Over the last 30 years, GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program has evolved from exclusively focusing on static, contract-level pricing to driving pricing, performance, and best value through competition at the task and delivery order level for agency specific requirements. Over the course of this evolution, it has become apparent that the Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) and Price Reduction Clause (PRC) are relics of a bygone era.
The CSP and PRC made sense at a time when the MAS program was a closed, mandatory-for-use program, had a limited number of contractors, and contract-level pricing reigned supreme as MAS contract terms severely limited/restricted the ability of contractors to lower prices and compete for agency requirements. Today, the CSP and PRC are inconsistent with a dynamic MAS marketplace structured to drive competition and value at the task order level, and as such, can be viewed as anticompetitive.
To provide perspective on the significant evolution of the MAS program towards its present-day policy and management focus on competition, transparency, and best value at the task order level, set forth below is a chronology of the strategic and operational enhancements that have been implemented since the mid-1990’s.
The 1990’s – Pro Competition Advances
Mandatory to Non-mandatory: Up until the mid-1990’s, the MAS program was a mandatory source for federal agencies, essentially serving as governmentwide requirements contracts. GSA modified MAS contract terms, and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) followed suit, making the MAS a non-mandatory use source. The policy goal was to establish a wholly competitive marketplace whereby customer agencies could utilize other sources if the MAS program could did not meet their needs. Since this change the MAS program has grown in customer usage and its ability to meet the unique missions of GSA’s customer agencies.
Continuous Open Seasons: GSA expanded the timeframe for submitting new offers from 1-2 months, with a closing date for receipt (the original open season) each year, to a continuous open season model with no closing date, allowing for the submission of offers every business day of the year. Continuous open seasons eliminated a barrier to entry into the market, providing agencies ongoing access to offerings from the commercial market, and in so doing, incented small business participation, competition, and innovation. This change resulted in a significant increase in the number of contractors, including all socio-economic categories.