On October 24, GSA introduced Phase 2 of its Making It Easier (MIE) initiative. MIE was originally launched in April 2016 to address several challenges around its Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program. The second phase adds numerous new efforts for both the contracting community and federal agencies. They include new quick start guides, designed to prepare prospective contractors as they seek business across GSA’s many acquisition vehicles; a MAS Modification Improvement process, designed to streamline changes in schedule solicitations; and restructured help desks, housed on the Acquisition Gateway, that will give customers a single point of entry.
The new features will support and update aspects of MIE introduced during its first phase. The initial rollout included the FASt Lane, IT Schedule 70 Startup Springboard, the IT Schedule 70 Plain Language Roadmap, the MAS Welcome Package, and a GSA forecasting tool.
Kevin Youel Page, deputy commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), said in a call with reporters that the program’s early success is evidence that “GSA is doing its job as an economic catalyst.” Through the FASt Lane, GSA has already made 2,260 modifications averaging two days to complete vs. the normal average time of 10 to 15 days and 108 awards to new contractors averaging 31 days to complete instead of the 120 day average for non-FASt Lane offerors.
Judith Zawatsky, the MAS Transformation Program Manager, said the modification improvements came from having a dedicated team focused on modifying contracts under the FASt Lane program. Youel Page said the modification and contract award improvements are not limited to the FASt Lane program, but the other parts of GSA have increased cycle times. Startup Springboard, which targets companies that have not previously done government work, has trained 195 companies and led to five submitted offers and one award thus far.
Youel Page said GSA is building on these and other successes to move MIE into phase 2. “Our work to improve the stakeholder experience with GSA and provide less cumbersome access to our programs is never done,” he said. “In phase 2 of the Making It Easier initiative, we will be releasing quick start guides as an expansion of the IT Schedule 70 roadmap…Second, we are launching the MAS Modification Improvement to streamline and declutter the current process. These improvements to the MAS modification process are based on the feedback collected based on a recent survey of nearly 200 GSA’s industry partners.”
GSA also released the Making It Easier to do Business with the Government report October 24, describing the full scope of the MIE initiative, its impact on stakeholders, and summarizing accomplishments in fiscal 2016 for the program and targets for fiscal 2017. “Over 60 percent of respondents to our survey felt that checklists and templates would be helpful to the modification process,” GSA said in its report. “Based on these results, we’ve already made changes to how MAS modification information is shared online.”
“This second set of improvements will continue to better GSA’s ability to truly make it easier for our suppliers to work with us, and help government deliver world-class services to the public,” said Kevin Youel Page in a statement. Youel Page writes more on MIE in his GSA blog here.
Contact Aronson if you need assistance modifying your GSA IT70 contract or for more information on whether pursuing the federal government’s largest IT contract vehicle makes sense in your strategic plans. Call Hope Lane at (301) 231-6266 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.