How to Succeed as a Government Reseller Using a Letter of Supply
GSA Schedule | 5 Min Read
If your company manufacturers the products you sell, you can simply add them to your GSA Schedule. However, if you are a reseller and offer products through a manufacturer, you will most likely need a Letter of Supply. GSA requires contractors to provide a Letter of Supply with initial GSA MAS offers, or product additions to your contract if the products being added are manufactured by another company. Getting the Letter of Supply out as soon as possible is an important step in successfully acquiring or maintaining your GSA Schedule.
Depending on the structure of your organization, obtaining a Letter of Supply can be a convoluted process. Here’s what you need to know about Letters of Supply and your GSA Schedule.
What is a GSA Letter of Supply?
A Letter of Supply shows that the manufacturer gave you permission to list its products on a GSA Schedule. It essentially assures the government that there will be a continuous source of supply from the contractor with sufficient quantities of product for the duration of a contractor’s GSA Schedule.
GSA requires that most resellers provide a signed Letter of Supply from each of their manufacturers. Contractors who include a Letter of Supply with an offer or product addition modification meet the authorization requirement to sell products through their GSA Schedule contract.
Where Do You Find a Letter of Supply?
You can find the Letter of Supply template in the Available Offerings and Requirements page on GSA’s website. Scroll down the page, select the “Templates to download, complete, and upload in eOffer (if applicable)” section to find all the templates. The latest template will be listed there.
The content of the letter has been approved by GSA and although it’s sufficient, manufacturers may attach additional verbiage in subsequent pages, provided the additional language does not contradict the statements made within the Letter of Supply. The template already details federal expectations, regulations, and other GSA terms pertaining to supplying products on the GSA Schedule.
Why Do You Need a Letter of Supply?
The Letter of Supply is a relatively simple document. Having one in place gives the reseller (you) authorization from the manufacturer to sell its products on the GSA Schedule. It will also provide an uninterrupted source of products over the duration of the contract period.
The Letter of Supply serves the following purposes:
- Gives explicit permission from the manufacturer to list its products on your GSA Schedule contract throughout its entire duration. There should be no expiration date on the letter.
- Understands that all products and services that are offered on a GSA Schedule must be compliant with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA).
- Confirms all products supplied to the vendor are quality products.
- Assures price increases or decreases will be submitted to the vendor in a timely fashion.
- Will notify GSA immediately upon discovery of any changes in the Country of Origin of supplied products.
- Identifies products with environmental attributes. Manufacturers must provide a copy of the environmental organization’s certification.
The Letter of Supply should be signed and dated within the past year of your initial MAS offer, or product addition modification to reflect a current and active relationship between the manufacturer and the contractor.
When Do You Need a Letter of Supply?
Getting any GSA MAS offer approved by GSA if you're a reseller without a properly signed Letter of Supply will most likely be a fruitless venture. To secure a successful MAS offer or product addition modification process, a vendor must provide a Letter of Supply if they are not the supplier of the products they are selling.
It’s mandatory a Letter of Supply is completed and submitted with the modification package before adding new products or a new product line to an existing contract. Option periods to extend your GSA Schedule contract also require a new letter from the manufacturer.
Exception to the Letter of Supply
GSA is launching the Verified Products Portal (VPP), a manufacturer and reseller facing portal that will capture and house important supplier information. If your manufacturer participates in the VPP and provides supplier authorization data, you will not need a Letter of Supply. You will just need to upload a copy of your dashboard results to eOffer so GSA can confirm that you are authorized to sell the products you are proposing.
It's important to note that the VPP is a new system, so your manufacturer may not be a participant yet, and you'll want to confirm this before you decide whether you need a Letter of Supply or not.
Tips for Completing a GSA Letter of Supply
So, you have decided to move forward with drafting a GSA MAS offer or adding new products as a reseller to your GSA Schedule. One helpful tip is to get a ‘jump start’ on the Letter of Supply.
One of the requirements of the letter is it must have the signature of a company official authorized to make the commitment. Both the reseller and manufacturer must sign it. Most often, when a contractor is ready to submit an offer or add new products to their contract, the turnaround time for award is crucial.
When you are ready to get started, you’ll need to consider a few factors that could potentially put a strain the time it takes to complete the Letter of Supply and stall the offer or modification process.
- Getting the Letter of Supply to the right person to sign
- Specific Letter of Supply requirements
Getting the GSA Letter of Supply Signed by the Right People
Getting the Letter of Supply in the right hands can have its challenges. For example, if your Point of Contact for your manufacturer is not an authorized company official, then they cannot sign it. Additionally, getting the Letter of Supply to a busy executive or correct point of contact may take some additional time.
GSA Letter of Supply Requirements
There are a few requirements for a Letter of Supply to be valid. They include:
- The Letter of Supply must be signed by both the contractor and the manufacturer on official letterhead.
- The Letter of Supply must be dated within the past year.
- The Letter of Supply must not have an expiration date on it.
- You should have a Letter of Supply for each manufacturer added to the contract.
Allow time for Letter of Supply Clarifications
Allowing time for potential questions and clarifications should also be taken into consideration. Conveying terms and conditions of the Letter of Supply to an internal team, or providing additional clarifications to the manufacturer regarding language in the letter, could all extend the time it takes to get the Letter of Supply submitted and the award granted.
Do You Need Help with Your GSA Letter of Supply?
Letters of Supply can be a little confusing and many contractors choose to bring in a third-party consultant to further explain the GSA language and what it all means. Our team of GSA consultants can assist you in obtaining a Letter of Supply, or support you in any other step in the proposal process. We are a GSA reseller ourselves, so we know all about the Letter of Supply requirements and stipulations.