A Deeper Look into Best-In-Class (BIC) Contract Vehicles
As a GSA Schedule contractor, you have a lot of contracting opportunities available to you. Yes, you are already a part of the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program, but with this designation you are able to compete for a range of other contracting vehicles. One of them is Best-In-Class (BIC) contract vehicles, which are pre-vetted and well managed solutions available to multiple government agencies. GSA alone has several BIC vehicles, including the upcoming Services MAC, or also referred to as OASIS+. Here's a deeper look into Best-In-Class contract vehicles.
What Does Best-In-Class (BIC) Mean?
Government contract vehicles labeled “Best-In-Class” (BIC) are deemed the highest performing contracts by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The idea for BIC was created in 2014 when the OMB released a memo about a new strategic mission for federal acquisitions including a strategy focused on best value over lowest price.
Today, BIC is a preferred and sometimes mandatory government-wide acquisition designation for contract vehicles. But why are they deemed "best in their class"? These contracts can be used by multiple agencies and satisfy key criteria defined by the OMB, which includes:
- Allows acquisition experts to take advantage of pre-vetted, governmentwide solutions
- Supports governmentwide migration to solutions that are mature and market-proven
- Assists in the optimization of spend, within the governmentwide category management framework
- Increases the transactional data available for agency level and governmentwide analysis of buying behavior.
Overall, Best-In-Class contract vehicles reduce administrative costs, increase transparency, reduce contract duplication, and eliminate practices that dilute the government's purchasing power.
The Process for Evaluating and Assessing BIC Vehicles
Spend Under Management (SUM) is one of the primary measurements to determine a BIC designation. SUM is defined by the OMB as "the percentage of an organization's spend that is actively managed according to category management principles--or smart decision-making to buy similar goods and services through best-value solutions."
First, experts examine the vehicle on a macrolevel, checking to see if the vehicle shows signs of past success, growing knowledge, maximum value, and keen awareness. If the vehicle appears to meet these standards, it is then judged on a more nuanced scale.
Now that a vehicle has passed the preliminary test for becoming a BIC contract, it must go through a vigorous process, where each detail of the contract is examined with a fine-tooth comb.
Finally, the contract vehicle endures one last evaluation. OMB will look to see if the contract in question meets five remaining standards:
- Rigorous requirements and definitions and planning processes
- Appropriate pricing strategies
- Data-driven demand management strategies
- Category and performance management practices
- Independently validated review
Examples of Best-In Class Contract Vehicles
GSA has several active Best-In-Class vehicles. While they may not currently be on-ramping any new awardees, there may be opportunities in the future. However, there is an upcoming BIC contract, called Services Multi-Agency Contract (MAC) or OASIS+ that contractors should pay attention to.
Here's a list of current BIC contract vehicles:
- 8(a) STARS III
- Alliant 2
- NASA SEWP
- VETS 2
- CIO-SP4 (awaiting awards)
Parts of the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program are also considered Best-In-Class such as the MAS Information Technology Category. The upcoming Services MAC or OASIS+ is set to replace the OASIS contract vehicle and will support GSA's Office of Professional Services and Human Capital (PSHC).
Benefits for Contractors Using a BIC Contract Vehicle
Many contractors like to diversify their contract portfolio in order to increase the number of selling avenues they have and to become a more well-rounded and secure government contractor. For instance, a company that has just one vehicle could be heavily impacted if the market for that product or service withers away. On the other hand, a company with multiple vehicles will have security in their sales, even if one industry tapers off.
Just like contract diversification supports getting a BIC, so does track record. Having a BIC on your list of contracts proves that your company is a viable option, and that it has experience working with a genuine contract vehicle. This could make you stand out to future clients when attempting to onboard.
Benefits for Agencies Using a BIC Contract Vehicle
Agencies will see two specific benefits in using a BIC contract vehicle. First, by narrowing the scope to a select few pre-vetted contract vehicles, agencies will save hours researching to find what they’re looking for. Because of this, they can spend more time looking into the details of BIC contract vehicles.
Having a BIC contract also supports a strong market. While there is no one hundred percent guarantee that a contract deal will succeed, market trends do support growth with BICs. With a trustworthy agency like OMB looking out for agencies’ best interests, there is safety in choosing to use a BIC contract vehicle.
Taking Advantage of Government Contracting Opportunities
Getting on a GSA Schedule is just the first step to winning government business. Unfortunately, most contractors cannot passively sit back and watch the orders flow in by the thousands. A successful GSA contractor is proactive about marketing their solutions as well as searching for relevant contracting opportunities. Fortunately, GSA has several tools available for you to take advantage of and sell your solutions or bid on contracts, such as GSA Advantage! or GSA eBuy.
If you have questions about how you can search for contracting opportunities or make sure your GSA Schedule is updated and prepared for competition, feel free to contact one of our experienced consultants. For more information on how to go after contracting opportunities, check out our webinar below.
About Stephanie Hagan
Stephanie Hagan is the Content Writer and Digital Editor for Winvale where she helps the marketing department continue to develop and distribute GSA and government contracting content. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.