The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced on Friday, July 29, 2016 a series of updates to its Schedule 70, in the wake of a recent audit the GSA's Office of Inspector General conducted between 2011 and early 2016. Schedule 70 is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) multiple award schedule, providing direct access to products, services and solutions from more than 5,000 certified industry partners, and this audit revealed that some contracts on GSA's IT Schedule 70 offered identical products at widely varying prices, and that some items were offered at prices higher than commercial sales.
To address issues with its Schedule 70 -- which is the largest, most widely used acquisition vehicle in the federal government-- the GSA added tools and innovation to gives its customers "better pricing, better values and a better shopping experience," according to Mary Davie, Assistant Commissioner, Integrated Technology Services.
"We heard from procurement leaders across government that price variability on Schedules was a problem," she said, "[and], in response, we spearheaded the Competitive Pricing Initiative (CPI), which looks at the current prices of identical products offered by suppliers through MAS and identifies opportunities for more competitive prices."
According to information provided by the GSA, the CPI has led to price reductions on roughly 1.4 million items across all of GSA’s 15 products Schedules.
The GSA has also addressed issues raised by contractors and procurement officers across the country.
- To address how difficult and time consuming comparing prices between contractors, vendors must now standardize part numbers and use existing Universal Price Codes (UPCs).
- To help small businesses that don’t have the resources to conduct extensive analyses, the GSA added a Horizontal Pricing Analysis application to its e-toolbox. This market-research resource provides MAS contracting officers (COs) with additional data to pass on to MAS suppliers so they can be as competitive as possible.
- To help COs navigate pricing in a rapidly moving IT market, the GSA implemented GSA Price Point (XSB), an automated tool that lets them compare products and evaluate prices of all existing and future GSA Advantage! product listings and contract price modifications.
- To help MAS contractors and COs negotiate competitive prices for products on Schedule 70, the GSA developed the Formatted Product Tool (FPT). This tool automates price comparisons for identical items, removes burdensome processes for both vendors and federal buyers, and improves their overall GSA Advantage! experience.
"All these tools and capabilities help government contracting professionals negotiate prices that are in line and competitive with government and commercial marketplace prices," said Davie. "They also provide transparency and better value to both the government and Industry. ... We recognize the challenges we’re facing and have have taken concrete steps to make pricing more competitive and to provide the tools to help buyers make smart purchasing decisions."