IT Commodities Frequently Asked Questions
The National Information Technology Commodity Program (NITCP) has established a fast, effective way to fulfill IT commodity and ancillary service needs at deeply discounted prices. Customers can order end-to-end solutions for federal, state, and local government customers nationwide.
An NITCP Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) is an agreement established through the GSA Multiple Award Schedule 70 Contract to fill repetitive needs for IT commodities or services (FAR 8.405-3). It simplifies the filling of recurring needs, while leveraging a customer's buying power by taking advantage of quantity discounts, saving administrative time, and reducing paperwork.
For recurring needs, BPAs facilitate satisfying the customers' requirements with better value through quantity-driven negotiated discounts. Meanwhile, the ordering procedure reduces its administrative efforts by eliminating repetitive activities such as searching for sources, and needing to prepare new, complete solicitations for each order. Customers can use streamlined ordering procedures that allow for quicker turnarounds on orders that incorporate unique terms and conditions (that are not in conflict with the underlying contract) and eliminating repetitive, individual orders, thus reducing administrative costs and time.
Purchasing from GSA NITCP BPAs offers the following advantages over procuring on the open market:
- Contracts and agreements awarded in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations;
- Previously determined competition and Price Reasonableness in accordance with FAR 8.4;
- Streamlined procedures that save time and money;
- Reduced administrative time;
- Previously negotiated discounts;
- Pre-award synopses are not required for purchases;
- Post-award synopses are only required when the opportunity was restricted to a sole source, or a limited number of firms under an approved limited-source justification; and
- Schedule contracts and BPAs offer a wide selection of state-of-the-art commercial supplies and services.
With over one million products, services, and solutions available, NITCP BPAs are able to meet most customers’ needs.
For large or complex requirements, BPA holders can team with other BPA holders and submit a total solution to meet customers’ needs under Contractor Team Arrangements (CTAs). The modification process allows contractors to modify contracts at any time during the contract period. Therefore, contractors can place new items under contract to meet customers’ needs. The latest technology is always available to the customer.
Incidental items may be added to a BPA order as long as:
- It results in the lowest overall cost;
- The appropriate procurement regulations have been applied; and
- The price has been determined to be fair and reasonable.
You can buy software directly through GSA's SmartBUY Program. NITCP's Assisted Acquisition Support Branch can purchase the software via an interagency acquisition process.
Yes. However, maintenance and warranty services must be purchased as ancillary services that are integrated and related to the commodity hardware purchase. They cannot be purchased as separate service items.
Yes. All products and services offered under NITCP BPAs are evaluated and awarded according to the Trade Agreements Act (FAR 25.4). The NITCP BPAs do not offer any non-Trade Agreements Act (TAA)-compliant items such as Apple iPads. However, the NITCP BPAs do offer a variety of TAA-compliant tablets. Read more about Trade Agreements Act Compliance (links to nongovernment website).
Yes. In accordance with FAR 6.102(d)(3), use of the GSA Schedules Program is considered a "competitive procedure" under CICA when the GSA Schedule ordering procedures are followed—i.e., the Ordering Procedures for Supplies, and Services Not Requiring a Statement of Work (FAR 8.405-1) or the Ordering Procedures for Services Requiring a Statement of Work (FAR 8.405-2).
However, these provisions define procedures for enhancing the competition pursuant to the Duncan Hunter Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Pub. Law 110-417).
In general, at least three sources are to receive fair consideration for orders placed under BPAs (except single-award BPAs) when the value of the order exceeds the micro-purchase threshold. If the value of the order exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold, give all BPA holders an opportunity to quote.
If these general standards have not been met, the Contracting Officer must document the circumstances, including an approved limited source justification if applicable or other facts that demonstrate the adequacy of the ordering agency’s attempt to meet the competitiveness standard (FAR 8.405-1(g) and FAR 8.405-2(e)).
Yes, at the ordering activity contracting officer's discretion, orders and BPAs can be set aside for the small business types listed in FAR 19.000(a)(3).
GSA's goal is to be the best value supplier of choice. GSA BPAs are negotiated with the intent of achieving the contractors' "Most Favored Customer" pricing/discounts under similar conditions. To ensure that agencies receive the best value at the lowest overall cost when using the BPAs, agencies are encouraged and empowered to negotiate price reductions, not only for orders over the maximum order threshold, but also when circumstances warrant (see FAR 8.405-4).
You can purchase IT products and solutions using a NITCP BPA through GSA Advantage. GSA Advantage allows you to search for Strategic Sourcing BPAs and the BPA group you are looking to place an order against.
Yes, GSA Schedule contractors are required to accept the purchase card for payments equal to or less than the micro-purchase threshold. GSA Schedule contractors are also encouraged to accept the card for dollar amounts above the micro-purchase threshold. Ordering activities can consider purchase card acceptance when deciding which contractor represents the best value.
To place an order against the BPA using the Government Purchase Card, call the vendor or use the GSA Advantage shopping cart. Comply with all of your local credit card ordering procedures.
The GSA Contractor Reference Guide outlines steps to success and how to make the most of your GSA contract.
The period of performance for each respective BPA group is listed below.
However, the period of performance cannot exceed the period of performance of the respective vendor’s Multiple Award Schedule 70 contract:
- Monitor BPAs – August 15, 2014 through August 14, 2015;
- Computer Laptops, Notebooks, netbooks and desktops BPAs – September 7, 2013 through September 6, 2015;
- Video Teleconference BPAs – August 27, 2013 through August 26, 2015; and
- Data Center Equipment BPAs – August 16, 2013 through August 15, 2015.