As GSA readies itself to launch the first few of the roughly 24 proposed “hallways” to ease and help manage the complicated federal procurement process, one can only speculate how this three year plan of creating a better developed and informed acquisition model will benefit customers and contractors alike.
Shrinking agency budgets don’t leave a lot of room for redundant and archaic administrative processes and these new initiatives are designed to alleviate that burden and help ordering agencies better spend what money they have based on better information and guidance.
According to his blog post, Thomas Sharpe, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service has identified Category Management as the first step in the process. Sharpe writes:
“Category management essentially looks at product or services categories the way a business might look at its own strategic business units, and then works on customizing purchase channels to better meet customer needs and market demands.”
He goes on to say:
“Category management also provides deep-dive market analysis and addresses supply chain management; it can even help with changing behaviors and reducing demand.”
When interviewed, Sharpe also said:
“Federal buyers will be drawn to the extensive information GSA is working to assemble for the three initial portals, even though some of that information may lead buyers to other non-GSA contracting vehicles.”
Reducing demand and potentially leading customers away from GSA contracts doesn’t necessarily sound like a win-win for GSA contractors. Moreover, many are calling into question how these hallways that aggregate pricing information and will include information and links to other agency contracting vehicles will affect Schedule holders’ bottom line. Only time will tell how the creation of these hallways will personally affect your business.