OFPP initiates 360-degree reviews of the acquisition process

Vendors now can really tell agencies how they feel about their acquisition processes and procedures.

The guidelines for Acquisition 360, a Yelp-like approach to rating the acquisition process, arrived last Wednesday from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Administrator Anne Rung. The nine-page memo details how agencies should seek customer feedback from contractors and internal stakeholders on how well the contracting process went for specific procurements.

“This effort is not intended to be used to rate individual contracting officers, program managers, or integrated project teams (IPTs), or to compare procuring offices generally, as the complexity of procurements varies greatly among agencies, and unexpected challenges can arise,” Rung wrote in the memo. “However, these tools are meant to help agencies identify strengths and weaknesses with industry partnerships so they can make internal improvements on the planning and making of contract awards.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/517/3821690/OFPP-initiates-360-degree-reviews-of-the-acquisition-process

How to unleash the full potential of GSA’s Federal Supply Schedules

President Barack Obama recently received a briefing from the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) on category management and the Common Acquisition Platform (CAP). The briefing is a very significant symbol of GSA’s important role in government management. It highlights GSA’s central role in providing procurement services and programs that support customer agency missions across the federal enterprise.

As a former GSA employee, it was great to see the White House focus on the important, unsung work GSA does day and day out on behalf of the American people.

Strategically, category management and the CAP have the potential to improve GSA’s delivery of best value commercial products, services and solutions to customer agencies. As you know, FAS has reorganized around market sectors or industry categories to better focus on market trends and customer requirements.

Category management has the potential to improve FAS’s management of its contracting programs through increased understanding of customer mission requirements and commercial market trends. The CAP has the potential to provide the federal enterprise with transparent, competitive information regarding already existing contracting programs, best procurement practices and market trends. The CAP can address contract duplication and provide federal market information that can further assist customer agencies in making sound, best value procurement decisions.

Keep reading this article at: 

GSA proposes overhaul to Multiple Award Schedules

Under a proposed General Services Administration (GSA) rule, the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) would get an overhaul to address recommendations by the 2010 Multiple Award Schedule Advisory Panel.

The proposed rule would address two key recommendations from the panel’s report – providing agencies with information on prices actually paid for goods and services as well as eliminating the price reduction clause reporting requirements for contractors.

The price reduction clause forces contractors to report if it reduces prices to commercial clients and then, in turn, give that same discount to government contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-proposes-overhaul-multiple-award-schedule/2015-03-04

With Academy’s help, Oklahoma business advisors learn GSA Schedule process

Sixteen business counselors from the Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network (OBAN) recently participated in a two-day workshop on the intricacies of the GSA Schedule process.

OBAN provides marketing and technical assistance to Oklahoma businesses interested in selling products and services to federal, state, local and tribal governments.  OBAN’s mission is to create jobs and expand the economy in Oklahoma by providing resources to Oklahoma businesses.

Sixteen Oklahoma-based business counselors benefited from instruction about the GSA Schedule process provided by consultants from The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech.

Oklahoma-based business counselors benefited from instruction about the GSA Schedule process provided by consultants from The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech.

The counselors gathered on March 3 and 4, 2015 on the campus of the Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City to receive advice about how they can guide their business clients through the proposal process to win a GSA Schedule contract.  The instruction covered prerequisites to the process, decision-making in the selection of the appropriate Schedule and Special Item Numbers, preparation of the required proposal narratives, financial requirements, negotiations, award, and contract administration.

Consultants from The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech provided templates and engaged Workshop attendees in the actual preparation of a proposal to GSA.  OBAN counselors were asked to imagine themselves as real businesses working through the process — actually preparing proposal documentation for GSA’s review.

Here’s what OBAN representatives had to say about the workshop:

  • “This was a very thorough overview of the GSA proposal process.  I valued the instructors’ knowledge of the subject material and willingness to deviate in order to address all questions.”
  • “I valued the presentation, the discussions, and the hands-on training.”
  • “Great workshop — the information, the handbook, and the templates.”
  • “I received instruction on all the steps in the preparation of a GSA proposal, including templates and writing exercises to help me understand the challenge.”
  • “I valued the discussions, practical examples, and the eOffer demonstration.”
  • The resource materials will prove to be very valuable as I counsel my clients.”
  • “I valued the in-depth conversations resulting from Q&A throughout the workshop, along with the breakdown of the full proposal process.”
  • “Valuable templates with coaching in an open Q&A format.”
  • “I received an in-depth overview of the proposal response process, along with best practices, possible roadblocks, and resources to help expedite an accurate and complete response.”
  • “This was an in-depth workshop that covered the entire GSA proposal process — I valued the knowledge of the instructors and the detail of the workbook we received.”
  • “Excellent instruction and insight from very knowledgeable people who have actually successfully submitted proposals to GSA.”

Groups interested in arranging for the GSA Schedule workshop, or other government contracting instruction, to be brought to their community may contact The Contracting Academy at Georgia Tech at 404-894-6109 or info@ContractingAcademy.gatech.edu.

GSA Schedules and DoD’s confusing FAR 8.4 deviation

On March 13, 2014, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) issued a class deviation to FAR 8.404(d). This deviation directed that ordering activity contracting officers are responsible for making a determination of fair and reasonable pricing when using GSA’s Federal Supply Schedules (FSS). The deviation essentially incorporates complex FAR 15.404-1 price analysis techniques into the streamlined FSS ordering procedures with the vague caveat that the complexity and circumstances of each acquisition should determine the level of detail of the analysis required.

In discussing the rationale for this deviation, DPAP has consistently focused on the variation in pricing across the FSS program. In particular, the example of a $29 stapler listed on an FSS contract has been cited by DPAP as creating a “significant” risk that Department of Defense (DoD) contracting officers will simply order the $29 stapler rather than search for a cheaper stapler on another FSS contract. For those of us of a certain age, the use of this example reminds one of the $600 toilet seat reportedly purchased by the DoD back in the 1980s. Like the toilet seat purchase, however, there is greater context that undercuts the stapler example cited by DPAP.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/blog/2015/02/13/gsa-advantage-dpap-far-waldron/23365305/

GSA wants to boost market share of Schedules to 33 percent of federal spending

The General Services Administration (GSA) is exploring different ways to boost its contract spending market share and enhance its Multiple Awards Schedule program, according to agency officials.

Tom Sharpe, the commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at GSA, said he wants to boost the agency’s market share of federal spending from 15 percent to 33 percent in three years.

New contract vehicles such as the OASIS contract for professional services and the move to a “category management” system of expert contract advisers will help, Sharpe said.

He said at a GSA industry forum Feb. 13, hosted by the Professional Services Council, that the agency might roll out more versions of OASIS in the future for other contract areas besides professional services.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/gsa-gwac/2015/02/13/gsa-changes-schedules/23359425/

GSA Schedule prep workshop to be held Feb. 17-18 in Seattle area

The Contracting Education Academy’s popular GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop will be conducted in the Seattle, Washington area on Feb. 17 and 18, 2015.

Georgia Tech’s hands-on workshop helps businesses prepare – in as little as two days – a proposal to obtain a GSA Schedule contract.

GSA Schedule Contract logoThe 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 during the workshop, the GSA proposal preparation process easily can be shortened to within 30 days following the workshop.

By attending this workshop, business people 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 receive expert guidance and valuable documents, including templates and sample narratives based on successful GSA Schedule offers.

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

SeattleThe Seattle GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop will be held on February 17 and 18, 2015 at Green River Community College, Kent Station Campus, Kent, WA – located just 8 miles southeast of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

To register for this one-of-a-kind Workshop, please click here.

Just one more GSA Schedule workshop before year’s end

If your business is thinking about going after a GSA Schedule contract, you have one more chance to obtain expert advice and consulting before the end of the year.

 

The last GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop for 2014 — presented by Georgia Tech’s Contracting Education Academy — will be presented on Nov. 17 and 18, 2014 on the Georgia Tech campus in midtown Atlanta.  (Click here to register or to see the 2015 scheduling for this Workshop.)

So far, 52 persons have attended Georgia Tech’s GSA Workshop since it was launched at the beginning of the year.  Folks came from 10 states to attend the Workshop, and 100% of the attendees rate the Workshop as having met or exceeded their expectations.  More importantly, every single businessperson who’s attended has either prepared their proposal or submitted it to GSA for award.

What Attendees Are Saying

Here are typical statements made by attendees:

  • “I received a vast amount of information on how to apply for a GSA Schedule contract.  I valued the one-on-one question-answering provided by the instructors.”
  • “I expected a canned presentation consisting of a lot of theoretical advice, but I received practical and specific help to understand the GSA application.  I really valued the instructor’s knowledge and communication skills.”
  • “This workshop provided excellent advice and training, walking through all the documents in detail.  I valued the relaxed environment, the ability to work at my own pace, and the ability to ask lots of questions.”
  • “I now have a complete understanding of the step-by-step process to complete my company’s proposal to the GSA.  The workbook, examples, templates, and the presentation – all very well put together.”
  • “I expected a great presentation from Georgia Tech, but was afraid of information overload.  The presenter and the presentation were fantastic …. I now have a much clearer idea of how to get on a GSA Schedule.”
  • “I received one-on-one assistance with filling-out various proposal forms and walking through the submission and upload process.  Fantastic!”
  • “I received significant information and background on what GSA reviewers and contracting officers are looking for, and I valued the forms for completing my GSA Schedule proposal and building my pricing.”

The Facts about GSA Schedules

Is your company considering going after a GSA Schedule contract?  Maybe you should consider these facts:

  • 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 a GSA Schedule contract begins with a proposal, an arduous task that often takes several months to prepare. But, now, thanks to Georgia Tech’s Workshop, a GSA proposal can be actually completed during 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.

Workshop Benefits

By attending Georgia Tech’s GSA Schedule Proposal Preparation Workshop, you will:

  • Save time and money with instructor-guided, do-it-yourself approach.
  • Avoid mistakes that can delay or stop a GSA Schedule proposal from being considered.
  • Receive expert guidance, hands-on help, and answers to all of your questions.
  • Be given access to exclusive templates and sample narratives based on successful GSA Schedule offers.
  • Receive up to 4 hours of consulting after the Workshop to review your package and receive further advice.
  • Earn 15 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

Registration Details

Remember, Nov. 17 and 18 is your next chance to attend.  Don’t miss out!  To register for the November Workshop or one in 2015, simply click here. If you have questions or need further information, please email info@ContractingAcademy.gatech.edu.

GSA Schedule Contract

Changes announced to GSA Schedules in professional services categories

The General Services Administration has announced a series of changes to its professional services Schedule offerings in order to reduce the number of contracts vendors manage and consolidate contract vehicles.

GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service removed the special item number of non-professional service from the current consolidated schedule, expect for information technology and human resources, the agency said last week.

Tiffany Hixson, professional services category executive for FAS, described the agency’s approach to contract consolidation last week ahead of this announcement (click here to read previous coverage).

GSA said it made the move to “eliminate the need to submit separate offers for professional services; firms would have the ability to submit a modification request instead – this equates to a substantial decrease in time required to add new services.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.executivegov.com/2014/09/gsa-details-professional-services-schedule-changes/

Missouri businesses and counselors receive Academy’s help in preparing GSA Schedules

June 11 and 12 were important days for a group of business people from across the state of Missouri.

Those are the dates on which The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech conducted two full days of detailed instruction on how to successfully prepare a proposal to win a GSA Schedule contract.  In all, eleven businesses learned the process, representing industry sectors as diverse as custom kitchen equipment, technology products and services, vehicle sales, truck equipment, remediation services, medical supplies, recycling, shoes, and clothing.

The businesses participating in the workshop were joined by a group of nine business counselors from the states of Missouri, Illinois and Ohio.  The counselors represented procurement technical assistance centers (PTACs) from each of those states.  PTACs provide assistance to businesses seeking advice on how to compete for and win government contracts.

Missouri businesses joined PTAC counselors from three states to learn the intricacies of the GSA Schedule process.

Missouri businesses joined PTAC counselors from three states to learn the intricacies of the GSA Schedule process.

The process to be awarded a GSA Schedule contract begins with a proposal, an arduous task that typically takes several months to prepare. But, 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.

Here’s what participants had to say about the Academy’s recent workshop in St. Louis:

  • “I valued the complete fashion in which the course was presented as well as the great materials provided.”
  • “I received a wealth of knowledge from a team of experts that have real-world experience.”
  • “It was helpful that you shared documents in advance of the workshop.  I appreciate the templates and samples.”
  • “I got information in 5 minutes that I have been researching for months!”
  • “I valued everything — the professionalism of the instructors, the learning environment, and especially the course materials.”
  • “The instructor took time with each classmate.”
  • “The commercial sales practices information that I received is very valuable as well as the sample commercial price list and the proposal price list template.”
  • “The one-in-one instruction and help from the instructors was invaluable.”
  • “This training is a far better value than more costly workshops on GSA Schedules.”
  • “I received information on marketing to agencies and how to find contracting officers.”
  • “You made the process seem simple.”
  • “The one-on-one help was great — fantastic teaching, clear answers!  I valued the patience of the instructional staff and their friendly and helpful demeanor.” 
  • “I now have a manual/workbook to refer to.”
  • “I got more than I expected, including how the GSA Schedule is beneficial and how to get where we want to go.”
  • “I received information about the process as well as examples and templates, and I value the examples, templates and individual instruction.”
  • “The presentation was straightforward and calm — it reduced my anxiety about a process that is complex!”
  • “I valued the one-on-one assistance and the down-time to actually complete the forms.”
  • “I received a lot of how-to’s, what not to do, forms to use, where to find my competition, pricing how-to’s, etc.”
  • “Everything about the workshop was valuable — the professionalism of the instructors, the learning environment, and especially the course materials.”
  • “Exceptional workshop!  Well worth the money!”

The June 11 and 12 workshop was held on St. Louis University’s Florissant Valley campus, and was hosted by the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.  Future GSA Schedule Workshops are scheduled for:

  • July 28-29 – Georgia Tech’s Atlanta campus
  • Sept. 8-9 – Georgia Tech’s Atlanta campus
  • Nov. 17-18 – Georgia Tech’s Atlanta campus

To register for any of the upcoming workshops, please click here.  To make arrangements for a GSA Schedule Workshop to be held in your community, please email: info@contractingacademy.gatech.edu.

By attending Georgia Tech’s GSA Schedule Workshop, participants:

  • Save time and money with our 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, a detailed guidebook, 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 Workshop to review your package and receive further advice.
  • Earn 15 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

GSA Schedule Contract