FSSI OS4 Frequently Asked Questions
By purchasing office supplies through OS4, customers are able to ensure that they are meeting all relevant mandates and procurement regulations, most notably for “green” or sustainable items. The items on OS4, where applicable, meet product guidelines for green products, and when purchased in a large quantity (i.e. by meeting the minimum purchasing thresholds), help reduce the number of deliveries and transactions and help meet federal sustainability initiatives.
In addition, by using your GSA SmartPay card, you will automatically get the discounted OS4 prices, and your agency will benefit by getting credit card refunds in the process. Unlike buying office supplies retail, you can be assured that you are not paying sales tax, which your agency can monitor by receiving spend data to help keep prices down in the future. The contract prices have been proven to be better than any mass pricing discounts agencies can get on their own, and OS4 is easy to use, especially through GSA Advantage!®.
GSA’s goal is to make OS4 easy to use, and make it as easy as possible for all purchasing authorities and purchase cardholders to procure office supplies that are compliant with all applicable mandates.
For orders at or below the micro-purchase threshold, use your GSA SmartPay card to make a purchase in the FSSI Office Supplies aisle of GSA Advantage! This is available on GSA Advantage! by selecting "Office Supplies and Equipment – FSSI" on the left side of the page.
FedMall, walking into a vendor’s store, or otherwise contacting the vendor directly are other means of buying office supplies through OS4, though they are not as streamlined or easy to measure as purchasing through GSA Advantage!
For orders over the micro-purchase threshold, please check with your Contracting Officer to understand your agency’s specific purchasing policy.
GSA Eligibility Order 4800.21, Eligibility to Use GSA Sources of Supply and Services [PDF - 446 KB] provides detailed information regarding the agencies and organizations that are eligible to use GSA Schedule contracts.
- All federal agencies and activities in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
- Government contractors authorized in writing by a federal agency pursuant to 48 CFR 51.1.
- Mixed ownership government corporations* (as defined in the Government Corporation Control Act of 1945, as amended).
- The government of the District of Columbia.
- Other activities and organizations authorized by statute or regulation to use GSA as a source of supply.
* There are 18 of these quasi-government organizations, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Amtrack. These organizations typically have fewer regulatory guidelines for purchasing than the federal government, and are authorized by statute to use the Schedules Program.
Many agencies have mandated that the use of OS4. Some agencies have designated which OS4 contractors to utilize, based on specific agency mandates. The information is provided through your agency’s FSSI representative.
Standard delivery is four business days after receipt of order. Express, desktop, secure, and international delivery are all available and may carry an extra fee. Orders below the minimum threshold of $100 (may be lower depending on the vendor) may also carry a convenience fee. In most circumstances, purchasing authorities and purchase cardholders can and should plan ahead for the procurement and delivery of office supplies. By doing so, the federal workforce generates two major benefits: First, we significantly decrease costs, as overnight delivery can add (15-20 percent 15-20%) of the cost of the item with some vendors; second, by placing fewer and larger orders, we reduce our impact on the environment and streamline the process for our employees.
One significant way to reduce the total cost of your order is to increase the order size. This also reduces the costs of all items in the OS4 over time. This process results in less paperwork, less tracking, and less reconciliation. In addition, larger and fewer orders means that there are fewer trucks on the road making deliveries, reducing the federal government’s financial and environmental footprint. GSA recommends that you consolidate your orders so that you have fewer total transactions to manage. However, because it is not always possible to combine orders or otherwise meet the minimum order amount, some OS4 vendors will process smaller orders with an additional convenience fee.
Orders below the micro-purchase threshold can be placed with any Schedule contractor that can meet your agency’s needs. For orders exceeding the micro-purchase threshold, follow the procedures in FAR 8.405-1 or 8.405-2.
Yes. All contractors are required to remain AbilityOne certified resellers.
The agency is also committed to increasing small business participation in strategic sourcing initiatives and OS4 is expected to increase the volume of spend going to small businesses, while also delivering government savings.GSA estimates that more than $8 out of every $10 spent on OS4 purchasing will go to small businesses.
Yes. The items on the OS4 contracts meet Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG), provide for toner recycling, and include a vast array of remanufactured items. The delivery terms reduce the total number of shipments.
In general, the OS4 program includes a wide range of products, brands, and part numbers, although not every brand or part number may be included. By purchasing office supplies through OS4, customers are able to ensure that they are meeting all relevant mandates and procurement regulations (TAA, EO 13834). We recommend purchasing an item that is a “close second” to the office supply you are intending to buy.
OS4 includes a Delivery Tier Discount structure. Percentage discounts are included on orders of $300 and more with some vendors.
For a list of OS4 awarded vendors, visit Office Supply Fourth Generation (OS4) Awarded Vendors. OS4 was a full and open competition, and extensive competition was received. Not every proposal submitted received an award.
Please keep in mind that OS4 items meet all relevant federal procurement mandates. If you cannot find the item you are looking for we recommend considering a similar item.