By: Gloria Larkin as published in Business Monthly February 2018
The General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced the release of a new and updated contract to allow new vendors to submit contracts through its Schedule 75 to sell office supplies to federal government agencies. In 2010, the GSA had closed the contract so that only the 300+ current contract holders could bid and sell office products using that contract vehicle.
The new contract is slated for release on January 16, 2018 and includes all legacy office services such as on-site stores, customizing and imprinting, and traditional office products such as pens, paper, shredders, CDs, office appliances and restroom products as well as a new slate of products and services. The Schedule 75 will include new “enhanced Special Item Numbers,” which will be known as Office Supplies Fourth Generation (OS4).
Courtney Fairchild, President and CEO of Global Services, which recently celebrated their 20th anniversary specializing in GSA Schedules and other federal contracts support services has provided insight to this complicated contract and states “Understanding the difference between the new and old Special Item Numbers (SINs) and the full contract offer requirements can be a challenge. Be sure to read and digest the entire solicitation prior to putting your offer together.”
All size businesses are welcome to submit offers. When asked who should take advantage of this contract Ms. Fairchild replied “Companies that are currently selling office supply products to government or private sector and have customers who are confirmed users of either the older SINs or the new OS4 contract SINs stand to benefit from submitting a contract offer. Be sure to talk to government customers to understand how they want to purchase specific products or services. This will ensure that a company pursues the SINs that will result in the highest sales.”
“GSA has decided to now keep all SINs for this Office Supplies Schedule open continuously to increase the access for small businesses and increase price competition for their government customers. This will also allow companies to be able to prepare offers in their own timeframe.” Ms. Fairchild continued with a timing recommendation by stating “The folks at GSA are not certain how many companies or how quickly the companies will submit new offers so there is no timeline they can point to right now. GSA Schedule submissions negotiations and approval can range from office to office anywhere from 4-12 months depending on the workload.”
Since October 2010, GSA’s Schedule 75 for Office Products and Supplies had been closed to new contract offers. However, sales on the Schedule remain comparatively high. GSA reports that in FY 2016, Schedule 75 sales were $367.3M—significantly higher than the $213.8M sold under GSA’s Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative for Office Supplies Third Generation (FSSI OS3). Now that the GSA is reopening Schedule 75 to new contract offers, in the process, it is making a number of changes.
GSA has included new technical requirements for vendors including a demonstrated ability to meet all environmental reporting and green product requirements, a demonstrated system to remain compliant with the Trade Agreements Act, providing an updated Letter of Supply (LOS), special transactional data reporting, must maintain a satisfactory record of past performance and be Ability-One certified.
Companies considering submitting an Office Supplies Schedule 75 contract offer may choose to add either the legacy SINs, the new OS4 SINs or both. GSA is providing several resources to help companies understand the process to research, compare and validate the contract offer process. More information is available through the GSA web site at https://interact.gsa.gov.
One may subscribe to Schedule 75 updates and gain access to recordings of recent GSA webinars here: https://interact.gsa.gov/document/important-change-notice-schedule-75-re-opening-multiple-award-schedule-mas-75-legacy-sins.