Ordering activities have considerable latitude in structuring their procurement and can consider both price and other factors (e.g., past performance, technical capabilities and qualifications of key personnel) in selecting Schedule contractors.
When determining “best value” an ordering activity may take advantage of the full spectrum of best value techniques as defined in FAR 2.101, from lowest-priced technically acceptable through a full trade-off process. When determining which non-price evaluation factors to include in an RFQ, ordering activities should decide how factors will be considered and their relative importance to other non-price factors.
Ordering activities should consider:
- Item characteristics:
- Which commercial services/supplies match most closely with the identified activity requirement?
- Is there an apparent trade-off between service/supply features and price?
- Past performance:
- Does available information indicate that Schedule contractors or other available sources have significantly different past performance records?
- Does available information indicate that specialized performance experience will significantly improve a contractor’s chance of success in meeting the requirement?
- Do Schedule contractors or other suppliers offer warranties?
- Do available warranties protect customers from significant risk?
- Are the warranties offered by Schedule contractors comparable to those offered by other sources in the market?
- If warranties are offered, does the activity have the administrative tracking and logistics capabilities necessary to take advantage of them?
- Ownership costs:
- What installation costs are associated with the various supplies that meet identified requirements?
- What is the reliability of the various supplies that meet identified requirements (e.g., average time between failures)?
- What are the historical repair costs for the various supplies?
- What are the historical routine maintenance costs for the various supplies?
- What are the disposal costs associated with the various supplies?
- Maintenance availability:
- Is continuing maintenance required for the supply to meet activity requirements?
- Do Schedule contractors or the suppliers provide maintenance for the identified supply?
- Do Schedule contractors or other suppliers provide maintenance in the area(s) where the supply is most likely to be used?
- If the Schedule contractor is not the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), is there an agreement in place that will ensure services provided by the Schedule contractor will not void the warranty?
- Useful life:
- How long are available supplies expected to remain useful?
- Are there any significant differences in useful life between supplies?
- Environmental and energy efficiency:
- Are the products to be supplied or used designated green products, as listed in the Green Products Compilation?
- Do the products to be supplied or used meet the agency’s strategic sustainability performance plan goals or the agency toxic and hazardous chemical management plan?
- Do the products to be supplied or used generate hazardous waste, or can they be disposed as solid waste or recycled at the end of their useful life?
- Does the contractor offer a take-back program for products?
- Do the products to be supplied or used meet applicable government-required energy efficiency standards, water efficiency standards, recycled or biobased content, or other energy or environmental requirements?
- Does the contractor offer opportunities for waste prevention, such as reduced packaging or packaging take-back programs?
- Technical qualifications:
- Are there significant differences in provider/supplier technical qualifications?
- If for services, is the proposed labor mix likely to result in successful performance?
- If the requirement is performance-based, has the contractor proposed appropriate performance standards and a quality assurance plan that measure the right things in order to ensure success?
- Are there unique or specialized qualifications required to meet the activity requirement?
- Are there any significant differences between the technical qualifications of Schedule contractors and other firms in the industry?
- Training and customer support issues:
- Is training or other customer support important to the user of the supply or service?
- Do Schedule contractors or other suppliers offer customers significantly different levels of training or other customer support?
- Transportation costs:
If items are priced other than FOB destination, will the transportation cost be significantly different for shipments from different sellers?
- Administrative costs:
- Will the administrative costs of contracting with one prospective contractor likely be different from contracting with another? In other words, will it cost more in time and/or money to contract with one seller than it will to contract with another?
- Will the administrative costs of contracting with a Schedule contractor likely be different from those associated with other commercial suppliers?
(Normally administrative costs are much lower for Schedule orders.)
- Delivery and performance terms:
- Can Schedule contractors meet activity delivery or performance requirements?
- Is the delivery or performance available from Schedule contractors significantly different from the delivery or performance available from other sources?
The benefits of making a “Best Value” selection decision can result in improved mission performance and lower life-cycle costs, while encouraging Schedule contractors to provide their best supplies and services to the government.
The fundamental goal of GSA in managing the Schedules program is to provide an array of procurement choices that provides sufficient flexibility to satisfy customers in terms of choice, price, quality and timeliness of delivery.
Best Value Factor – Socioeconomic Factors
GSA through the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program is committed to increasing contracting opportunities for small business and assisting ordering activities in achieving or exceeding their socio-economic goals.
To support this effort, ordering activities may, in their best value determination, consider the Schedule contractor’s socioeconomic status when:
a) The order is estimated to exceed the micro-purchase threshold, ordering activities seeking to use the MAS program to achieve their agency small businesses goals may make socioeconomic status a primary evaluation factor when making a best value determination (see FAR 8.405-2 (d) and 8.405-5 (b)).
b) A Request For Quote (RFQ) is issued, it shall reflect that one of the primary evaluation factors is achieving the agency’s socio-economic goals.
c) Accepting work from a requiring activity, the ordering activity must ask and receive confirmation in writing that the requiring activity desires to achieve one of its socioeconomic goals and specify which goal.
d) Place a copy of the requirements document with the applicable confirmation in the contract or order file. The Acquisition Plan should indicate which socioeconomic objective is to be achieved through the respective acquisition.
Pursuant to FAR Subpart 8.405-5, ordering activities may, at their discretion, set aside orders or BPAs for small businesses, as defined in FAR Part 19.000(a)(3).
If the response to any of the following questions is “yes,” competition may be unnecessarily limited:
- Is the SOW narrowly defined with overly restrictive specifications or performance standards?
- Is the order written in such a way as to create a continuous arrangement with the same contractor?
- Was the requirement obtained through the use of restricted competition not in accordance with the procedures in FAR 8.405-6?
Is it a brand name or equivalent? Refer to “For Customers — Ordering from Schedules, Use of Brand Name Specifications” located at www.gsa.gov/schedules.