August is around the corner. It is the time we start thinking about the end of summer and the return (thankfully) of school. In many ways summer is already over. Next week my boys start football practice for the season (Ankle biters and 95 pound divisions) and in less than two weeks my daughter starts marching band practice at James Madison High School. Funny how time flies—it seems like just yesterday my daughter was a toddler and I was bringing her into work to be spoiled by my GSA colleagues.

Time is flying in the procurement world as well. We are entering the last two months of the fiscal year, a year that has seen a series of continuing funding resolutions leading to final adoption of a budget at the end of April. The result is that agencies across Government are facing a significantly compressed procurement cycle. The late budget has delayed the apportionment and allocation of funds to program offices for needed procurements in support of agency missions. In turn, program managers and contracting officers have even less time to conduct these procurements.

As contracting officers conduct their acquisition planning for the remaining 60 days of the fiscal year, the procurement tools that can effectively and efficiently meet their goals are the GSA Schedules and GWACs. The GSA Schedules and GWACs program offers ready access to the commercial marketplace. GSA Advantage!, GSA’s electronic shopping mall, provides contracting officers with contract pricing and information about millions of commercial products and services. Using the GSA schedules and GWACs, agencies can conduct streamlined competitions for task and delivery orders saving time and money for both Government and industry.

Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) established via the GSA schedules are a critical tool for agencies seeking to efficiently and effectively acquire products and services before the end of the fiscal year. BPAs allow agencies to strategically leverage and compete recurring requirements and will be a vital channel for government and contractors to transact business over the next 60 days. In particular, single-award BPAs competed and priced based on agency specific requirements are a powerful procurement tool for agencies and can mean real business for contractors.

As you may already know, in an effort to spread the word regarding cost effective procurement tools for this year’s compressed buying cycle, the Coalition will be hosting a breakfast event on August 2nd at the Tyson’s Corner Marriott. Steve Kempf, FAS Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners Mary Davie, Tami Riggs, and Bill Sisk will be there to brief the audience on GSA’s procurement programs and how they can support sound end of fiscal year procurements. In addition, John Nyce, from the Department of the Interior’s Acquisition Services Directorate (ASD), will outline what ASD is doing to support its government customers and Ray Bjorklund, Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer for Deltek Information Systems, will discuss the current state of the market with 60 days left in the fiscal year.

Finally, if the debt ceiling is not raised, Anne Perry, Partner at Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton, LLP, is prepared to provide a briefing on the potential impact and key considerations for government contractors.