The General Services Administration is conducting market research for its planned consolidation of the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. Earlier this month, GSA publicly announced the new single solicitation format, including streamlined terms and conditions, and its intention to collect feedback from government contractors in the industry. According to GSA, the consolidation is part of its two-year modernization process for the program that began in November of 2018. The consolidated MAS solicitation is scheduled for release later this year. And if you have concerns or suggestions for GSA on this significant consolidation, there is still time for your input.
On June 7, GSA publicized its plan to restructure the MAS Program by issuing a news release on GSA.gov and posting an RFI to FBO.gov. GSA announced that it intends to streamline the federal acquisition process by consolidating its 24 MAS into a single schedule for products, services, and solutions. It hopes to complete the new consolidated schedule, which it calls “Phase One” of the project, during this fiscal year.
According to GSA, this new schedule will be organized and categorized in accordance with the current government-wide category structure. It explained that all of GSA’s existing schedules’ Special Item Numbers (SINs) are currently under review, and once the review is complete, “the new proposed SINs will be available for public comment” as well. GSA said it plans to release the consolidated MAS solicitation later this year, after considering the market research and industry feedback it collects.
GSA hopes to transform this federal acquisition program to improve the buying and selling experience. And it believes this consolidation is a crucial step in that process. GSA called this initiative “one of the four Cornerstone initiatives of GSA’s Federal Marketplace (FMP) strategy, GSA’s plan to modernize and simplify the buying and selling experience for customers, suppliers, and acquisition professionals.” According to GSA, it hopes the new MAS structure will “provide consistency in the program for all stakeholders, make it easier for customers to find total solutions under one contract vehicle, ensure terms and conditions meet the needs of our customers, and eliminate duplicate contracts.”
GSA believes the project “is on track to do exactly what we set out to achieve—create a new solicitation with one easy-to-understand set of terms and conditions for a single schedule by the end of FY19.” GSA has worked “to remove legacy, duplicative, and unnecessary clauses so that it’s easier to buy and sell with the federal government,” in order “to reduce the administrative burden for all who interact with GSA schedules.”
But GSA is seeking additional comments. The “RFI will allow us to further hear from industry on the needs of today’s buyers and sellers,” because “[p]artnering with customers and industry has been a key component of MAS Consolidation.” That is why, according to GSA, feedback from the industry is such a crucial part of this plan. GSA has already solicited some feedback from customer agencies and industry partners by hosting events and meetings and performing surveys. But GSA now plans to work directly with buyers and sellers to maximize the efficiency of the new structure. GSA’s goal for “this round of market research is to gain input on two components of the new consolidated solicitation: the proposed format of the consolidated solicitation [and] the updated terms and conditions that will be found in the new solicitation.”
To meet this goal, GSA provided a link in the RFI to the consolidated solicitation draft and provided its proposed terms and conditions for the new and improved program. GSA is currently seeking input from all interested parties on the MAS consolidation and the structure and content of the draft solicitation. GSA is also seeking specific feedback on its three selected categories of terms (required, required as needed, and not included) and whether clauses were correctly categorized as such in the new solicitation. The RFI provides instructions for those interested in participating in the market research and a link where feedback can be submitted with a submission deadline of July 5.
All current MAS contractors and any government contractors who may be interested in contracting with GSA through the MAS Program should take advantage of this opportunity to provide valuable input to the agency. Go check out the draft version of the consolidated solicitation and the MAS Program’s streamlined terms and conditions. You should provide your own input before it’s too late. After all, GSA’s whole purpose for this initiative was to make your life easier. Probably wise to make sure that’s what it does!