How to Handle GSA Schedule Deliveries
GSA Schedule | 4 Min Read
GSA Schedule deliveries are an essential part of maintaining not only a good relationship with buyers but also maintaining contract compliance. When creating an offer, you establish shipping/delivery terms and abiding by these terms is an essential part of compliance. In an effort to help buyers and sellers, GSA Advantage! has been sending out an order status for contract holders.
This status takes shipping/delivery statuses and times and assigns a score (in percentage). GSA has recently cracked down on GSA Advantage! order status, and if this score gets below 50%, your business could be in jeopardy of being suspended by GSA Advantage!. This is just one of the many reasons it’s essential that you know your company’s delivery terms and best practices associated with them.
GSA Schedule Shipping and Delivery Terms
To establish best practices, it’s important to know what your shipping/delivery terms are and when the responsibility transfers. The two options offered by GSA are freight on board (FOB) Origin or FOB Destination. These establish where the liability responsibility transfers from the seller to the buyer and who the owner is during transport and shipment.
FOB Origin means that the transfer of ownership occurs as soon as the goods are on board the transport. The seller is responsible for loading the items onto the transport, but the buyer is responsible as soon as the seller loads them. This also means that the buyer is responsible for the shipping/delivery costs.
The other option, FOB Destination, means that the transfer of ownership happens when the items are unloaded at their final destination. The seller is responsible for loading, delivering, and unloading all of the items purchased. When the FOB terms are Destination, the seller pays the shipping/delivery costs but retains liability for the goods during transit.
Each GSA contract has specific shipping terms as it relates to FOB status and the timeframe with which items will be shipped and delivered. If your shipping terms are FOB Origin, 15 days, that means you have 15 calendar days from receipt of order to have the goods loaded onto the transport. Alternatively, if your shipping terms are FOB Destination, 15 days, that means you have 15 calendar says to get the products delivered to the buyer’s doorstep. For Destination, the time for shipping is not taken into consideration, it only matters when the products are in the hands of the buyer.
When these terms are established, you are expected to adhere to them to maintain contract compliance. As we have already seen with GSA Advantage!, your contract can be suspended if you do not maintain compliance with pre-determined shipping terms.
What if My GSA Schedule Order is Delivered Late?
We have talked about potential suspension from GSA Advantage! if your delivery scores are below 50%, but that is not the only consequence. The most immediate consequence is losing the trust and relationship with your customer. Late delivery can cause a damaged reputation as well as the potential loss of repeat business. Of course, there’s a difference between having one late delivery due to a delay in manufacturing and having multiple late deliveries. Long term consequences of habitual delivery lateness could be seen during option extension evaluations. GSA monitors and records instances of late delivery/non-compliant delivery and will consider them when they decide whether you are able to extend your GSA contract for another 5 years.
Can I Deliver Items Early or Have Expedited Shipping?
This question is why it’s so important to have good communication with your buyers. You can deliver early depending on the customer type and the product sold. For example, a small orders, smaller items, and low cost items might be easier to have delivered early. Whereas large orders, large items, or expensive items will require more coordination and should be delivered on the date decided with the customer. You don’t want to promise what you can’t deliver.
Expedited delivery is also possible, but under the right circumstances. If you have expedited contract terms negotiated into your contract, then you may charge more for expedited delivery and just follow the pricing set by your GSA Schedule. However, if expedited delivery is not included in your contract, then you will have to mark expedited delivery as an Open Market item, and it gets a little more complicated. Either way, you need to communicate with your buyer the increased cost of expedited delivery.
What if You Provide Services through Your GSA Schedule?
This can get a bit tricky depending on the services provided but as we talk about delivery, it can also be used for deliverables. Deliverables are negotiated at the task order level so you can work with your customer to negotiate a deliverables schedule.
Best Practices for GSA Schedule Order Delivery:
- Know your shipping terms: Your contract has unique shipping terms and it’s in the best interest of your business and your buyers to make sure you remain compliant.
- Talk to your customers: If you do run into delays, items are shipping earlier, or there are any complications, be communicative with your buyers. You may not be able to fix the delivery time, but you can preserve that relationship.
- Have the internal resources: Ideally, you’re receiving a lot of business via your GSA Schedule. It helps to have an individual or team structure that follows an order from the second it’s placed, until ownership is transferred. This helps mitigate risks of late delivery, lack of communication, or orders being missed.
Keeping Up with Your GSA Schedule
Maintaining your GSA Schedule is not an easy task, but failing to keep up with your shipping terms should not be a reason for you to break compliance. Follow our list of best practices, know your shipping terms, and be ready for the orders to come in! If you want to learn more about how to successfully maintain your GSA Schedule, check out our whitepaper below. If you need more guidance on your GSA Schedule, please reach out to one of our consultants.