On January 10th the “FAR and Beyond” blog published a comment identifying fourteen key procurement items for 2014 that will be addressed throughout the year in future blog postings.   This week it is time to address “GSA’s Strategic Plan:  Plan versus Implementation.”  We appreciate GSA providing the public an opportunity to comment on the draft plan and look forward to continuing the dialogue on delivering best value procurement solutions for customer agencies and the American people.

As you know, my Federal Times Blog highlighted the GSA Strategic Plan’s lack of focus on GSA’s biggest, most strategic program, the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program.  In addition, the Coalition submitted comments to GSA on the strategic plan which can be reviewed here.  GSA, with its unique statutory procurement authorities can be the innovation laboratory for streamlining the procurement process.

In the spirit of Myth-Busters, the Coalition would like to offer GSA a list of strategic implementation initiatives to include in the Strategic Plan that would deliver efficiency, savings and best value procurement solutions to customer agencies and the American people:

  • Create an Innovation Schedule (The goal is to embrace the commercial marketplace, reduce barriers to entry and deliver innovative, flexible, best in class solutions to customer agencies.  For example, the innovation schedule could enhance and grow flexible, cloud solutions, and software as a service.)
  • Review, reform, and/or eliminate acquisition regulations, procedures, terms and conditions where the costs outweigh the benefits.
  • Reform the MAS pricing policies to better leverage and reflect the current commercial marketplace as well as the statutory requirement for competition at the order level.   This includes implementing “other direct costs” on MAS contracts and orders.
  • Embrace the MAS program for the Networx follow on procurement. (GSA has incorporated SATCOM services onto IT Schedule 70—it’s time to add all forms of commercial data transmission/management to the MAS program.)
  • Pursue the Alliant follow on procurement (The Alliant follow on procurement will be a critical part of GSA’s ongoing IT portfolio.  It is a portfolio that can reduce contract duplication, increase efficiency and deliver best value solutions to customer agencies.)
  • Improve the effectiveness and cost savings under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative by shifting strategic sourcing to agency specific BPAs. (It is clear that the closer the procurement is to the agency requirements holder, the greater the opportunity for a best value outcome.  Agencies can articulate their requirements, schedule, buying patterns and dollar volume commitments better than can ever be set forth in a set of generic, government-wide BPAs or contracts.  The result will be enhanced competition, greater value and a vibrant supply chain for years to come.)

At their core, these recommendations are about simplifying the procurement process for customer agencies, GSA acquisition professionals, and contract partners.  There is power in simplicity!  Streamlining processes empowers customer agencies and contractors to focus on competing requirements and delivering best value solutions.  We have had more than a decade of layering on additional processes, procedures and oversight—we can no longer afford costly procurement policies and procedures that increase transactional costs.

Roger Waldron

President