GSA to streamline schedule process

June 10, 2012

The General Services Administration has announced a new effort to jettison obsolete contracts listed on its schedules, the shopping catalogue for the government.

The GSA maintains more than 8,000 obsolete contracts with firms that sell items such as typewriters. It will also stop adding contracts for trophies and commemorative or promotional items, which cost $3,000 a year to maintain. The agency predicts it will save $24 million.

The GSA will review 19,000 contracts to determine which ones are obsolete and where choices for federal contracting officers may be too saturated. Furthermore, the agency will stop adding contracts for outdated products to its schedules. The system has gotten bogged down with contracts that generate little or no business, according to a GSA statement.

The announcement came last week after the GSA unveiled new security guidelines for federal cloud-based computer services.

“By stopping the proliferation of low-performance contracts and cutting products or services that are no longer mission-critical to the government, GSA will reduce waste and save millions of taxpayer dollars annually,” said Daniel M. Tangherlini, acting GSA administrator. “This helps us streamline the way we do business, save taxpayer dollars and ensure the most efficient delivery of services to our customer agencies.”

Steven J. Kempf, commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, testified Thursday before the House Small Business subcommittee on contracting and workforce. According to a release of his remarks, Kempf said 60 percent of listed contractors receive little or no business.

“In these cases, the sheer volume of contract holders prevents agencies from sifting the wheat from the chaff to find the right offer at the right price,” he said.

The schedules have become so saturated, Kempf said, that some businesses are needlessly spending money to obtain contracts they may not get at all because they have too many competing contracts.

“When contracting officers are bogged down managing thousands of contracts with little to no sales, they can’t focus on adding innovative solutions to the schedules, improving pricing and simplifying the buying experience for our customers,” he said. “Modernizing the schedules will change that.”

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