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Future of the GSA Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center (IWAC)

Integrated Workplace Acquisition CenterOn Tuesday January 28th I attended the GSA Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center (IWAC) Quality Partnership and Council Meeting (QPC) meeting at the Mid-Atlantic Office Building in Philadelphia, P.A.  The purpose of this meeting is to give an informative update to the following IWAC Schedules:[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” width=”30″ ]36 (Office, Imaging and Document Solutions)
58-1 (Professional Audio/Visual, Telecommunications and Security Solutions)
71 (Furniture)
7-1-II-K (Comprehensive Furniture Management Services)
72 (Furnishings and Floor Coverings)
78 (Sports, Promotional, Outdoor, Recreation, Trophies & Signs)
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The meeting started with the words of IWAC leadership, Jack Wise, Director for the Office of Regional Acquisition Operations (RAO) and Brian Knapp, Center Director of IWAC. A central IWAC topic discussed dealt with the 50 GSA employees that are currently at the Philadelphia office and how this number was reduced originally from 130 employees due to sequestration. They continued to state that there are still about 20 employees that represent the IWAC sector at the former D.C. office and that it is the ultimate goal of the GSA to move all IWAC contracts from D.C. to the Philadelphia office.  Several other main points were discussed by the Operational Panel, who conducted a Q & A session. Contracting officers discussed the concept of Strategic Sourcing, that involved IWAC officers leaning on tracking high bid and high range projects, which would be handled on a case by case basis. They also brought forth the concept of managing a Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) that offered print management solution for GSA Schedule 36. IWAC contractors were hopeful of this new strategy being possibly enacted in April or May of this year.

Another topic that was discussed is GSA’s efforts for assisted acquisition under the concept of the “total workplace,” which would be advantageous for Schedule 71 and 72. IWAC does their own procurement and they want a vehicle to streamline this acquisition. The contracting officers also talked about how the GSA wants to control what agencies are buying throughout the GSA. This control would enable GSA to reach its goal of streamlining this process and also save on future purchases. This concept of assisted acquisition is still in the developing stages and would possibly be initiated  anytime between December 2014 through February 2015. An audience member questioned  about the waiver of a non-manufacturer, and wanted clarification as to the difference of a “Class waiver” and an “Individual Waiver.” The IWAC emphasized that a “Class Waiver” is established by the SBA and determines that a product or class of products has no small business available to participate in the Federal procurement market. Furthermore,  they stated that an “Individual Waiver” is determined when no small business manufacturer or processor can reasonably be expected to offer a product meeting the specifications, meaning a Procurement Contracting Officer would  go to a specific RFQ and waive it for SBAs review.

The QPC meeting also enabled the GSA to share their business development (BD) perspective and its BD plans moving forward. IWAC leadership talked about the GSA’s push for quality over quantity for its future basis of award. They believe that there should be fewer suppliers in the market place, due to the rise of contracts reporting zero sales. In addition, they are looking for companies that will excel in the GSA market place. All of these BD initiatives come at the all-encompassing effort of the Government cutting back on spending. The GSA IWAC QPC Meeting gave GSA contractors a well deserved update as to the future plans for the GSA are and how it is working with the present changes to not only promote growth, but to help future and current contracts be informed of their intentions moving forward as well.

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