This week, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it will be consolidating its 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into a single Schedule for best value commercial solutions. This significant milestone is just the latest step in GSA’s efforts to enhance the MAS program. Indeed, the announcement adds to the many positive developments that we have seen from GSA this year, including the Commercial Supplier Agreements (CSA) and Order Level Materials (OLMs) final rules. As many of you know, the Coalition has been a strong advocate for the single Schedule concept, which will help to reduce costs for both government and industry stakeholders, as well as increase competition and customer access to best value solutions.
The single Schedule concept is a game changer! Currently, the structure of the Schedules program, which features 24 separate Schedules and corresponding contract scopes, limits flexibility, and hampers the ability of the program to deliver best value solutions consistent with the commercial market. These separate contract scopes create artificial barriers and stove-pipes that prohibit MAS customers and contractors from obtaining and providing comprehensive solutions to support mission requirements.
The “consolidated” Schedule approach is another great step forward for the MAS program, and GSA should be commended for pursuing this effort. Through this approach, the MAS program will be viewed as a single, flexible channel to the commercial market. At the same time, there continue to be opportunities to further streamline and enhance the MAS program to increase task order competition, access to commercial innovation, and delivery of best value solutions to customer agencies.
Strong, central contract management will be critical to the success of the single Schedule concept. In addition, the Federal Acquisition Service’s (FAS) customer- and contractor- facing systems will need to deliver transaction information more efficiently than they do now because the single schedule concept and modernization of systems are the proverbial two sides of the same coin. They are so interrelated that each depends on the other for their success. Further, as part of its consolidation effort, GSA will have to address duplicative Special Item Numbers (SINs) and line item numbers, which represent barriers to entry into the market for small businesses and innovative solutions.
As GSA continues to focus on improving the MAS program with the implementation of the consolidated Schedule, including addressing duplicative systems and SINs, the agency should leverage the lessons learned and best practices identified previously during its 2015 Professional Services Schedules (PSS) consolidation effort. Moving forward, the Coalition supports GSA’s efforts to seek industry, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders on this timely, strategic effort.