The General Services Administration (GSA) has several key initiatives and contract changes underway. The success or failure of these variations may alter the way contractors do business with that agency and the rest of the federal government. Here are some key questions contractors should ask and agency leaders should be prepared to answer:
- How Long Will Emily Murphy Remain as Administrator? Murphy is doing a great job leading the agency, especially regarding acquisition changes such as the Schedules Consolidation Project, the expansion of Alliant and OASIS, and the initiation of the agency’s e-marketplace pilot. She is the catalyst for moving the agency forward. As we near the 2020 election, the number one question for GSA is: how long will Murphy remain, and what will happen to its positive momentum when she inevitably departs?
- Is the Agency Prepared to Launch E-commerce and E-procurement Pilots? Language in the FY’20 DOD Authorization bill directs GSA to increase its number of e-commerce pilots by two. The agency is currently only proceeding with testing an e-marketplace model. How will the agency respond once the Authorization bill is passed and find the resources to test two other models, even as the e-marketplace model gets off the ground?
- Now That OASIS and Alliant Have Grown, How Will the Agency Manage Them? These two popular GSA IDIQ contracts have grown exponentially in terms of the number of contractors and the amount of business flowing through them, which has increased visibility. Ask anyone in the Multiple Award Schedules world and they will tell you that being the biggest also means you have the biggest target on your back. It’s one thing to add dozens of new companies. It’s quite another to manage a program on a scale much larger than the one that was originally envisioned. There is a tendency in government management to try to solve all the world’s problems by fixing acquisition. Now that these programs have been theoretically fixed, how will they be managed?
- Is the Agency Open to Allowing the Schedules Consolidation Timeline to Slip A Bit? While people usually don’t want to see government programs get behind schedule, the Schedules Program could benefit from a bit of slippage. The agency wants to start consolidating the contracts of companies that hold more than one Schedule contract in July. They also plan to phase out the current SIN structure at about the same time. If the purpose of Schedules consolidation is to make the program easier to use, GSA leaders may want to rethink the timing of these changes so that they occur at a time other than when customers most rely upon it. It’s no disgrace to make these changes in October, and such timing could benefit both contractors and agency customers.