GSA Federal Marketplace Industry Day

Published: December 14, 2018

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The General Services Administration (GSA) held the GSA Federal Marketplace Industry Day event on December 12, 2018 at the Department of Interior, Sidney Yates Auditorium to discuss the future of the Multiple Award Schedules Program as well as Phase II of the Commercial Platforms Initiative.  Two separate panels, made up of industry professionals and GSA representatives, were held to discuss these topics. The intent of the panels, was to provide an outline and basic time frame of GSA’s plans for each initiative. Each panel was also followed by a questions and answer session to provide more clarity on certain issues, and to address concerns about the impact these initiatives may have on procurement and acquisitions community.

  1. Moderator: Crystal Philcox, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Enterprise Strategy Management
  2. Keynote Address: Reimagining the Acquisition Experience                   
  3. Emily Murphy, GSA Administrator 
  4. Panel Discussion:  Future of the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) Program  
    • Moderator: Stephanie Shutt, Director, MAS Program Management Office                                    
    • Betsy Cerulo - AdNet/AccountNet, Inc.
    • Larry Allen - Allen Federal Business Partners
    • Julia Conti - CGI Group Inc.
    • David Berteau - Professional Services Council
    • Roger Waldron - The Coalition for Government Procurement
  5. Panel Discussion: Commercial Platforms Initiative: Phase II Update 
    • Moderator: Chris Averill, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA)                                
    • Mathew Blum -- Associate Administrator OMB - Office of Federal Procurement Policy 
    • Laura Stanton -- Deputy Assistant Commissioner GSA - ITC Category Management
    • Mark Lee -- Assistant Commissioner GSA - FAS Office of Policy and Compliance 
    • Jeff Koses -- Senior Procurement Executive GSA - Office of Government wide Policy

 

The GSA Administrator, Emily Murphy, provided a general statement of intent behind the consolidation of the Multiple Award Schedule program. The primary goal is to combine 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into one solitary Schedule, to create a seamless people centric buying and selling experience that enables better mission driven acquisitions across government using three driving principles; Easy, Efficient, Modern.  The GSA intends to execute the consolidation by exploring legislation and policy reforms optimizing GSA’s internal organization, and use innovation and user-friendly systems to modernize the acquisition process. The panel of industry professionals then discussed what they felt were the pros and cons of the planned consolidation. The common sentiment was that transition to a signal schedule was long overdue. The market influences that inspired the creation of Schedules and their use have since evolved, but the Schedules themselves have remained the same, leaving the Schedules program in an antiquated, and at times cumbersome state. The following Q&A sessions also made it clear that there is a fair amount of trepidation within the industry. As the consolidation plan takes shape, many are worried about what the transition will mean for their business. Small businesses in particularly could be affected, as the methods and strategies they have utilized in the past to effectively leverage their Schedule contracts, may no longer be as effective as they once were. The panel as well as the GSA representatives explained that it is still too early in the process to say for certain what negative impacts this change may have on the industry, but they did emphasize that part of the intent behind this transition is to revitalize the federal marketplace in a healthy and competitive way or the benefit of the entire industry. The new Schedule will be released at the end of FY2019.  A Solicitation will be released to announce the new schedule.

The second portion of the Industry Day was moderated by Chris Averill, from the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. He went over the intended benefits of the Commercial Platforms Initiative that include - positive disruption of the market, to collect meaningful data, the creation of investigative tools, and helping rationalize the results. The panel was made up of Agency representatives directly involved in the planning of the initiative. They each outlined specific aspects of the initiative and contributed to the discussion on the desired and potential benefits versus the risks and unknowns. Most notably during the panel discussion the speakers continually returned to the central theme of data. The initiative provides a huge opportunity to create transparency into micro purchases and provide usable data for the purchasing agencies.  There is currently no system in place to track the data related to micro purchasing. Multiple platforms will be able to provide aggregate data on innumerable aspects of the acquisitions process - purchasing data, product data, and vendor data.  Actionable internal data will be generated for agencies to use to create workflow management solutions. The Q&A portion of the panel centered on the theme of risk to the Federal supply chain. The panelists explained that GSA plans to apply existing risk management principles and requirements used in the private commercial markets, as well as maintaining the current standards for vendors and suppliers that already exist. As the initiative moves forward, there will most certainly be new issues that will require new policy innovation. The Phase II Report on the initiative is due to Congress in March 2019. The information gathered from the current RFI will be used to put together the report.  The Draft Solicitation is expected to come out soon after the March 2019 report. GSA is hoping to have the Proof of Concept in place by the end of 2019.

This event brought together industry professionals and GSA representatives to discuss various aspects of the Federal Marketplace Initiative (FMP) including the future of the Multiple Award Schedules Program as well as Phase II of the Commercial Platforms Initiative. The General Services Administration intends to consolidate 24 Multiple Award Schedules into one to simplify and streamline the MAS program. A Solicitation for the combined Schedule is anticipated to be released by the end of FY2019. Furthermore, GSA’s Commercial Platforms initiative is anticipated to offer GSA buyers a new way of conducting micro-purchases (up to $10,000). The General Services Administration is planning on having a proof of concept for the Commercial Platform in place by the end of 2019. Deltek is tracking the Commercial Platforms effort under the Opportunity Report ID: 175222.