‘Pathways’ to the Federal Acquisition Service’s North Star Goals
In leading the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), Commissioner Sonny Hashmi has established “North Star goals” for the organization in its efforts to support customer agency missions on behalf of the American people. North Star goals are generally long-term, stretch goals. They are aspirational, yet achievable, and comprise multiple projects. The following diagram, part of a recent FAS slide presentation, sets forth FAS’s North Star goals:
“Make it dead easy to do business with FAS” is at the center of this diagram, reflecting the central force driving FAS’s success in supporting customer agency missions on behalf of the American people. “Creating tremendous value for our customers” and “…a thriving, innovative, compliant[,] and equitable marketplace” are fundamentally dependent on making it “dead easy” to do business with FAS for both customer agencies and industry partners. As often has been observed, the GSA FAS, customer agencies, and industry are like a three-legged stool, each dependent on the other to support agency missions.
In this context, GSA FAS is the channel, or market maker, through which customer agencies and industry partners engage to support and deliver mission requirements. So, how do we work together to make it dead easy to do business with FAS and within the FAS marketplace? Here are several “pathways” to FAS’ North Star goals:
- Right off the launchpad, delete the “highly competitive” language from the MAS solicitation, as discussed in last week’s blog. This language is undefined and introduces confusion into the procurement process. As such, it represents a significant barrier to entry for commercial firms, especially new small businesses seeking to enter the federal market through the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program.
- Allow for automatic price reductions when submitted by current MAS contractors. Doing so immediately delivers value to customer agencies.
- Publicize all internal FAS policy guidance relied upon by contracting operations. Transparency is fundamental to understanding FAS procurement priorities and program considerations. The more information industry partners have regarding how FAS approaches the market, the better industry can meet FAS and customer needs, improving the efficiency of the procurement process. This information was once regularly published by FAS and the practice should be revived.
- Incorporate associated material terms and conditions for pricing in the 4P tool. This pathway would ensure a rational, fair conversation/negotiation of price consistent with regulation and the market.
- Lower the maximum order Threshold to $250,000 across the program to reduce burdensome record-keeping; bring MAS contract terms in line with FAR 8.4; and enhance the ability to provide solutions, rather than individual SINs, in response to agency requirements.