Ways to communicate
Changes in the Acquisition environment
How to Market to the Federal Government
New Reverse Auction Platform
FY13 Q1 compared to FY14 Q1
Welcome new Industry Partners!
Happy March Madness month! I hope your favorite basketball team has made it to the NCAA tournament and wish them good luck!
For this month's edition of our Chatter, I would like to focus on you, our industry partners for the Center. In these times of budget crunches and reduced travel, it is as important as ever that we determine ways to continue to communicate effectively.
Below are some avenues that facilitate effective communication that you might be aware of but we wanted to reiterate:
- Marketing Assistance Webinars -
These webinars are held once per quarter for each of the three business lines; 51V, 03FAC, and Energy. They are designed to help those in need of assistance with their GSA contract and learning some of the ins and outs of marketing the contract. This is great for companies with low sales, those new to GSA Schedules, or those just wanting a refresher. If you are interested in attending please contact Kristy Wilbur.
- LinkedIn - (a nongovernment website)
In January we started a LinkedIn group for Schedule 51V and Schedule 03FAC Industry Partners. There is actually an article about this and how to join further into the Newsletter, but this is definitely an exciting addition to the many ways you can network with us.
- Responding to questionnaires we send out-
On occasion we send out questionnaires that help us gather information from you, the industry partner community. This is a great chance for you to speak your mind on the related topic.
Anytime we send out a questionnaire, we are asking for your complete honesty; so we can resolve any issue at hand. Your responses help us gather insight to the topics posted.
- Reading the Chatter-
This quarterly Chatter newsletter is actually a great avenue for you to learn the latest and greatest about the happenings in our Center. We pick the topics most pertinent to you and what we think will benefit you the most.
- Participating in Marvin Steinlauf's Marketing Subcommittee-
Marvin Steinlauf, All Foam Products, runs a Marketing Subcommittee for industry partners under Schedule 03FAC and 51V that have joined the group. He sends out a bimonthly newsletter that contains useful information for all vendors. This is a great way to receive information pertaining to Government marketing and doing business with the government. If interested in joining the group, please email Marvin Steinlauf.
- Emailing or Calling us –
Of course, any of the employees in the Center are available by phone or email. We encourage you to reach out to any of us when you have questions or concerns. We are always here to help. Below is the contact information for our Business Management Division in the Center along with our Supervisory Contract Specialists:
|Dana Cabral - dana.cabral @gsa.gov||Janet Haynes - firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Gary Jenkins – email@example.com||Ellen Upchurch -firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Kristy Wilbur – email@example.com|
|Andrew Pong – firstname.lastname@example.org|
- RFI's sent out in order to help customers –
On occasion we will assist customers with Requests for Information (RFI's). We might do this utilizing the eBuy system or send out an email with the requirements. Once again, eBuy is a great tool for customers, so please take the time to view what is posted and provide a response.
We will continue to look for ways to enhance our communication and if you have any suggestions, please let us know or post your response in our LinkedIN page.
In the acquisition environment changes occur on a daily basis to contract clauses and regulations creating challenges for all of us. Under your 51V Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract you MUST continually maintain and update your contract to ensure pricing is current, products are available continuously, and you are compliant with all new regulations. To assist you, listed below are a few gentle reminders as they relate to your Schedule 51V contract. Are you in compliance?
MANUFACTURER PART NUMBER STANDARDIZATION – It is now a requirement that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Manufacturer Part Number or Wholesaler Number is the actual part number assigned to each product on the contract. This number must be the primary number listed in GSA Advantage! You cannot use a variation of this part number as the primary number in Advantage.
When requesting a modification to your government contract, you must submit the manufacturer part numbers and manufacturer catalogs with each economic price adjustment, deletion, part number change, and/or addition modifications. Be advised that if you are not utilizing the OEM, contracting officers will not process any future modifications under the contract until they can verify compliance with this requirement.
FULL AND BROAD OFFERING: In an effort to provide a total solution to our customers, contractors are now required to offer a full and complete offering of products and services when applying for a government contract under the Schedules program. If your contract does not currently include your entire product offering, please revisit your product/service offerings to ensure an entire solution is available to the government customer when you submit your next modification to your contract.
FRUSTRATED FREIGHT – Orders ultimately bound for overseas destinations often are mislabeled resulting in frustrated freight, which causes the end users unnecessary delays or no receipt of what was ordered. GSA now requires contractors to maintain an order tracking system that permits ordering agencies to obtain the location of an order from the time of shipment to the time/point of delivery and acceptance at delivery. Contractors must now demonstrate an understanding of an order bound for an international end point delivery and provide a sample electronic version of an appropriately marked label in accordance with the FED-STD-123 and MIL-STD-129 to the contracting officer or Industrial Operations Analyst (IOA)when requested.
ABILITYONE - Contractors with products awarded under Special Item Numbers (SINs) 105-001, 105-002, 341-800, 600-001, 612-209, 613-001, 834-100, 834-500, 834-600, 834-700, and 834-900 are now required to be an authorized AbilityOne distributor by the Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled. As such, documentation must immediately be provided to your PCO confirming your company has been approved as an authorized distributor for AbilityOne. You must also define the process the company will be utilizing to meet the AbilityOne Exclusivity Requirement for blocking orders of commercial products that are identified as being identical to or "Essentially the Same" (ETS) as AbilityOne offered products.
If you have any questions, please contact your Contracting Officer immediately.
Digital Certificates Reminder!!
A digital certificate is required in order to submit eMod requests and to submit information required for exercise of an option.
Digital certificates are valid for only two (2) years and only for the person to whom they were originally issued on one specific computer. If the person or persons at your company that held a digital certificate left the company, got a new computer, or obtained the certificate more than a year ago, PLEASE check to make sure at least TWO authorized negotiators on the contract have digital certificates.
Without this certificate, the contract may face expiration. It can take up to two weeks to get a new certificate, so please check this as soon as you are contacted that the contract is being reviewed for possible extension. Information about how to obtain a digital certificate is available on the eOffer/eMod website and Vendor Support Center website at vsc.gsa.gov.
How to Market to the Federal Government
The Facilities Maintenance and Hardware Acquisition Center (FMHAC), Business Management Division (BMD) offers a half day course to all 03FAC and 51V contract holders. This course covers a variety of information to assist our contract holders with the best way to market to the federal government. This course is done via webinar at no charge to you.
During the half day session, you will learn about:
- Who in the federal government buys the products or services you sell;
- How to start developing a contact list utilizing the Fed Biz Ops archives;
- The importance of developing relationships with end users and contracting officers;
- Assistance available to small businesses;
- Where to look for federal buying trends;
- Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC);
- Where to advertise and how to make your company stand out;
- Advantages of having a GSA Schedule contract and the highlights of the MAS program;
- Trade shows;
- Learn about ordering procedures; and,
- FMHAC’s partnering corner.
To sign up for a marketing session please send an email to Kristy Wilbur with your company information, GSA Schedule Contract number and POC information.
Reverse Auction Platform
GSA recently did a major Reverse Auction system enhancement the week of March 17, 2014. The Reverse Auction team has updated the training material to include screen shots and instructions that include the enhancements’ added functionality.
The enhanced functionality allows the buyers to amend auctions. Additionally the bid logic has been changed so that buyers no longer enter starting bids. The starting bid will now be entered by the vendors. Vendors also have the ability to enter a flat bid as their starting bid and an (optional) proxy bid which would be the lowest price they are willing to sell the line item. Bids higher than the apparent low will now be permitted to allow a vendor's bid to be considered for award in case the buyer determines the low bid as technically unacceptable.
Several other enhancements are also included that will make using the GSA Reverse Auction Platform more user friendly and produce better results for both buyers and sellers.
Training on the newly enhanced system resumed biweekly beginning March 19, 2014, for buyers and vendors, we look forward to seeing everyone in training! As always, if your company or procurement organization would like to have closed group training, please comment here or send a request to email@example.com.
We want to thank those of you who responded to the e-Buy questionnaire that was sent out in January. The answers gave us some insight as to why customers are not receiving responses to Requests for Information (RFI's) and Requests for Quotes (RFQ's) they post on the system.
By doing the survey, one thing we found is that companies do not like to respond to RFI's, because they feel they will not get work from this response. Although you might feel like this is the case, it is not true. We ask companies to respond to the RFI's, so customers can gather information on their future procurement. The RFI posted to eBuy is really the same as the Sources Sought Notice you would see on FedBizOpps for non-Schedule procurement. As this is part of market research, customers are asking for statements of capability rather than quotes. It is very important that you respond to these. If they do not get responses to the RFI's, they will think the companies we have on schedule cannot fulfill their need and will go open market. In addition, many of you said the RFI's and RFQ's were out of scope or out of your geographical area. If that is the case, please respond accordingly.
Some responded that they need help understanding e-Buy. If this is the case, please visit the eBuy training tutorial. It also might be helpful to take the buyer training as well as the seller training to see what the customer views on their end. If you have additional questions, please contact the Center’s Business Management Division at (816) 926-6760.
An excellent tool is eBuy, but if the agency customers continue not to get any responses; they may decide not only to stop using eBuy, but perhaps not to use the schedules program at all. Customers may then make the decision to go open market and use other acquisition sources if they feel they are not given the customer service and attention they need.
In order to improve communication and collaboration continuously with industry partners (IP's), The Facilities Maintenance and Hardware Acquisition Center (FMHAC) started a group for Schedule 51V and Schedule 03FAC industry partners. The group was established at the beginning of January 2014 and currently has 126 members from both Schedules and employees of FMHAC. The group was formed and is currently administered by a team in the center that includes Debbie Harms, Janet Haynes, Kristy Wilbur, and Gary Jenkins. Using LinkedIn is a great addition to the variety of methods the FMHAC uses to network with Industry.
Send us a request to join! Go to LinkedIn and search for: GSA 03FAC & 51V Industry Partners
Reduced federal budgets are clearly impacting schedule sales in FY 2014 as we expected. The fact that FMHAC sales are down by 7.4 percent in the first quarter is not a surprise.
51V sales are down substantially. Again, this is not a surprise.
03FAC continues to be a good news story for the center. It is up 9.75 percent in the first quarter and continues to be one of the fastest growing of all the Schedules.
FY 2014 Quarter 1 (Q1) compared to FY 2013 Q1 Only
|Schedule||FY13 Q1||FY14 Q1||Percent Change|
FY14 Q1 compared to FY13 Q1 CUMULATIVE
|Schedule||FY13 Q4||FY14 Q4||Percent Change|
|Contractor Name||Contract Number||Schedule|
|WESTERN ENGRAVERS SUPPLY||GS-21F-032BA||51V|
|CORONADO DISTRIBUTION COMPANY||GS-21F-033BA||51V|
|ASSOCIATED SUPPLY COMPANY||GS-21F-044BA||51V|
|AUTOMOTIVE PAINT & EQUIPMENT||GS-21F-056BA||51V|
|MARYSVILLE PLUMBING AND BUILDING||GS-21F-058BA||51V|
|C & E INDUSTRIAL SERVICES||GS-21F-029BA||03FAC|
|MCKENZIE CONSTRUCTION & SITE DEVELOPMENT||GS-21F-039BA||03FAC|
|DIAL GENERAL ENGINEERING||GS-21F-040BA||03FAC|
|NINETY FIVE SOUTH||GS-21F-041BA||03FAC|
|BOWMAN, FOSTER AND ASSOCIATES||GS-21F-050BA||03FAC|
|ADVANCED SERVICE SOLUTIONS||GS-21F-051BA||03FAC|
|EVANS RIGHT OF WAY CLEARING||GS-21F-057BA||03FAC|
|DRAKE VEGETATION MANAGEMENT||GS-21F-059BA||03FAC|
|WRIGHT BROTHERS AIR CONDITIONING||GS-21F-061BA||03FAC|
|ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY LOGISTICS||GS-21F-062BA||03FAC|
|MOUNTAIN F. ENTERPRISES||GS-21F-063BA||03FAC|
|GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES||GS-21F-065BA||03FAC|
|FEDERAL MARINE AND DEFENSE SERVICES||GS-21F-066BA||03FAC|
|WRIGHT MECHANICAL SERVICES||GS-21F-067BA||03FAC|