Federal Marketplace (FMP) Strategy Fall 2020 Release

GSA’s Federal Marketplace Strategy Fall 2020 Release delivers a mix of policy, process, and technology project updates and improvements to modernize and simplify your buying and selling experience. Check it out and share your feedback by joining our FMP Community of Practice.

Journey Maps

Supplier Journey Map

As a supplier, you go through a series of interactions in different phases to sell solutions in the federal marketplace.

GSA is listening and making improvements to your experience with us and in the federal marketplace! With each release, you learn about what GSA is doing to improve the experience in different phases of the acquisition journey.

Customer Journey Map

As a customer, you go through a series of interactions in different phases of your buying experience for the acquisition of goods and services.

GSA is listening and making improvements to your experience with us and in the federal marketplace! With each release, you learn about what GSA is doing to improve the experience in different phases of the acquisition journey.

Project Improvements

Catalog Management Bot

The GSA Catalog Management bot, released on September 30, 2020, validates the contents of three different systems used to negotiate and approve a catalog and/or price modification. The new bot doesn’t just make it easier for the FAS workforce to review and approve supplier modifications – it also speeds things up. The Catalog Management bot is expected to save 30,000 work hours.

Improvements for Workforce

The Catalog Management bot saves the workforce significant time. Previously, Contracting Officers (CO) and Contracting Specialists (CS) spot checked proposed modifications as some have 10,000 or even 100,000 items to approve. It was impossible for a human to validate every single item. Now, a CO or CS receives a message from the Catalog Management bot letting them know if information uploaded by the supplier matches the changes agreed to in GSA electronic files. If the bot finds no errors, the CO or CS may approve the modification in the Contracting Officer Reporting System without additional spot checking. If the bot finds errors, the CO or CS may forward those errors to the supplier and ask for them to be corrected.

Improvements for Suppliers

Since the bot works overnight and can sift through data more quickly than a human, suppliers benefit from faster modification approvals.

Improvements for Customers

GSA customers benefit from more accurate information on GSA Advantage! While a human is able to spot check for errors, the bot validates every single piece of data being uploaded. This should significantly reduce errors on GSA Advantage!


Verified Product Portal Prototype Set to Deploy in November

The Verified Products Portal (VPP), scheduled to deploy in November, is a portal hosting authoritative product content from manufacturers and wholesalers, including standardized manufacturer names, part numbers, and specifications. The data in the VPP is populated by participating manufacturers and wholesalers and will be used to standardize supplier catalogs, ensuring products across GSA marketplaces are accurately represented.

The feedback received from manufacturers on the benefits, usability, and interface of the VPP has been overwhelmingly positive.

Improvements for Customers

The new VPP provides more consistency, eliminating variability among product representations and across GSA’s marketplaces. The VPP will also allow for richer product content, including videos and product manuals. Customers will have greater confidence in purchasing items from GSA.

Improvements for Suppliers

The VPP prototype was developed using feedback GSA received from suppliers during one-on-one sessions about improving the marketplace. We listened to our industry partners and built the VPP using their feedback on how to make it easier to work with GSA. For example, the VPP will reduce the burden on resellers to provide letters of supply and product specifications. Additionally, manufacturers will be able to upload product information to the VPP directly. For more information reach out to VPP@gsa.gov.

Improvements for Workforce

The VPP will allow for greater automation in reviewing and approving catalog files. It will also assist with supply chain risk management by ensuring products across GSA marketplaces are accurately represented.

Proof of Concept Launch

The Commercial Platforms proof of concept launched in August 2020 and a subset of government purchase card holders from participating agencies are purchasing routine commercial products at the micro-purchase threshold using the awarded e-marketplace platforms (Amazon Business, Fisher Scientific, and Overstock.com).

Improvements for Customers

The proof of concept with awarded e-marketplace platforms is available to a subset of customers within participating agencies. This governmentwide approach enables agencies to gain critical insights into online spend, leverage the government’s buying power, ensure small business participation, and increase supply chain visibility. When purchasing, customers have access to a familiar user experience coupled with easy identification of mandatory sources and small businesses, advance removal of restricted products and suppliers, enhanced market research capabilities, and a simplified order placement and closeout process.

Improvements for Suppliers

The award to multiple e-marketplace platforms and the launch of the proof of concept provides suppliers with multiple options in who to partner with as part of their participation in the program. This means suppliers, such as small businesses and AbilityOne distributors, can work with the platforms that best match their business strategy and goals. In addition, the proof of concept provides an entry point into the government market that’s similar to the way these suppliers are already reaching their consumer customers today.


MAS Consolidation Phase III

Phase III of MAS Consolidation kicked off on August 1, 2020. We are now working with suppliers who have multiple Schedule contracts to get them down to one.

GSA continues to provide training and resources to make it easier for agency customers to buy products, services, and solutions on the consolidated MAS vehicle.

Improvements for Suppliers

Suppliers affected by Phase III have been notified, provided with the necessary resources, and had the opportunity to attend training. Many Phase III suppliers have expressed an eagerness to begin the consolidation process. We expect Phase III to extend through the next 5-10 years due to work occurring on existing Blanket Purchase Agreements.

Improvements for Customers

Customers have options to learn more about the latest guidance and information on the MAS Consolidated Schedule. The MAS Consolidation Overview for Federal Buyers webinar is available on demand, and registration information for future live training sessions is posted to GSA.gov/events. Additionally, customers can consult the MAS Desk Reference for program guidance.


'Ask MAS Anything' Live Sessions for Industry and Extended Deadline for GSA Advantage Catalog Updates

GSA’s MAS PMO continues to provide training and resources for Industry. In September 2020, the MAS PMO launched “Ask MAS Anything” Live Sessions for Industry to ask questions about MAS.

Improvements for Suppliers

GSA’s MAS PMO hosts regular monthly office hours. These webinars cover different topics each month and provide suppliers an opportunity to ask MAS experts anything. Suppliers can register for sessions on the third Thursday of every month. The MAS Interact community provides information about more engagement opportunities and announcements. Sign up if you are not already a member!

To prevent disruptions for our suppliers and customers, the deadline to migrate catalogs from a legacy Schedule to MAS has been extended to March 31, 2021. MAS suppliers must migrate catalogs in SIP or EDI to the consolidated MAS SINs prior to March 31, 2021. Suppliers can use the SIP/EDI Instructions to migrate their catalog file and the MAS Price List Desk Guide for help with updating GSA Price Lists in accordance with clause I-FSS-600 Contract Price Lists. Any catalogs that are not updated by March 31, 2021 will be removed from GSA Advantage.

IOA Contractor Assessment Bot Development

The IOA (Industrial Operations Analyst) Contractor Assessment bot performs many of the administrative tasks needed to populate a contractor assessment template. The new bot was released on September 30, 2020 and is expected to save 4,000 work hours.

Improvements for Workforce

Prior to conducting contractor assessments, IOAs are required to collect contractor information from multiple GSA systems. Through automation, a bot collects much of this information to pre-populate a template for use in the assessment. This improvement allows IOAs to jump right into the assessment and minimize administrative work.


Truman Bot 2.0

The Truman Bot, first introduced in our Summer release, has been expanded to all FAS Acquisition Centers and improved to do even more. Truman automates the creation of Price and Pre-Negotiation Memorandums and conducts exclusion checks at SAM.gov. The improved bot was released on September 30, 2020 and has already assisted with the evaluation of 1,848 new offers.

Improvements for Workforce

With the rollout of Truman Bot 2.0, everyone in the FAS acquisition workforce benefits from time savings in the evaluation of new offers. Truman’s output saves the FAS workforce about 75 minutes for each new offer -- 2,310 hours saved to date. These additional capabilities should lead to improved Procurement Acquisition Lead Times (PALT) by helping Contracting Officers and Specialists spend less time performing the administrative work required to evaluate a new offer.

Digital Experience Consolidating Tools

The goal of the Digital Experience (DX) is to create a user-centered digital presence to support the buying and selling experience delivered through the Federal Marketplace. Through DX GSA is building an online experience that will direct and guide customers along their buying or selling journey, providing tools that are relevant to their stage in the journey. Many of GSA’s online tools will be rationalized, consolidated, and updated to have the same look and feel and support easier buying capabilities and more transparent selling processes.

Improvements for Customers and Suppliers

Popular GSA tools including 8(a) Stars II Pricing, Acquisition Gateway, Interact, CALC, Discovery, IT Solutions Navigator, PET, Prices Paid Portal, Steps to Performance-Based Acquisition, M-RAS, and Solution Finder will be consolidated over time giving customers and suppliers the ability to view historical pricing data for products and services in one centralized location. Customers will also be able to conduct market research that yields GSA-wide results. And, a single-sign-on will provide a seamless customer journey with access to the tools needed to complete transaction(s) with GSA. This self-service buying channel will be in addition to our traditional face-to-face support. The new DX tool is being continuously tested with customers to ensure it meets buying needs.

Improvements for Workforce

The workforce will also benefit from the consolidated pricing tools. And using embedded analytics tools in DX, FAS’s Customer and Stakeholder Engagement organization will be able to leverage business intelligence data to better support and improve strategic customer relationships.

Fleet Systems Modernization Phase II

GSA awarded the task order for FLEET Modernization Advanced Fleet Platform (AFP) to Karsun Solutions, LLC in September 2020. GSA Fleet systems supports in buying, selling, and leasing GSA vehicles and equipment in agencies across government. The modernized system will improve transparency of information and consistency in processes and procedures.

Improvements for Customers

Customers will benefit from a modernized fleet system that is more user friendly and provides a consistent user experience for all their GSA Fleet needs.

Improvements for Workforce

Using a modernized Fleet system, the workforce will no longer have to develop workarounds to augment features missing from old systems. Modern systems will enhance organization of inventory and contracts, so that the workforce can improve customer service and satisfaction.

Improvements for Suppliers

Suppliers benefit from the same conveniences of a modern system that customers and the workforce experience, including improved contract management.

FPDS Reports Migrating to beta.SAM.gov

On October 17, 2020, the FPDS reports transition to beta.SAM.gov completed and the FPDS reports module was retired. This concludes a successful soft launch period that began in March 2020 during which Integrated Award Environment (IAE) continued to make agile, iterative improvements.

Improvements for Customers and Suppliers

Users can create and run Contract Data Reports containing more information across a longer period of time, saving effort and providing a larger data set for analysis. The powerful, new tool used to create and run reports in beta.SAM.gov offers an increase in the maximum number of rows returned from 30,000 to 150,000. The maximum number of years of reportable data in each report has increased from five years to 12.

Enhanced Competition at the Order Level

GSA’s “Enhancing Competition at the Order Level” initiative implements Section 876 of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. This allows FAS to develop acquisition vehicles that create robust competition at the order level rather than on evaluating prices for services priced on an hourly rate basis at the contract level.

GSA issued a Class Deviation CD-2020-14 to begin use of this new authority on non-FSS IDIQ contracts. While the price evaluation exception will eventually be applied governmentwide via a FAR rule (see FAR Case 2018-014), GSA plans to authorize the authority from the Class Deviation on a limited number of new acquisitions when it is determined to be the best acquisition strategy. The ASTRO procurement is the first to use this authority. The goal is to obtain insight into and understanding of the success drivers and impacts when using this authority to inform future rulemaking.

Improvements for Customers

Implementation of Section 876 authority will allow for enhanced competition at the order level, leading to better value and savings for the taxpayer.

Improvements for Workforce

Implementation of Section 876 authority will allow the acquisition workforce to focus on helping customers achieve robust competition at the order level.

Improvements for Suppliers

Implementation of Section 876 authority will make it easier for suppliers to obtain GSA acquisition vehicle contracts and will facilitate better value and savings. Based on stakeholder comments to our Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, GSA is examining when use of this authority represents the best acquisition strategy for our acquisition vehicles. Comments closed September 18, 2020.

MRAS Enhancements

New automation on GSA Advantage! helps users conduct single searches on multiple part numbers and develop a more customized market report based on user needs.

An additional bot automatically updates the MRAS Contractor Directory from GSA elibrary data, ensuring data integrity, improved market research targeting, and less data entry for MRAS and industry.

Improvements for Customers

GSA’s new bot allows users to search multiple part numbers on GSA Advantage! at once. The bot has several key features:

  • It conducts price comparison across suppliers by part number and open market sources and creates a more customized market report.
  • It addresses crucial regulatory compliance. The market report includes a basis of award template outlined in accordance with FAR Part 8.405.

Additionally, the bot ensures up-to-date contract directory data increases RFI response rates through alignment with the overall GSA Category structure and contract data structure.

Improvements for Suppliers

The MRAS Contractor Directory bot now auto-populates RFI responses for specific contact fields.

IOA Reference Guide

GSA’s MAS PMO released the Contractor Assessment Reference Guide on October 6, 2020. This guide is an educational resource developed by GSA to provide the MAS contractor community with valuable information about the GSA’s Industrial Operations Analyst (IOA) Contractor Assessment process.

Improvements for Suppliers

Supplier feedback was captured and carefully considered in the development of the new MAS Contractor Assessment Reference Guide. Historically, the MAS contractor community has had questions and frustrations regarding the IOA Contractor Assessment purpose and process. The MAS Contractor Assessment Reference Guide has been developed with those questions and frustrations in mind to provide Contractor Assessment information in a conversational style and accessible format. Additionally, a Request for Information (RFI) was issued to give industry an opportunity to provide feedback to ensure the final deliverable provided maximum value.

Supply Chain Risk Management Improvement on GSA Advantage!

GSA has implemented a new process to deactivate products on GSA Advantage! that are deemed a significant supply chain risk based on the manufacturer name and/or product description. Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) has become an increasingly important concern for federal agencies, especially around electronics and Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliance.

Improvements for Customers

The new deactivation process increases customer confidence in the MAS catalog offerings available on GSA Advantage! and ensures they receive Section 889 and TAA-compliant products.

Improvements for Suppliers

The deactivation process improves fairness and compliance among the GSA supplier community. The new process helps those in the supplier community who offer Section 889 and TAA-compliant products and ensures an even playing field where fairplay suppliers do not get undersold by cheaper, prohibited sources.

Improvements for Workforce

The new deactivation process also automates product identification and flagging for the workforce, reducing the burden of manually reviewing and identifying products with questionable supply chains.


SCRM Acquisition Vehicle Offerings

GSA has been taking actions to incorporate SCRM into critical acquisition vehicles. These actions include incorporating SCRM requirements into solicitations and incorporating the DoD Cyber Maturity Model Certification into solicitations.

Improvements for Customers

GSA’s priority on SCRM in acquisitions offers customers increased security. To date, GSA has incorporated advanced SCRM requirements in critical offerings, such as EIS, which provides telecommunications and other network services across the government. GSA has included specific language related to DoD Cyber Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) in our 8(a)STARS III and ASTRO solicitation to ensure DoD and other customer agencies have a secure industrial base to order from. Also, SCRM requirements are being incorporated into a new 2nd Generation IT BPA to enhance our supply chain initiatives.

Improvements for Suppliers

GSA has demonstrated our commitment to SCRM in our 8(a)STARS III contract with specific language related to the CMMC, as well as our ASTRO solicitation which will offer selected vendors the opportunity to undergo a trial third party assessment to gage readiness for any future CMMC requirement.


Section 889 FAR Rule Effective August 13, 2020

GSA has proactively supported customers in acquiring goods and services that are compliant with Section 889 Part B of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. On August 13, 2020, the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) initiated automated contract modification processes to incorporate clause FAR 52.204-25 (AUG 2020) into over fifteen thousand indefinite delivery vehicle (IDV) contracts (e.g., FSS, OASIS, EIS, GWAC, etc.).

Improvements for Customers

Incorporating clause FAR 52.204-25 (AUG 2020) into GSA indefinite delivery vehicles (IDVs) protects customers by requiring contractors to immediately notify order level Contracting Officers if prohibited telecommunication equipment and services were used during contract performance. GSA’s use of automated modification processes resulted in the quick incorporation of clause FAR 52.204-25 (AUG 2020) in a high percentage of GSA IDV contracts; which means customers can continue placing orders under those IDVs with no interruption in service. GSA developed the Section 889 Part B Tracking Dashboard to provide customers with a quick and easy way to identify IDVs that have incorporated clause FAR 52.204-25 (AUG 2020). GSA is responsible for ensuring that its requisition-based programs, such as GSA Global Supply, 4PL, and others, are Section 889 Part B compliant, so customers can confidently place orders through these programs.

Improvements for Suppliers

GSA has made a variety of resources on the Section 889 page on Acquisition.gov. These resources include webinar recordings/slides, FAQs and decision trees. Most of these resources are specific to GSA's implementation of the rule, and are, therefore, most helpful to GSA suppliers.

Improvements for Workforce

FAS collaborated with OGP on a variety of resources for the federal acquisition workforce, which is available on the Section 889 page on Acquisition.gov. These resources include FAQs, decision trees, and webinar recordings/slides. Most of these resources are specific to GSA's implementation of the rule, and are, therefore, most relevant to GSA personnel and contractors. There is also an FAI developed 889 course FAC 889 (FED) available on DAU, plus an internal only GSA Section 889 training. The 889 automated modification to incorporate clause FAR 52.204-25 (AUG 2020) into our acquisition vehicles is estimated to save the FAS acquisition workforce 3,528 hours of work.

Last Reviewed: 2020-10-28