For several years GSA has used a ‘strategic sourcing’ approach for certain products and services.
The Strategic Sourcing approach meant that GSA issued an RFP to all GSA contract holders for a specific product or service, and made awards to a limited number of these companies – so only a small sub-set of GSA contract holders became eligible.
While this approach helped GSA save a great deal of money, many small business GSA contract holders were left out in the cold.
GSA’s latest round of strategic sourcing for office supplies includes a significant change. The latest open season RFP will allow small businesses WITHOUT a current GSA contract to also compete for a place at the table.
This would seem to undermine the whole premise of the GSA schedules program, where a small business takes the time to submit documentation about their company, discloses their commercial sales practices, and negotiates specific terms with GSA for a 5-year contract.
Having a GSA contract means that procurement officers are assured that the small business has been pre-approved, is financially secure, and offers its best prices to GSA.
This new RFP will allow small office supply businesses who haven’t been through this approval process to compete with those who have……
Strategic sourcing is currently being used for office supplies, delivery and print management services. Janitorial and cleaning supplies (JanSan) and maintenance/repair/operations (MRO) services are coming under the strategic sourcing umbrella later this year.