acquisition Services can provide optional contracting, project management, and financial management expertise and support.

GWAC Resources

The Interagency Contract Directory (ICD) is a central repository of Indefinite Delivery Vehicles (IDV) awarded by federal agencies. The ICD assists in strategic sourcing and identifying existing contract vehicles (including those awarded to small businesses).

The “GWAC Dashboard” is located at: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/103435.  This is an interactive tool that allows GWAC stakeholders to view and segment GWAC information to make better business decisions.  Users have the ability to explore GWAC data by contract family, federal agency, and industry partner as well as build customized reports for download.

 

Tighter budgets mean bigger role for GSA

Dan Tangherlini wants more of your business — a lot more.

Installed by the White House a year ago as acting administrator of the General Services Administration to fix the scandal-rocked agency, Tangherlini ushered in a flurry of reforms to dial back conference spending, employee bonuses and accountability lapses at GSA.

Now, his focus is fixed on overhauling the way federal agencies buy goods and services. His aim is to redirect considerably more federal procurement spending through GSA contracts.

“Frankly, the system we have now, the way we structure ourselves now, the way we invest in certain things now, is not sustainable,” Tangherlini said in an hour-long interview with Federal Times editors and reporters. He said agencies will need to find ways to cut costs as much as possible without sacrificing their missions.

Last year, only about 12 percent of federal procurement spending that could have gone to GSA actually did, according to the agency. Tangherlini said his hope is that, within 10 years, the agency can get that figure closer to 90 percent.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20130519/DEPARTMENTS07/305190006/Tangherlini-Tighter-budgets-mean-bigger-role-GSA

FAS management pressured officers to award contracts

The Federal Acquisition Service overrode its contracting officers and  pressured them to extend or award schedules contracts based on complaints from  contractors, a June 4 General Services Administration office of inspector  general report  (.pdf) says.

FAS management allowed contractors to circumvent contracting officers when  the contractors disagreed with contracting staff determinations and supported  the contractors’ positions, including by reassigning contracts to different  contracting officers, the report says.

In each reassignment case, the new contracting officer awarded or extended  contracts without properly addressing significant issues identified by previous  contracting officers, the report says. The result, auditors add, is that GSA  signed or extended schedules contracts with inflated pricing or unfavorable  terms.

The report focuses on three large information technology schedule contracts  that represented over $900 million in contract sales in calendar year 2011–a  Oracle services contract that garnered $358.4 million worth of business,  Carahsoft Technology with $432 million worth of sales, and a Deloitte Consulting  contract worth $119.5 million that year.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/fas-management-pressured-officers-award-contracts-based/2013-06-04