As the increase in product and services costs started to hit the federal sector last year, the General Services Administration heard the complaints and frustrations of vendors for how long it took to modify schedule contracts, especially for adjusting prices to account for inflation.
Erv Koehler, the assistant commissioner of the Office of General Supplies and Services in the Federal Acquisition Service at GSA, called it a painful six months in the middle part of 2022.
Koehler said GSA pulled out all the stops to improve the timeline and now continues to address challenges around the modification process.
“Step one was resources. We were a little bit underfunded for a while and we’ve corrected for that. We’ve also surged in some contract support,” Koehler said after speaking recently at the Coalition for Government Procurement conference. “Then in the midterm, we have been focusing on the data coming in, so we can get some better information with inflation adjusted numbers. Then in the longer term, the catalog program will be the answer because it’ll be more real time and we’ll have better access to the information more quickly.”
He added GSA’s acquisition centers around the country received everything they asked for from a resource perspective.
With inflation hitting as high as 8% in 2022, companies were seeking relief from GSA in the form of economic price adjustments (EPA). GSA issued multiple memos — one in March and another in September — trying to give companies a path to increase prices more easily.
Koehler said one big challenge for contracting officers was having accurate data to make price adjustment decisions for vendors.
GSA recently updated the data from its Price Point Plus Portal tool (4P), which aims to help contracting officers evaluate proposed pricing on schedule contracts offering product, to help stabilize the challenge of keeping up with inflationary changes.