Menu
X

Category Archives: GSA Schedule FAQs

GSA Issues Mandatory GSA Schedule Modification

GSA Schedule ModificationGSA announced Mass GSA Schedule Modification number A382 relating to manufacturer part numbers on Authorized Federal Supply Schedule Price Lists.  This Mass Modification is mandatory for both product and service providers.

Read more below and call Winvale for GSA Schedule Support at 202-296-5505 or email sales@winvale.com.

On, June 17, 2014, GSA will be sending out a Mass Mod for Manufacturer Part Number.  The purpose of this modification is to reinforce the requirements of clause I-FSS-600 Contract Price Lists (Oct 2013) and clause 552.238-71, Submission and Distribution of Authorized FSS Schedule Price Lists.

Per these clauses, the price list must be complete and include ALL and services, prices, and terms and conditions that were accepted by the Government at award and the complete price list must be uploaded to GSA Advantage including the Manufacturer Part Number.

In this modification GSA is reinforcing (explicitly stating) that All Government accepted products, fix-price services (i.e. training course), and/or ancillary products that have been awarded must be included in the price list, and that the product descriptive data must include the Manufacturer Part Number.  The complete price list must be uploaded to GSA Advantage per clause 552.238-71, Submission and Distribution of Authorized FSS Schedule Price Lists.

The Manufacturer Part Number is a critical part of the descriptive product data included in the price list.  Note the following points:

A Manufacturers Part Number is considered to be: a unique number or code created by the manufacturer of a specific product, and  assigned as a means of standardized  product identification. Do not alter the Manufacturers Part Numbers.  There should be  no additions, deletions, or other discrepancies between the  Manufacturers Part Number as submitted to the vendor by the manufacturer, and as presented by the contract holder to GSA.  For example, do NOT add your own prefixes or suffixes to the manufacturer part numbers. Submissions will be made via SIP, or EDI with all current data validation requirements in effect. All responses AND all product data must be received within 90 days of the date of issue of this modification. Failure to comply with the terms of this modification may result in cancellation of your contract.

Upon receipt of the Mass mod, please go to https://vsc.gsa.gov/ and accept the modification.  Then you must access SIP or EDI and upload all your products, fix-price services (i.e training courses), and ancillary products to your to GSA with all required descriptive data including Manufacturers Part Numbers.  Please be aware that declining this modification may result in the termination of your contract.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1: Is this mass modification mandatory?

A: Yes.  This mod is mandatory to ensure GSA is capturing all the  Manufacturer Part Numbers and all other descriptive data for all Products award on the GSA MAS contract, including Ancillary Products  fixed-price services (i.e. training course).

2: I have a service only contract, and have no fixed-price services or ancillary products. How do I respond?

A: Although the reinforcement is not applicable to your contract.  Select Yes to acknowledge the requirement.

 3: Do I need to submit all my products?

A: Yes.  Any product, ancillary product, or fixed-price service that  you have listed on your MAS contract should be submitted; along with its corresponding product data.

 4: Does this rule apply to previous submissions?

A: Yes.  Industry partners should take this opportunity to revisit previous submissions and correct or refine any missing or altered manufacturer part numbers.

 5: What should I do if I do not have (or can not obtain) the Manufacturers Part Number?

A: Industry partners should make a best effort to obtain accurate product information.

 6: Why is GSA asking for Manufacturer Part Numbers?

A: GSA is focusing on bolstering data driven offerings in order to improve the acquisition experience for customers, acquisition officials, and industry partners alike.  Expanded data repositories pave the way for streamlined, value-added functionality that will minimize effort while maximizing returns.

Is a GSA Schedule Worth It?

Are you wondering , is a GSA Schedule worth it? Tom Sharpe, who is helping the agency double its market share in two years, would say YES!

Tom Sharpe

Tom Sharpe answers, “Is a GSA Schedule Worth it?”

The article discusses a new platform that the General Services Administration (GSA) is rolling out to allow procurement officers to compare many contracting vehicles, STARS, DOD EMALL, GSA Schedules, etc, which GSA Commissioner Tom Sharpe believes will encourage procurement officers to use GSA schedules to procure more of the goods and services that they need, because GSA schedules will offer the most competitive pricing.This is how the GSA would double it’s market share, by being the best option for procurement.

I think a lot of companies, particularly small businesses, wonder if acquiring and maintaining a GSA schedule to sell to the Federal government is worth the time and effort, hence the question, “Is a GSA Schedule worth it?” If Tom Sharpe is correct and GSA begins to fulfill the lions share of procurement needs than YES having a GSA schedule would be worth the investment of time, money and resources.

Read more in Federal Times’ article: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140521/ACQ/305210016/1001

GSA eBuy – Underutilized RFQ Tool with Limited Competition

gsa-ebuyI’m sure this has been mentioned before, but can certainly be repeated: GSA eBuy only has on average 3.1 responses per opportunity, according to a webinar held by GSA last week. I encourage all GSA contractors to go in and view the RFPs/RFQs and RFIs posted under the SINs you are awarded under. The competition is limited and the Contracting Officer is required in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to review and evaluate each response submitted.

GSA eBuy is an excellent tool for GSA contractors attempting to take a significant leap into the marketplace because it allows agencies and GSA Schedule holders to conduct business through an online platform. Agencies use GSA eBuy as a resource to reach businesses that would otherwise be difficult to locate. Agencies would submit an RFP and GSA contractors can use the tool to submit their bids in attempt to win the contract. GSA eBuy has been known to save time and money from both sides, but also greatly increase the sales potential for the businesses that are involved in the program. The competition is also a lot smaller as it was recently reported by the GSA  that there is an average of 3.1 responses per opportunity.

Businesses should also that note that only GSA contractors who have uploaded their existing pricelist to GSA Advantage! will have access to eBuy.  This means awarded contractors should move quickly in getting their pricelist posted!

 

GSA SmartPay Charge Card Program

gsa smartpayThe GSA SmartPay® program is the largest charge card program in the world today. It was established fourteen years ago to provide the government a more efficient way to conduct business transactions. According to GSA more than 350 Federal agencies, organizations, and Native American tribal governments participate in the GSA SmartPay program. Today, it is reported that there are nearly 3 million cards in circulation.

As a GSA contractor, it is instrumental to understand how the GSA SmartPay® 2 charge card works. According to the General Systems Administration, “you can maximize your ability to capture government sales by accepting these cards.” Other incentives for accepting a GSA SmartPay® 2 charge card include, having fewer forms to fill-out during transactions, as well as having electronic records of sales.

GSA SmartPay® 2 charge cards are easy to identify, because there are only four different card designs, and each have the GSA logo displayed. Another way of spotting a GSA SmartPay® 2 charge card is by its Bank Identification Number (BIN). A BIN is the first four numbers in the sequence of the card, and each of the four different types of GSA SmartPay® 2 charge cards have specific BINs. Since the GSA SmartPay® 2 charge cards are easy to recognize, it allows contractors to track and report federal sales more efficiently.

Contractors who “do not currently accept these cards, can contact any financial institution or one of the GSA SmartPay® three contractors (i.e. Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and U.S. Bank) to establish a merchant account (GSA SmartPay® 2 vendor brochure)”. There are four different offer types of GSA SmartPay® 2 charge cards that are offered: purchase cards, travel cards, fleet cards, and integrated cards. The GSA SmartPay® 2 charge cards are either VISA, MasterCard, Voyager, or Wright Express. However, Voyager and Wright Express cards are only used for fleet related purchases.

 

GSA Prompt Payment Discount Terms

mas purchaseFor GSA contractors who offer or are considering to offer prompt payment discounts, there are a few important details to keep in mind. GSA contractors can check to see if any prompt payment terms were agreed upon on their Standard Form 1449 or Final Proposal Revision.

Contractors are required in accordance with Clause I-FSS-600, Contract Price list (JUL 2004), to reflect their prompt payment discounts on their awarded pricelist – especially on the copy posted on GSA Advantage. Contractors are also required to list any offered terms on invoices.

Contractors who offer standard Net 30 payment terms have not agreed to any prompt payment discounts. However, they can provide them to individual orders and invoices. The good news is that GSA contractors that have agreed on prompt payment discounts may also offer additional discounts. Furthermore, contractors should be aware that if orders are paid by government purchase cards, the buyer should not receive any offered prompt payment discounts.

Some contractors may question whether prompt payment discounts are negotiable. The answer is, mostly no. Government customers are typically not permitted to negotiate any form of prompt payment discounts due to contractual agreements. However, the negotiation aspect does possess a loophole in the sense that agencies can waive prompt payment discounts in exchange for other price discounts. Therefore, contractors can still receive a “price discount” as long other appropriate considerations are reviewed and evaluated legal and possible. In order for the prompt payment discount to be waived, the pricelist cannot mention or state any desire for a prompt payment discount.

Another consideration for the prompt payment terms is the 1% 10 Days, Net 30 clause under the GSA Schedule Contract. GSA Schedule buyers can benefit from this discount by receiving a 1% discount on the invoice by paying within the first 10 days. Contractors should keep in mind, the term “10 Days, Net 30” must be displayed on all invoices for this discount to be acknowledged and given from the agency.

The prompt payment discount allows for a cost effective way for GSA contractors to work with their government customers. The benefits may not seem that lucrative, but when working with agencies that conduct million dollar deals, the perk for this discount become very enticing to buyers and contractors alike.

What is the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF)?

Industrial funding FeeFor contractors offering products and/or services to the government through the General Services Administration’s (GSA) and Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Multiple Award Schedule program, keeping up with Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) payments is a critical component of GSA contract compliance and contract maintenance. Government agencies prefer to procure through the MAS program and incur the IFF because of the resulting benefits, particularly compared to the cost of the customer staff time needed to award a new procurement. By selling through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule and paying the IFF, GSA & VA contractors will have easier payment options, hassle-free volume purchase prices, flexible purchasing options, and no order limitations among  additional benefits.

The Industrial Funding Fee is a fee to cover GSA’s cost of operating the Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) program. This fee is a fixed percentage of reported sales under GSA &VA Schedule contracts that is paid quarterly by contractors. The IFF on Schedule 599 for Special Item Number (SIN) 599-2 is $1.50 per transaction. The IFF for all other SINs and Schedules is 0.75% of sales. The IFF is included in the price that government agencies pay the contractor when they purchase items from a MAS contract. Quarterly IFF reporting and payments are due by the 30th day of January, April, July, and October. Contractors must still report sales for each quarter even if no sales occur by entering “zero” (0) in the sales report. To avoid overpayment, it is important that the contractors only report sales for products or services on their Awarded GSA Pricelist to avoid overpayment of the IFF and ensure accuracy. Contractors can only send the IFF payment after sales have been reported. Once sales are reported, the IFF payment can be made by check, electronic funds transfer, or credit card. For more information on how to make an IFF payment online in the 72A Quarterly Reporting System, visit the instructions page.

As the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2014 (FY2014) is wrapping up and the year’s first Industrial Funding Fee payment is due January 30th, MAS contractors should be preparing to report their first quarter sales and make the necessary IFF payment to remain in compliance with their contract. Making quarterly IFF payments is only one factor in GSA contract compliance. To learn more about IFF compliance, you may want to consult with MAS contracting professionals and verify that your firm is not overpaying or underpaying this required fee.
GSA contractors can mail their IFF Payments to the mailing address listed below,

Industrial Funding Fee Mailing Address

General Services Administration
ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE BRANCH (6BCDR)
P.O. Box 979017
St. Louis, MO 63197-9017

Staying Compliant with GSA

GSA Compliant ChecklistMany GSA contractors believe that simply securing a GSA Schedule contract is the answer to quick profits. However, this could not be further from reality. Attaining a GSA Schedule is an important step, but only the first step to profitability in the government sector for commercial businesses. The government’s selection process plays a big role in the contracting process. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of GSA contractors to properly market their products and/or services to the government and remain compliant with the requirements of the General Services Administration (GSA).

One of the main issues with selling to government agencies is remaining compliant. GSA has multiple scrutinizing compliance requirements that can easily result in hefty penalties, fines, and worst of all, a loss of business if contractors do not abide by them. These requirements are extensive and can easily be violated; As a result, many contractors have found remaining compliant to be one of the most challenging long term issues for GSA contractors.

For example, a common GSA compliance issue is simply not following the terms and conditions for the GSA Schedule program. The terms and conditions vary depending on your commercial business, and involve many topics such as minimum order threshold, delivery costs and schedule, labor qualifications, and subcontracting restrictions. These common issues are often not accurately represented and GSA contractors do not properly teach and discuss the difference to their employees.

Businesses can reduce these errors by conducting corporate wide training on GSA pricing. GSA Contractors should also distribute any self-audit proposals and invoices along with any additional materials for reference. Understanding the key differences in the terms and conditions and how they apply to your business is also crucial for your company’s success.

Due to the numerous amounts of GSA contracts and increases in competition, the GSA has recently been shrinking the number of active GSA contracts by cracking down on compliance errors. Many GSA contractors are concerned about the penalties and are trying to avoid the horror of compliance repercussions.

Although contract Terms and Conditions is one of the biggest compliance issues in GSA contracting, there are many other common compliance risks that GSA contractors must beware of. In response to the building anxiety and growing concerns, a complimentary webinar was hosted this past Halloween to address these compliance issues and provide solutions to avoiding penalization from the GSA.

You can watch the full webinar, “The Top 10 Compliance Risks for GSA Schedule Contractors” and see other past webinars on our YouTube Channel.

Top 10 Reasons to Get on a GSA Schedule

Top 10 DownloadDoes your company sell products or services to the Federal government? Do you want to expand your commercial business into the public sector? If so, are you taking advantage of available opportunities to expand your sales and improve your firm’s position in the Federal market?

If you aren’t currently aware of all the opportunities available to commercial companies there is a great chance you are missing out on potential sales in the Federal market. While some companies have recognized the benefits of having a GSA Schedule and have involved their firms in some of this program, there is still a great portion of companies currently offering products and services to the Federal government using outdated methods which can hinder their sales potentials. A GSA Schedule is a widely accepted, simplified contracting vehicle with pre-negotiated pricing and terms and conditions that provides commercial firms with a quicker way to sell products and services to the government.

Not only does the GSA Multiple Award Schedule program ease entry into the Federal market for commercial firms, it also simplifies the acquisition process and gives firms with a GSA Schedule access to GSA-only opportunities. The GSA Schedule contract is a 20 year, Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract that can, and in many cases provides companies with a significant source of revenue. The average amount of sales in FY2012 achieved by GSA contractors was $1,700,767 with an average procurement time of 15 days, compared to 268 days for contractors without a GSA Schedule.

GSA Schedules have become the most useful contract vehicle of choice for over 22,000 firms for many reasons. There are two ways for a company to get on a GSA Schedule: Acquisition and Partnering. Acquiring a GSA Schedule provides contractors with a direct path to government customers, more independence, and requires contractors to disclose commercial sale practices and discounting policies. The second method to get on a GSA Schedule is partnering on an existing GSA Schedule Holder’s contract. This method gives the contracting firm slightly less independence but does not require disclosure of commercial sales practices or discounting policies. It can take anywhere from 5 – 12 months to acquire a GSA Schedule and 1 – 2 months to partner on an existing GSA Schedule.

The Federal government has taken several steps to increase the amount of products and services purchased through GSA Schedules, which makes now a critical time to enter the Federal market with a GSA Schedule contract. After examining the outcome of transactions between both parties, Government agencies and commercial businesses are finding that the speedy procurement and value created for both parties have made the GSA Multiple Award Schedule Program the preferred method for selling to the government.

Companies wanting to further the growth of their public sector opportunities in Fiscal Year 2014 need to learn about the resources available for improvement that can be achieved by getting on a GSA Schedule. Expert guidance with the process of how to get on a GSA Schedule, developing the best business strategies for success in the Federal market, and tailoring the best contract terms for your company will be beneficial to your firm.

To get started with understanding the benefits download the Top 10 Reasons to get on a GSA Schedule.

Are You on the Correct Type of GSA Schedule?

Right type of GSA ScheduleSo you’ve decided your company would like obtain a GSA Schedule Contract?  Great decision if you are looking to grow your government business.  There is more than just one type of GSA Schedule. GSA Schedule Contracts cover a wide variety of products and services that government agencies can procure.  Each of the approximately 41 different types of GSA  and Veterans Administration (VA) Schedules are categorized together by similar products and services.

Is your company on the right type of GSA Schedule?

The big question for you is, where do your products and/or services fit within the GSA Schedule solicitations? Essentially, the burden rests on the individual company, the potential GSA contractor, to look for and apply for the Schedule that most closely fits your line of business.  There is no question that you are the person most familiar with your own company’s offerings, and you best know your own core competencies.  However, answering the above question is not so easy when your products/services potentially span multiple GSA categories.

Choosing the correct GSA Schedule becomes even more important when you consider the fact that there is a direct correlation between the GSA Schedule category you put yourself in and future GSA sales opportunities for your company.  GSA utilizes an e-business tool known as GSA eBuy, designed to be an electronic Request For Proposal (RFP)/ Request For Quote (RFQ) system to allow government buyers to request information, find sources, and prepare RFPs/RFQs online for the millions of products and services offered on those 39 GSA and VA contracts.  For example, a company that provides IT products and services will not have access to the same eBuy opportunities as a company who provides audio/visual services.  What’s that you say?  Those two product and service categories are very similar?  Yes they certainly are, and this is why so many companies struggle to determine which GSA Schedule is the best fit.

Did you know it is possible for one company to obtain more than one GSA Schedule contract?  The same items cannot show up on two different GSA contracts, but you can certainly be approved for similar items spanning multiple GSA contracts.  Keep in mind that this process can get complicated, and it’s important to be compliant with GSA solicitation requirements.  If you aren’t sure, ask for help.  So after you’ve decided to go for that GSA contract, make sure you pick the right one to help you grow your government business!

Steering Clear of Dead-End Departments

dead end IRM/IABetween February 4 and March 22, 2013, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) carried out an investigation of the Bureau of Information Resource Management, Office of Information Assurance (IRM/IA) in response to the Bureau’s request for an additional deputy position and the creation of a fourth division. This bureau was originally created to address the information security requirements outlined in Title III of the E-Government Act of 2002.

The investigation revealed a number of problems with the functionality of the bureau, including major overlaps between IRM/IA and other Department of State offices, as well as a lack of a departmental mission statement. Although the IRM/IA is supposed to oversee the State Department’s cyber-security program, the majority of the bureau’s work is done by IRM departments within other agencies. This being said, OIG has determined that the bureau is not fulfilling its originally outlined responsibilities.

The investigation provided a thorough list of solutions such as requiring a thorough assessment to identify exact overlap between other state departments and IRM/IA, and implementing a mission statement that includes a structured layout of goals and priorities for the three existing divisions.

Don’t get stuck trying to sell to dead-end departments within the government. There are places where your products and services are needed. To get the most out of your GSA schedule, identify exactly where your business will be most sought after. If you have any questions about where your company will be most successful within the government market, contact us.

  • [contact-form-7 id="2459" title="Contact form 1"]
  • July 2021
    M T W T F S S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • Blog Categories
    Blog Calendar
    July 2021
    M T W T F S S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  

    © Copyright 2017 GSA Schedule. GSASchedule.com