GSA Announces Further Consolidation with Category Management-Flag on the Field

By: Christine V. Williams on 11/29/2018

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today announced it will modernize federal acquisition by consolidating the agency’s 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into one single schedule for products and services. (That link is at the bottom of the page).

According to the GSA, the MAS transformation is part of GSA’s Federal Marketplace strategy to make the government buying and selling experience easy, efficient and modern.  It purportedly supports GSA’s strategic goal to establish the agency as the premier provider of efficient and effective acquisition solutions across the government.

Opinions differ strongly on this type of consolidation or category management tool as many in industry consider this to be a tool that lessens competition and sidelines qualified businesses from competing for Government work.  Category Management (CM) started out in 2005 as a method for managing contracts procured by the Government and has become a procurement policy with unintended negative consequences on both small and other than small businesses.  In practice, agencies are internally setting up policies and objectives that focus on strategic sourcing through CM vehicles; in effect establishing an internal CM focus and management council within each key agency.

CM has 10 Super Categories, or buckets with 5 CM vehicles used by the Government with limited on-ramp periods to access the Super 10 categories.  Contractors who are not either eligible or accepted during the limited on-ramp period, stand idly by until another on-ramp period opens; thereby limiting competition and contractors.  GSA favors the Best in Class vehicle for contractors to access the Super 10 Categories.  GSA has not yet set forth its plans on how the consolidation will work or how current eligible contractors will be treated in the future.  The 24 major schedules of GSA feeding the 5 vehicles condensing into one major schedule needs attention and light shed on the transition with industry input.

The Super 10 Categories as found on GSA’s website are immediately below with the 5 major vehicles in the following graphic presented by the Government.

Schedules               GWACs                      MACs                        Best-in-Class            Justified                                                                                                                   Solutions               Exceptions

Link to GSA announcement: