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Thoughts on the Office Supply 3 (OS3) FSSI Procurement

The latest developments under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) include a move away from the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program.  The Office Supply 3 (OS3) FSSI procurement would establish a new set of indefinite quantity-indefinite delivery (IDIQ) contracts for office supply companies.  The new IDIQ contracts, although separate from the MAS program, would essentially duplicate pre-existing MAS contracts for office supplies.  It is contract duplication that will increase costs for companies and create confusion in the federal marketplace.  The costs and confusion associated with this duplication will negatively impact customer agencies and contractors, especially small business contractors. On December 9, the Coalition submitted comments on the OS3 solicitation to GSA.  The comment can be found here.

Our comments reflect significant and legitimate questions and concerns regarding the acquisition/logistic strategies for OS3.  We look forward to discussion with GSA on these matters.  At its core, the current government-wide, one size fits all strategic sourcing approach misses the “full services” mark.  It does not recognize the importance of clear, consistent and firm customer requirements.  In essence, the closer the procurement is to the requirements holder the more likely the resulting contract will provide a best value outcome for customer and the contractors of all sizes.  That is why the Coalition has endorsed the use of agency specific Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) that leverage agency requirements to deliver best value outcomes.  Agency specific BPAs provide a more effective, efficient and competitive alternative to the generic government-wide BPAs now being put in place through FSSI.  It will also ensure a long term, vibrant supply chain for the federal government—a supply chain that continues to include companies across all socio-economic categories.

It is time for a “time out” review of the current strategic sourcing strategy.  As part of the time out, GSA should release all studies, reports and/or analysis regarding savings, calculations for these savings, as well as the costs associated with the current FSSI.  Such a release would be consistent with the Administration’s laudable focus on transparency in government.  The release of this information should be the first step towards a fulsome, thoughtful and engaging strategic sourcing dialogue among all stakeholders.  The Coalition looks forward to continuing the dialogue on strategic sourcing informed by the release and review of all FSSI studies, reports and analysis.

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