Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Tom Sharpe’s goal is to increase FAS’s share of the federal procurement market. At the heart of this effort is ensuring FAS provides sound, effective and efficient solutions to meet customer needs. As market share is an objective measure of success as compared to competing contracting programs, FAS’s contracting processes and administrative procedures must be best in class in terms of streamlining, competition and access to the commercial marketplace. Streamlining the policies and procedures governing the award and administration of the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program provides the central opportunity for FAS to deliver best value to customer agencies and increase market share.
The Coalition also fundamentally supports FAS’s IT GWACs and OASIS as part of a portfolio of contracting vehicles (along with the MAS program) delivering best value solutions to customer agencies. Indeed, last year the Coalition established its GWAC, MAC and Enterprise Contracting Committee to focus on the IT GWACs and MACs across government—with an emphasis on reducing unnecessary contract duplication. Our recent comments to Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy regarding DoD’s policies and procedures governing interagency contracting reflect the Coalition’s support for these programs and the need to reduce contract duplication.
At the same time the central role of the MAS program within GSA and FAS cannot be denied! At current levels, without any additional growth, the MAS program (GSA at $40 billion a year and VA at $10 billion a year) will account for half a trillion dollars in procurement spend over a 10 year period. As such, FAS has a strategic opportunity (imperative!!) to enhance competition, deliver best value and increase government innovation by streamlining access to the commercial marketplace through the MAS program. It is time to update the pricing policies to reflect changes in the commercial marketplace and the statutory and regulatory requirements for competition at the task order level. It is time to increase investments in its e-systems to facilitate transparency and competition at the order level. It is time to embrace a robust, dynamic MAS program that leverages access to the commercial marketplace. A vibrate, dynamic MAS program, complemented by the IT GWACs and OASIS will significantly reduce costly contract duplication, deliver best value solutions and save customer agencies taxpayer dollars.
One low-hanging opportunity to enhance competition, increase innovation and efficiency is streamlining the MAS modification process. Too often we hear reports of contractor proposed price reductions for items on their Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts are being delayed by weeks and even months due to the cumbersome contract modification process. This costs customer agencies and taxpayers. There are many areas where the modification process can be improved. For example, there are many administrative changes that are accomplished through modifications (e.g. address, fax and telephone number changes) that currently require review and approval by contracting officers. These administrative changes take time away from more substantive work. Here FAS has an opportunity to reform/eliminate the review process for purely administrative changes thereby saving time and money for all.
Over the years there have been periodic efforts to streamline the modification process—at one point during the last decade the FAS goal was process MAS modifications within 24 hours. It is a laudable goal worth setting and achieving for customer agencies, contractors and the American taxpayer! The Coalition will be engaging in a Myth-buster discussion with GSA policy to address Commissioner Tom Sharpe’s vision to find ways for GSA FAS to be “better tomorrow”!