In light of the runaway success of the General Services Administration (GSA)’s OASIS best-in-class (BIC) contract vehicle for professional services (over $78B in sales and counting), industry has been eagerly awaiting news about a potential follow-on Multiple Award Contract (MAC) when OASIS expires in 2024. Considering how popular OASIS has been, there was a lot of surprise when GSA announced its plans for the new BIC MAC (now called Services MAC). Far from being an OASIS clone, Services MAC will be a very different contract vehicle and one that GSA schedule holders should be following closely.
GSA performed extensive market research with OASIS customers to determine what was and was not working. There is also significant industry interest in shaping the vehicle. The first Request for Information (RFI) received over 1,000 responses, and more than 85% came from MAS contractors. Using feedback from both parties, GSA is developing a next generation contract vehicle that will be a less restrictive hybrid between the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and a traditional MAC.
GSA is proposing an extremely flexible vehicle that will allow for a more varied pool of awardees than OASIS. Plus, its status as a BIC contract makes it more attractive for ordering agencies. Here are five of the most important new features of Services MAC:
- Single Contract: GSA does not anticipate having unrestricted and small business versions of Services MAC. This is designed, in part, to prevent contractors from “sizing out” in the event of an acquisition or organic growth. Instead, GSA plans to utilize small business and socioeconomic reserves. Ordering agencies will be able to set aside opportunities by NAICS and companies can compete as they qualify.
- Continuous Open Season: OASIS made initial awards to a limited number of contractors and then had a finite number of on-ramps during its period of performance. Unsuccessful bidders were limited to subcontracting until an on-ramp opened.
GSA plans to make Services MAC continuously open like schedules, which means companies can submit offers at any time. Rather than waiting years for an on-ramp, contractors can bid as soon as they qualify. GSA does not plan to limit the number of awards, but does anticipate that the requirements will be stringent enough that Services MAC will not be an “entry-level” contract vehicle.
- Individual Service Area Domains: OASIS was designed for complex, integrated service offerings. Contractors had to demonstrate past performance across multiple domains to qualify. Under Services MAC, domains stand alone like MAS SINs or subcategories. Additionally, there will be domains that are less DOD-centric (e.g. Business Administration and Marketing) and specialized domains for things like OCONUS and SCLS contracting. This opens up the number of potential vendors substantially.
- Qualification Tiers: Under OASIS, companies had to be capable of doing cost-reimbursement contracts in order to compete. Services MAC will allow contractors to place themselves in tiers based on their capabilities. For example, a contractor without an approved accounting system could still receive an award, but would not be eligible to compete for cost-reimbursement orders. This approach will also offer agencies more visibilities into contractors’ certifications, capabilities, and experience.
- Potential IT Inclusion: While GSA has not committed to this yet, there is a possibility that IT professional services could become a Services MAC domain when existing GSA GWACs like ALLIANT expire.
GSA just released the second RFI for Services MAC this week. Responses are due June 21, 2021. You can see the results from the first RFI in GSA’s presentation from its first Services MAC Industry Day. Currently, GSA plans to release a draft solicitation in 1Q FY22 with the final solicitation to follow sometime later in FY22.
Aronson will continue to follow this hotly anticipated opportunity. For more information on Services MAC and other GSA topics, please reach out to Aronson’s GSA Team.