GSA Announces Plan to Modernize the Multiple Awards Schedules
by Colin P. Ahler and Brett W. Johnson
On November 27, 2018, the United States General Services Administration (GSA) announced its intent to consolidate the current 24 multiple award schedules (MAS) into a single schedule for products and services. According to GSA, this planned transformation of MAS will make federal acquisition more modern, easy-to-use, and efficient.
The MAS (which are sometimes referred to as the GSA schedules or the federal supply schedules) are long-term governmentwide contracts with commercial vendors that allow federal, state, and local agencies to purchase a wide variety of commonly-used products and services from prescreened vendors at volume discount pricing. The MAS are a significant source of business from government customers; according to the GSA, agencies spend approximately $31 billion through MAS each year. Currently, GSA organizes these contracts into specific schedules based on the specific type of product or service being offered. For example, one of the current schedules is for office supplies and services.
For the past year, GSA solicited feedback from government agency customers and industry partners on how to improve the MAS. Under the consolidated, single schedule announced by GSA, customers will not need to search multiple schedules to find and purchase the products or services they need. These customers will instead have a single point of entry into MAS. The consolidated schedule will also alleviate the burden on vendors that currently have to manage contracts on multiple schedules. GSA also believes that the single schedule will promote consistent practices across the supply schedule program.
GSA is expected to provide additional details regarding the schedule consolidation in the coming weeks. This likely will entail a mass or blanket modification of contracts. Vendors should ensure they review any modification, determine whether additional requirements are inserted, and understand proper reporting requirements going forward to expedite payments and compliance.
Vendors should also take the opportunity to review internal policies and procedures related to contracts with GSA. This may include review of most favored pricing compliance, where the pricing related to sales for federal contracts must be equal to or lower than the vendor’s commercial sales. In addition, vendors should review proper reporting (and potential audit) of GSA sales and rebate of the required Industrial Funding Fee. Further, vendors should ensure compliance with other socioeconomic requirements, such as maintenance and reporting related to small business subcontracting plans.
Selling via a GSA schedule provides significant convenience and opportunity for vendors. Ensuring compliance with the many requirements relating to supply schedule contracting is important to maximization of such opportunities.