One of the key goals of Category Management is to reduce unnecessary contract duplication.  In this respect, Category Management builds on former OFPP Administrator Dan Gordon’s September 29, 2011 memorandum establishing a development, review and approval process for business cases associated with certain interagency and agency specific acquisitions.  The September 2011 memorandum was a positive first step towards addressing the proliferation of contracts for the same or similar services and products—one that the Coalition strongly supported.  The Coalition demonstrated this support through a survey of our members regarding the costs associated with contract duplication which the Coalition shared across the federal procurement community.

OFPP Administrator Anne Rung’s December 4, 2014 memorandum, “Transforming the Marketplace: Simplifying Federal Procurement to Improve Performance, Drive Innovation and Increase Savings” makes a strong statement regarding the impact of unnecessary contract duplication on customer agencies, contractors and the American people.  It cites unnecessary contract duplication as imposing “significant costs on contractors and agencies,” noting that “[c]ontractors must absorb increased proposal preparation costs and administrative expenses which disproportionately affects small businesses, and agencies cannot take advantage of potential savings, or leverage their acquisition workforce to support more complex, higher-risk requirements.”  With regard to OFPP’s 2011 business case review process, the 2014 memorandum announced that OFPP and OMB would review and update the business case guidance for new inter- and intraagency contract vehicles, as necessary. The Coalition believes that the time is right for the review and update of the business case guidance.

The new Category Management Centers of Excellence and Category Managers can also play a pivotal role in reducing contract duplication.  Today, they are highlighting already existing government-wide contract vehicles available to Federal customers through the Acquisition Gateway.  They can also identify key best practices, flexibilities and contract structures to enhance and improve existing contract programs and provide improved service to customer agencies.

For example, GSA’s Alliant 2 solicitation could include pricing flexibilities and functional capabilities to enhance the delivery of cloud services to customer agencies.  Moreover, IT Schedule 70’s solicitation could be amended and current contracts modified to take advantage of the latest commercial best practices for cloud pricing and functionality.  The adjustments to these two key contract vehicles to enhance and leverage commercial best practices for cloud could be driven through the IT Category Center of Excellence.  These two GSA contract vehicles, along with NASA SEWP and CIO-CS, CIO-SP3, and CIO-SP3 Small Business, can provide a robust set of cloud services thereby leveraging government requirements and reducing unnecessary contract duplication.

Finally, GSA’s Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program (also referred to as the Multiple Award Schedule program) is a great accelerator for the goals of Category Management!  Transforming the FSS program through updated pricing policies and ordering procedures, streamlined contract structures, and reduced government unique requirements will drive access to commercial innovation, solutions and competition across all 10 categories.  Customer agencies win, contractors win, and most importantly the American people win.  The Coalition looks forward to working with GSA and OMB on such an effort.  Next week more on the unique opportunities available via the FSS program.