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The Federal Procurement Market: Eighteen Issues for Active Engagement in 2018.

Welcome to 2018!  The Coalition for Government Procurement (the Coalition) thanks our members for their strong support throughout 2017!  Likewise, we appreciate the active engagement with the Coalition by many acquisition professionals from across the procurement community during 2017.  Everyone’s efforts here helped our association to provide meaningful, actionable solutions for the government to enhance service to the citizens.

As we turn to 2018, we find the year promises again to be one of continuing, active engagement on a host of procurement opportunities, issues, and challenges.  In no particular priority order, the Coalition offers its “18 for 18,” specifically, Eighteen Issues that will impact the Federal Market in the coming year:

  1. The future of e-commerce. Collectively, the implementation of Section 846, the evolution of FEDMALL, and the vision for GSAADVANTAGE will have a profound, long-term impact on the Federal Market.  All will have implications for how the government leverages commercial practices appropriately and to the maximum extent practicable.
  2. The future of Blockchain. Blockchain technology has the potential to streamline administrative contracting processes and enhance security. This year, GSA will be launching a Blockchain pilot via Schedule 70.
  3. The role of GSA. The Property Act’s statutory role for GSA in managing an “economical and efficient” procurement system provides guidance towards a flexible, shared services model, rather than a centralized, process-centric approach.
  4. The role of “Best in Class” (BIC) contracts. As the Government moves forward, it needs to reflect on how are BIC contracts will be defined and mandated without directly engaging the government’s industry partners on the costs, criteria, and competitive market impact.
  5. Status of ODCs, aka Order Level Materials (OLMs), GSAR rule. ODCs/OLMs will enhance the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program by increasing its capability in meeting customer agency needs.  It remains to be seen whether this long-awaited streamlining initiative will be allowed to increase competition, savings, and innovation for customer agencies using the MAS program.
  6. Status of the Commercial Supplier Agreement (CSA) Deviation fix. Eyes will be focused on whether GSA’s proposed fix to the CSA Deviation will provide the opportunity to bring the deviation back in line with the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994.
  7. The future of Schedule 75. GSA’s reopening of Schedule 75 and its creation of an enhanced SIN structure seeks to reshape the market by incorporating strategic sourcing features, processes, and increased fees at the Schedule contract level.
  8. The future of Category Management. With the need for qualitative solutions, we see Category Management evolving over the course of 2018, with emphasis on an “outcomes driven” approach, rather than an internal, centralized, process-driven approach.
  9. The role of clinical input in VA medical/surgical procurement. The stage has been set for a clinically lead program office to support VA medical/surgical procurement operations.  Interested parties are anxious to see what are the next steps for the VA?
  10. The future of the Medical/Surgical Prime Vendor (MSPV) program. As the critical procurement priority, the VA and its industry partners need to work together to stabilize and grow the current MSPV program.  Streamlining and leveraging the VA Multiple Award Schedule program is critical to this effort.
  11. Defense Health Agency and the VA. As the two agencies work together, it will be interesting to see what additional opportunities exist for shared services that deliver best value healthcare for the warfighter and veterans.
  12. Reform of the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. With the commencement of Section 846 implementation, we anticipate a growing desire for fundamental reform of the MAS program.
  13. The IT Modernization: Plan versus reality. As modernization efforts get underway, the focus will include the appropriate balance between centralization of requirements and flexibility in meeting agency mission requirements.
  14. The DoD Cloud Acquisition Strategy. Are we destined for a market of one?
  15. The OFPP Administrator. Who will it be in 2018?
  16. Streamlining and Government reorganization. The public comment is in, and the agency submissions to OMB have been made. More to come in 2018.
  17. Cyber in procurement. Successful IT modernization demands that Cyber must be approached as an integrated, operational element when developing and addressing agency IT needs.
  18. Buy American and the Trade Agreements Act. Efforts to strengthen domestic preferences are ongoing and will grow in 2018.  With these efforts, we see ever-increasing focus on the nexus between cyber and domestic preferences.

Throughout the year, the Coalition will be following these issues, as well as those that inevitably will arise, and it will be engaging with stakeholders across the procurement community.  In particular, the Coalition looks forward to working with OMB, GSA, and DoD on the cross-cutting issues impacting governmentwide contracting.  We also look forward to continuing to work with the VA to deliver best value healthcare products and services for our Veterans.

We welcome 2018 with the optimism we embrace at the beginning of every new year because we believe that through positive, open engagement and dialogue that we can collectively push the procurement system towards common sense, commercial best practices and procurement policies that deliver best value for customer agencies and the American people.

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