By: John Abel on June 3rd, 2020
GSA eBuy: A New Look for 2020
GSA Schedule | Technology | 5 Min Read
For the first time in a long time, GSA has updated the look for the eBuy Contractor Portal. The changes went live this past Sunday, May 31st and are now available for contractors to view once logged into the system. At first glance, the login screen does not look much different than before, but the major change in the eBuy experience comes after logging in with your GSA MAS Contract number and password.
GSA eBuy is an online procurement tool that allows for both government buyers (eligible entities) and sellers (GSA Contract holders) to come together in one easy to use electronic meeting. Per GSA’s Vendor Support Center, the new design is meant to improve the eBuy Contractor experience and enhance the federal marketplace experience. The portal’s new look features a modern design that is meant to be easier to navigate. Similarly to the MAS Consolidation updates, GSA is trending toward a more efficient and contractor-friendly future in terms of usability and collaboration. A few of the design features highlighted in the notice sent out to contractors on May 28th are:
- Improved look and feel for users
- New layout of the site that is fully responsive to any user on any size screen or device type
- Fewer pages to navigate to, in effort to reduce duplication and confusion, while increasing access
- Less clutter, which makes it easier for contractors to find exactly what they are looking for
- Design that is fully compliant with U.S. Web Design System and 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act
The best illustration of these design improvements is within the landing page for contractors that are logged into the portal. The page now features three main functions of the eBuy portal that are essential for contractors seeking out opportunities for their company. Search, Select, and Respond are all listed front and center, along with the “Find Opportunities Now” button underneath (see fig. 1 below). This is a welcome deviation from the old layout, which featured multiple tabs and pages for each RFQ/RFP which could be confusing to navigate, especially for first time users.
Once “Find Opportunities Now” is selected, the new site’s advanced functionality is evident. You can see this in the new method of displaying active RFQs and RFPs applicable to your GSA MAS contract. In a cleaner looking search field and display table below that shows opportunities, contractors are still able to search for RFQs by agency name, RFQ ID, or key words listed in the RFQ title, description, line items, or attachments (see fig. 2 below). Important notices will be displayed at the top of the search page, and results displayed below in the table-style list of results. This array of search parameters should make it as easy as possible for contractors to locate the exact opportunity they are searching for, and even scroll for relevant opportunities that you may not know are active for the SINs on your contract.
Responding to RFQs/RFPs
Once you have selected an RFQ/RFP that you think may be applicable to your company’s offering, the Quote Response Preparation page will be displayed. All of the same relevant information will still display, but in a more visually pleasing manner. Information such as RFQ ID, Description, Contact, Issue/Close Date, Category, Attachments, and more will be easy to find, which will streamline the time spent searching and could increase the volume of opportunities that you are able to respond to over a given amount of time.
Below the information, you will see the area in which contractors are able to prepare quotes and upload attachments (see fig. 3 below). You’ll notice that the larger fonts, coupled with the modern look, makes it easier to more clearly see where you should click, what to upload, and what information to insert into the fields of entry. An important note for contractors when responding to RFQs – ALWAYS make sure to click through the entire submission process to properly respond to an opportunity. Contractors have the ability to save drafts of quote submission, but you always want to ensure that completed quotes are fully submitted once finalized.
In addition to the changes contractors will see in the quote/proposal submission process, you will also be able to more easily access your open quotes that are filterable by Type and Status, as well as your contractor profile, and message inbox, which are all displayed across the grounded bar of every page within the portal.
Finally, a note regarding one of the most common questions that our consulting team receives from our clients on a regular basis: “Can I add a POC to GSA eBuy?”. The answer is most definitely, YES! Under the “Profile” tab (displayed at the top of each page), you will be able to view your applicable POCs for each SIN that is awarded to your GSA MAS contract.
By simply selecting the “Add a new POC to a Category” button under the "Profile" tab, you will be able to add an additional point of contact to receive eBuy notices regarding RFQs and RFPs for any SIN or Large Category they are associated with. It is important to note POCs added in the eBuy system are not required to be formally added to your GSA MAS Contract by formal modification. Simply enter the new POC’s information and they will be added with the ability to receive e-mail notices from the eBuy system.
GSA eBuy’s overhaul is just the latest in GSA’s efforts to take a more technologically advanced and efficient approach to the future of MAS contracting. For questions about GSA eBuy or other GSA breaking news, contact us or subscribe to our weekly blog series.