At the end of last month, the “FAR & Beyond” blog focused on the impact of supply chain and inflation challenges on government contractors. The blog highlighted the urgent opportunity for GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program to address these challenges proactively to ensure its government customers continue to have access to best value commercial services, products, and solutions.
Yesterday, the Federal Acquisition Service’s policy office attended an expedited meeting with Coalition members on this critical economic and contract challenge. Attendees were gratified to learn about the policy and procedural streamlining measures FAS is undertaking to provide for an efficient economic price adjustments (EPAs) process that responds meaningfully to ongoing market changes. These measures will provide contracting officers with the flexibility to work with contractors to mitigate the inflationary pressures driving commercial pricing. Coalition members, along with all other MAS contractors, look forward to a swift, effective roll out of these EPA streamlining measures.
Developing a streamlined contractual framework for EPAs is a timely, positive step. Moving forward, FAS can build on this effort, identifying opportunities to streamline its processes and programs across its contracting portfolio. As it does so, there are measures that will be key to increasing value for customer agencies based on their impact on reducing costs and barriers to entry for firms seeking to do business through FAS programs. These include:
- Implementing voluntary Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) across the MAS program – TDR can reduce administrative costs for GSA and its industry partners, when it is consistent with commercial practice, while reflecting the competitive federal market for pricing.
- Eliminate generic, government-wide BPAs that are inconsistent with the Federal Acquisition Regulation – It will be more cost effective and efficient to build FAS’s cloud marketplace through MAS contract level terms and conditions rather than through duplicative, generic, government-wide BPAs.
Create and deliver in-person training on negotiations and price evaluations – Training and professional development will improve the efficiency of operations over time.
- Review all touch points with customer agencies and industry partners to identify and eliminate duplicative processes and burdensome paperwork submissions requirements – Technology and AI provide an opportunity to streamline many purely administrative functions across the procurement process.
These are just some of the steps that can be taken to reduce acquisition burdens and cycle times for all. In the current environment, procurement streamlining must be a continuous management focus because it is imperative to unlocking value in the commercial market that will support customer agency missions. The foundation for streamlining is built upon understanding the opportunities and challenges facing industry. As Administrator Carnahan noted in her address at the Coalition’s 2021 Fall Training Conference,
“For the government to be a better partner, we need to have a better understanding of the emerging challenges industry is facing in this complex global economy. Understanding your business challenges and collaborating with you on solutions is the smart thing to do, and the government needs to get better at it.”
Consistent with Administrator Carnahan’s vision, the Coalition regularly surveys our members to identify additional opportunities to streamline processes and address market conditions. Working together, GSA and its industry partners can deliver for the common good.