Federal Marketplace (FMP) Strategy Summer 2020 Release

GSA's Federal Marketplace Strategy Summer 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 Strategist Network.

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

Phase 2 of MAS Consolidation Complete: We're Under one MAS

July 31 marked the end of Phase 2 of Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Consolidation (contractor acceptance of the Mass Mod) and we are now officially in Phase 3 (multiple contract consolidation).

Improvements for Suppliers

The single MAS contract vehicle is organized in a more logical format with streamlined and consistent terms and conditions. The category structure is similar to the governmentwide categories. This new Schedule lets suppliers offer total solutions with the flexibility to add SINs from across the MAS program.

Improvements for Workforce

The new and improved single MAS vehicle is organized in a more logical format with a category structure similar to the governmentwide categories and consistent, streamlined terms and conditions.

Improvements for Customers

GSA's MAS program has shrunk from 24 Schedules to one, eliminating confusion about which contract to use. Organized similarly to the governmentwide categories and subcategories, it's now easier for customers to search within large categories to find and purchase the products, services, and solutions they need to meet mission requirements. Terms and conditions for the single Schedule can be viewed on gsaelibrary.gsa.gov and, since current suppliers keep their contract numbers, there is no disruption to existing orders. Because the new Special Item Number (SIN) structure better aligns with the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, it is easier to identify the NAICS code applicable to each order.

30-day Advance Notice and Webinar for Refresh #2/Mass Mod for MAS Solicitation

A plain language 30-day advance notice announcing the second refresh/Mass Modification for MAS solicitation 47QSMD20R0001 was posted to GSA Interact on May 14, 2020. Refresh #2 and the corresponding Mass Mod were issued on June 8, 2020.

Improvements for Suppliers

The 30-day advance notice of Refresh #2 benefited suppliers by clearly explaining the intent of Mass Mod A821 and that they needed to accept it in order for the updated terms and conditions to be reflected in their contracts. Suppliers were also able to join a GSA webinar on May 28, 2020 to learn more about the changes and how the refresh affects industry.

eTool Enhancements

As of August 1, 2020, GSA only displays the consolidated MAS in GSA's eLibrary and eBuy and removed all legacy Schedule information for the 24 legacy Schedules. Stakeholders will now have one Schedule to look under to meet their requirements.

Also in August, GSA is releasing several enhancements to GSA's eLibrary and eBuy, including the introduction of Special Item Number (SIN) subgroups. These subgroups were developed for the new consolidated MAS SINs that have broader scopes and a large number of contractors. In GSA eLibrary and eBuy, these subgroups make it easier to identify suppliers that support specific requirements.

The Category Guide in eLibrary was also updated and is now aligned to the new category structure making it easier to navigate to contracts for specific products, services, and solutions.

Another change to our eTools also allows users in eBuy to select SINs such as OLM (Order Level Materials) and ANCILLARY, as options that will allow the contractor to include these items in their quote without expanding the contractor pool.

Improvements for Customers

Customers are now realizing the benefits of having a single Schedule instead of 24 Schedules. The new SIN subgroups on GSA's eLibrary and eBuy provide customers more accuracy in conducting market research and in sharing RFIs and RFQs with qualified vendors. This improvement helps customers make more informed acquisition decisions and select the best suppliers to meet their needs.

Improvements for Suppliers

Suppliers are now realizing the benefits of having a single Schedules instead of 24 Schedules. New functionality in eLibrary and eBuy allows suppliers to select SIN subgroups applicable to the products and services they offer. This improvement helps direct the right RFIs and RFQs to the right suppliers. Suppliers can also see others in their speciality, which helps with business strategy and possible partnership opportunities.

GSA Begins Build-Out of Authoritative Catalog Repository

GSA began its build-out of core infrastructure for the Authoritative Catalog Repository (ACR), a concept we introduced in the FMP Spring Release. The ACR will be a cloud-based master data repository for all catalog data, offering improved catalog management efficiency and accessibility to catalog data.

The first phase of the new master catalog data repository will be integrated with existing catalog management applications, including the Schedule Input Program (SIP) and GSA Advantage!. Future project phases include building the Common Catalog Platform, which will give suppliers a modern user interface for managing their catalog offerings.

Improvements for Workforce

A single source of quality catalog data will provide an easier and more efficient way to review and approve products and services, the ability to automate some of that review, and improved cycle times for bringing new products and services to market.

Improvements for Suppliers

When available, the ACR will shorten the time between a catalog item being approved by the Contracting Officer and those changes being reflected on GSA Advantage! The future state catalog management solution will offer a modern user experience that makes it easier for suppliers to manage their own catalog data and better represent their offerings to customers.

Contract Award to Develop Verified Products Portal (VPP)

GSA recently awarded a contract to XSB to develop a Verified Products Portal (VPP), which will transform how we populate and standardize key product attributes and images. Manufacturers and wholesalers will use the VPP to host authoritative product content, including standardized manufacturer names, part numbers, and specifications. This syndicated content, provided directly from the manufacturers and other verified sources, includes images, product videos, and pdf documents for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products. In addition, the VPP will standardize vendor catalogs, ensuring products across GSA marketplaces are accurately represented.

Improvements for Customers

Developing the VPP will improve the buying experience by standardizing manufacturer names and manufacturer part numbers for a broad array of identical items offered by different vendors. The VPP provides rich syndicated product content such as videos and product manuals. All these features create greater confidence when purchasing items from GSA.

Improvements for Workforce

The creation of the VPP ensures original equipment manufacturers' products are accurately represented in GSA e-commerce platforms, resulting in greater automation in reviewing and approving catalog files. Because catalog data comes directly from the manufacturer or trusted sources, variability among identical products will be eliminated.

Improvements for Suppliers

The VPP ensures products are accurately represented and reduces the burden on resellers to provide letters of supply and product specifications, which may automate Letters of Supply in the future.

Interim Enhancements to Catalog Policies & Instructions

GSA is making interim enhancements to catalog-related policies and instructions. Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Solution Refresh #2 provided consolidated, user-friendly guidance to reduce the administrative burden associated with managing catalogs. This guidance makes it easier for industry partners and the FAS workforce to maintain compliant catalogs. New instructions on the Vendor Support Center (VSC) makes it easier for suppliers to submit temporary price reductions that take effect the same day.

Improvements for Suppliers

The MAS Solicitation Refresh #2, sent out in June, included Contract Requirements and Modification Guidance which provides clarity on the catalog data required to maintain a GSA Schedule Catalog (see SCP-FSS-001 Instructions Applicable to All Offerors section (j)(1)(xiv)).

We revised the Temporary Price Reductions language on the VSC to clarify modification requirements for temporary price reductions. This improvement helps raise awareness to vendors that a modification is also required with a SIP catalog update when temporary price reductions are submitted on GSA Advantage! This language is foundational to a longer term solution where a catalog change, such as a temporary price reduction, automatically initiates a modification with an immediate effective date.

Vendor Priority Information for National Stock Number Items

A new pop-up message on GSA Advantage! provides information highlighting that GSA prioritizes vendors based on fair competition and FAR compliance, which leads to more informed, compliant purchases.

Improvements for Customers

A new “pop-up” message on GSA Advantage! explains how GSA prioritizes listing vendors selling items on the site. The message states GSA Global Supply is the default vendor when an item is available as a National Stock Number (NSN) item. FAR 8.002, Priorities for Use of Mandatory Government Sources, identifies GSA Global Supply as the priority source for NSN items. After the Global Supply vendor, and for non-NSN items, GSA Advantage! lists vendors from low to high price per quantity order. The new message explains these priorities, alleviating confusion.

Improvements for Suppliers

A new pop-up message on GSA Advantage! helps suppliers offering National Stock Number (NSN) items stand out among other vendors.

Contract Award

GSA has awarded contracts to three e-marketplace platform providers as part of implementing the Commercial Platforms program and Section 846 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Awarding these no-cost contracts to Amazon Business, Fisher Scientific, and Overstock.com, Inc. enables GSA to test the use of commercial e-commerce portals for the purchase of routine commercial products below the micro-purchase threshold of $10,000 using a proof-of-concept (for up to three years). This iterative approach allows the program to start small, test, refine, and ultimately grow based on the lessons learned.

Improvements for Customers

These contracts and platforms will be available to federal agencies as part of a governmentwide effort to modernize the buying experience. This buying environment will enable agencies to gain critical insights into online spend, leverage the government's buying power, ensure small business participation and increase supply chain visibility. GSA is partnering with multiple agencies to test the Commercial Platforms proof of concept.

Improvements for Suppliers

The award to multiple e-marketplace platforms provides a choice in who suppliers can partner with, meaning suppliers can work with platforms that best match their business strategy and goals. In addition, the proof of concept provides an entry point into the government market in the same manner suppliers are reaching their consumer customers today. And, new and existing small business suppliers are able to access more formal government purchasing channels through a simplified selling process.

GSA Provides Expert Guidance on COVID-19 Purchasing - Furniture Products & Services, TAA Waiver Extension and Purchase Exceptions Authority Extension

To support the governmentwide COVID-19 response, GSA created guides and tools to help federal agencies, and state and local governments get the materials and services they urgently need to continue mission-critical work.

GSA now offers a buying guide to help customers prepare and maintain office environments and ensure employee safety. The guide includes current GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) sources for:

  • Hygiene Stations - Portable/Freestanding
  • Hygiene Stations - Wall
  • Mobile Marker Boards
  • Screens - Freestanding/Portable
  • Sneeze Guards/Acrylic Screens
  • Social Distancing Signage
  • Temperature Check Stations
  • Social Distancing Consulting Services
  • Safety & Protection Furniture
  • Creative Uses of Existing Furniture

To help agencies respond to COVID-19, GSA has extended the Trade Agreement Act (TAA) exception for essential products through Sept. 30, 2020. This allows buyers to temporarily purchase certain non-TAA compliant products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Improvements for Customers

The GSA COVID-19 Furniture Products & Services buying guide helps customers find suppliers of specialized office environment products and services to create safe spaces for employees and visitors.

The TAA Exception for essential products allows the purchase of non-TAA compliant essential products (e.g., masks, sanitizer, soap, bleach, and disinfectants) through September 30, 2020. Similarly, the Purchase Exemptions from the AbilityOne Commission allow customers to procure approved products on the exemptions list (e.g., sanitizer, gloves, personal hygiene products) from suppliers other than Ability One through September 30, 2020.

Improvements for Suppliers

The TAA Exception allows suppliers, under MAS contracts for certain products, to provide non-TAA compliant essential products (e.g., masks, sanitizer, soap, bleach, disinfectants) to government customers through September 30, 2020.

New Assisted Acquisition Authority Helps with Software Development Projects

GSA's 18F now offers an assisted acquisition service for customers needing expert advice developing requirements and managing acquisitions for agile software development projects under $10M.

This new service helps agencies tackle challenging IT projects with help from industry partners with the capabilities and experience to leverage modern IT best practices.

GSA's cross-functional 18F team of software developers, engineers, product managers, strategists, and user experience experts provide coaching services to help agencies adopt a user-focused approach to software development and reduce overall project risk.

In July 2020, GSA made the first award under this acquisition authority for their client the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). To learn more about these agile shared services, visit 18F's website.

Improvements for Customers

GSA's 18F now offers full service support for agile contracting and coaching on using modern best practices to manage software development projects.

New ASSIST Modernization Preview & Tutorials

ASSIST is previewing new features and functionality via tutorials. The ASSIST tutorials offer an overview of the new features and capabilities that will make working with FAS's assisted acquisition offices easier and more efficient.

Improvements for Customers, Suppliers, & Workforce

The new tutorials help client agencies, the contractor communities, and the assisted acquisition workforce learn about and prepare for changes coming to ASSIST in the fall.

Truman Bot Enhancements

The Truman Bot is now used at all FAS Acquisition Centers and has already assisted with the evaluation of 1,399 offers by creating Price and Pre-Negotiation Memorandums and conducting exclusion checks at SAM.gov. Truman's output saves the FAS workforce about 75 minutes per each new offer -- 1,748 hours saved to date.

Improvements for Workforce

The Truman bot has completed its pilot phase and will run daily without human interaction by the end of the fourth quarter.

Truman is regularly revised to add more capabilities and will be updated to align with the new MAS templates, such as those for the Price and Pre-Negotiation Memorandum (released July 2020).

These additional capabilities should lead to improved Procurement Acquisition Lead Times (PALT) as Contracting Officers and Specialists spend less time performing the administrative work required to evaluate a new offer.

Quick Decisions Dashboard (QDD)

The Quick Decisions Dashboard (QDD) provides federal acquisition professionals with access to comparative analytics and market research data. This helps them make informed decisions while ensuring that the President's Management Agenda goals for Category Management are met for Spend Under Management (SUM), Best In Class (BIC) and that Tier 0 Contract Reductions.

Improvements for Customers

The Quick Decisions Dashboard helps government acquisition professionals obtain important information on government and agency-wide contract solutions that can meet Category Management goals. Acquisition professionals also need up-to-date comparative pricing information to quickly determine the best contract solution for their requirements. The Quick Decisions Dashboard helps users rapidly search by product, vendor, and contract information through the lens of Category Management and identify the right contract vehicles for their needs and goals. Contracting officers can use the product search feature to:

  • view competitive pricing data on BIC solutions
  • look up open market or expiring contracts
  • review available government-wide BIC or Tier 2 solutions that may be options for transition
  • search vendor names (or DUNS) to identify government and agency-wide solutions on which those vendors can compete.

Improved Small Business Dashboard and Expanded Access for Public Users

The Small Business Dashboard has been improved and is now available for public use.

This dashboard helps agencies and industry quickly assess how the federal government uses small businesses within the Category Management program. It also includes reporting on vendor counts and obligations, vendor retention, and socio-economic groupings on the Small Business Administration's Scorecard, such as HubZone and Veteran-Owned Businesses.

Improvements for Suppliers

We've greatly expanded the public view of the Small Business Dashboard, giving companies greater access to data that can be used to help identify opportunities and decide when to respond to an RFQ. The dashboard data can help vendors assess agency progress towards small business goals and see where agencies have new small business contracts that make it easier for them to connect with qualified small businesses.

Improvements for Customers

The agency view of the Small Business Dashboard has been enhanced for additional transparency. Users can analyze small business data and trends across categories, Spend Under Management (SUM) tiers, and specific BIC contracts. Agency purchasing managers also have greatly expanded data export capabilities. Data exports now include all small business indicators, contract name, SUM Tier, vendor name, set aside type and reference Procurement Instrument Identifier (PIID).

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Update

As GSA Advantage! moves users to more secure two-factor authentication (2FA), we're also making it easier for users to log in by sending required one-time password codes through multiple methods. 2FA will be available to new GSA Advantage! users first, then rolled out to existing users in phases.

Improvements for Customers

We heard the one-time password (OTP) code required for GSA Advantage! authentication was sometimes blocked when delivered via email. To make logging in easier, we're now sending OTP codes to new users through multiple methods that include SMS/text, a voice call, or Google Authenticator.

Last Reviewed: 2022-05-23