The incoming General Services Administration chief should no longer require vendors to give the government their best prices, according to an advisory panel. Instead, GSA should insist that agency customers buying products and services worth at least $100,000 from GSA’s federal supply schedules program obtain at least three bids from vendors before making a purchase.
These and other recommendations are outlined in a report finalized by the Multiple Award Schedule Advisory Panel today. The 15-member panel was formed last year by former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan to suggest ways to improve the federal supply schedules program, also known as the multiple-award schedules program. The panel is made up of industry officials, procurement experts and agency officials.Â
The panel said requiring vendors to offer the government their best prices was of “questionable” value. That’s because agencies using the supply schedules can obtain deeper discounts through negotiations and competition.
The panel also recommended that GSA:
- Develop a market research tool to capture and share the prices buyers obtained for their orders. The tool will help other buyers determine if the prices they’re quoted are fair and reasonable.
- Regularly review pricing on federal supply schedule contracts to ensure they reflect market changes.
- Require firm-fixed pricing for orders that combine products and services, known as solutions.
- Periodically consult with agencies and industry to ensure federal supply schedule offerings are relevant to customer needs.
- Determine if the length of a GSA schedule contract should be shorter than the current 20-year maximum.
Martha Johnson, President Barack Obama’s choice to lead GSA, said at her confirmation hearing this month that she would consider recommendations made by the panel.