The General Services Administration (GSA) held its annual Industry Days for Schedules 56, 66, and 73 on February 21st and 22nd this year in Fort Worth, TX. Invitations are sent out in advance to current Schedule contract holders, and this event provides a forum for open discussion about managing a contract on these schedules, communication with buying agencies and networking with other contractors. Sometimes for contractors, it can feel like you’re working against GSA to maintain and manage your contract; but this event highlights the importance of the relationship GSA has with its contractors and their mutual desire for success and sales.
This year, as a member of the Winvale Consulting Team, I was able to attend the two-day event. Although the weather outside was cold and rainy, inside the GSA office in Fort Worth the atmosphere was bright with discussions about updates in the federal marketplace and strategies for contractor success. It’s important to take advantage of events such as this as resources for contractors to receive news, updates on regulations and relationship building with GSA staff. Here are a few highlights from the event:
- Schedule Sales Query (SSQ) is evolving: GSA is in the final stages of rolling out a new and improved Schedule Sales Query Plus platform which allows you to search more in depth than ever before.
- A SIN for Order Level Materials (also known as ODC’s) is coming to a schedule near you: GSA is hoping to have an established SIN which will allow contractors to incorporate materials at the task order level in the invoice for Schedules 56, 84, 70, 03FAC, 71, 00CORP, and 738 10 over the course of the next year.
- eCommerce update: There’s been quite a buzz recently about the new “Amazon Amendment” and how it compares to eBuy. GSA’s effort to modernize the government purchasing platform is well underway for commercial off the shelf items. Right now, any potential changes are in the early stages, but updates will be available!
In addition to updates provided by GSA, attendees were also able to ask questions to a customer panel of government agency buyers. Two consistent things pointed out in each answer as helpful tips were to include your company’s capabilities statement wherever possible to make it readily available and stressing the importance of responding to RFIs. At times, it can seem difficult to understand what each individual buyer is looking for, but the importance of these two points are consistent regardless of buying agency.
Having a GSA Schedule contract is only half the effort – the other half is understanding the buyer. Don’t fret, Winvale is here to help! With information about federal acquisitions and contract management expertise, let us be your helping hand in the federal marketplace! More information can be found here.