[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 141 (Monday, July 23, 2012)]
[Pages 43084-43086]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-17882]



[Notice-QDA-2012-01; Docket No. 2012-0002; Sequence 17]

Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program Continuous Open Season-
Operational Change

AGENCY: Federal Acquisition Service, GSA.

ACTION: Notice with a request for comments.


SUMMARY: The General Services Administration (GSA), Federal Acquisition 
Service (FAS) intends to institute a Demand Based Model (DBM) designed 
to assess and improve the performance of the Multiple Award Schedule 
(MAS) contracts operated by GSA. GSA is proposing this operational 
change to enhance the performance of and modernize the MAS program in 
three key program areas: Small business viability, operational 
efficiency, and cost control. The DBM will realign suppliers under the 
MAS program with current Federal marketplace demands. This will result 
in directing suppliers, including small businesses, to where government 
procurement needs are; thereby having a supplier base more focused on 
providing innovative solutions to address the procurement needs of the 
government, especially under these current fiscal challenges. 
Operational efficiencies and cost control thus realized will restore 
and maintain the MAS program's value to Federal agencies as a 
streamlined acquisition vehicle through reduction in duplicative 
contracts, better contract administration support by GSA as well as 
other increased levels of customer support from GSA. Additionally, DBM 
is intended to benefit participating members of industry, including 
small businesses, by improving processing time for awards, 
modifications and

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contract options, and improving supplier relationship management. 
Implementing the DBM will allow GSA and suppliers to focus on the 
ongoing modernization of the Schedules aimed at adding innovative 
solutions, improving pricing and simplifying the buying experience.

DATES: This change in operations will become effective September 21, 
    Comment Date: Interested parties should submit written comments to 
the Regulatory Secretariat at one of the addressees shown below on or 
before August 22, 2012. This will allow GSA sufficient time to consider 
the comments prior to the effective date of this notice.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments in response to Notice--QDA-2012-01 by any of 
the following methods:
     Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for ``Notice-
QDA-2012-01''. Select the link ``Submit a Comment'' that corresponds 
with ``Notice-QDA-2012-01.'' Follow the instructions provided at the 
``Submit a Comment'' screen. Please include your name, company name (if 
any), and ``Notice-QDA-2012-01'' on your attached document.
     Fax: (202) 501-4067.
     Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory 
Secretariat (MVCB), Attn: Hada Flowers, 1275 First Street NE., 7th 
Floor, Washington, DC 20417.
    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite Notice-QDA-2012-
01, in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received 
will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs. Angela Lehman, telephone 703-605-
9541, email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Over the last 20 years, the MAS program has 
expanded to encompass 31 Schedules with over 19,000 federal contractors 
and generally, has operated under continuous open solicitations or 
``seasons'' to receive new offers. Additional information about the MAS 
program is available at www.gsa.gov/schedules.
    Over time certain offerings and suppliers under the MAS program 
have not aligned with the procurement needs of the government. FAS 
projects that well over 50 percent of the MAS contracts awarded in 2011 
will not have significant sales, and FAS will spend millions of dollars 
to support and manage such low/no sales contracts. Additionally, the 
Government estimates that industry incurs significant costs in applying 
for and maintaining Schedules contracts.
    To mitigate the costs and burdens associated with the current 
process while maintaining the benefits of a program that facilitates 
easy access to cost-effective competitive small and large businesses, 
FAS is proposing to modify its current practice of a continuous open 
season for all Schedules to a practice whereby the Schedules will be 
individually assessed to determine whether a continuous open season 
should continue or whether one of the variations described below would 
be suitable.
    GSA's plan for moving to a demand based model is built around 
careful analysis before any action is taken and continually monitoring 
the government's procurement demands. The tentative plan, which GSA 
seeks comment on before finalizing, includes the following steps:
    1. GSA will assess each Special Item Number (SIN) level 
requirements from the standpoint of Federal demand, existing sources, 
sales performance under existing contracts, changing market dynamics, 
socio-economic considerations, and other available data.
    2. Based on the assessment, GSA would determine whether to maintain 
a continuous open season for an entire Schedule, maintain a continuous 
open season for only certain SINs on a particular Schedule, or close 
the Schedule or certain SINs on the Schedule on a temporary basis to 
new offers.
    3. GSA would publish its decision with regard to the affected 
Schedule or SIN, in FedBizOpps. This might include, without limitation; 
maintaining a continuous open season for the Schedule or SIN; a 
temporary closure of the Schedule or SIN; temporarily re-opening after 
a decision to close the Schedule or SIN temporarily; merging the 
Schedule or SIN into one or more other Schedules or SINs; or the 
cancellation of the Schedule or SINs.
    4. Each temporary closure of a Schedule or SIN would be published 
in FedBizOpps no fewer than 30 days prior to the effective date of the 
temporary closure. During the interim period, new offers for Schedule 
contracts and modification requests to add SINs to existing contracts 
would be received and processed in the usual manner. No new offers 
would be accepted after the effective date of the temporary closure, 
except, contract holders may, during or after the last year of their 
third contract option period, submit an offer for a new contract.
    5. For any Schedule or SIN that is closed temporarily, the Schedule 
or SIN would be assessed periodically and would re-open (via an open 
season) at least once every 3 years. The open season would be published 
in FedBizOpps effective immediately upon publication. In case of 
cancellation or merger of a Schedule or SIN, affected MAS solicitations 
would be amended (refreshed), and affected contracts would be cancelled 
or modified accordingly.
    The DBM is not intended to affect contracts or orders awarded prior 
to a temporary closure. Holders of valid contracts under Schedules or 
SINs that were open when the contract was awarded but which are later 
closed temporarily under DBM would continue to be able to seek, accept, 
and perform orders through the end of their contract's current period 
of performance. Decisions on whether to exercise any remaining option 
periods on such contracts would be made in the usual manner.
    This measured approach will create a more effective environment for 
managing the Schedules Program. It will also create a healthier 
business environment for current and prospective suppliers. Combined 
with tools such as order set-asides, authorized by section 1331 of the 
Small Business Jobs Act, the Schedules Program should be even more 
successful in meeting its obligation to maximize opportunities for its 
small business partners and is fully committed to providing them with 
the help they need to win work.
    GSA is seeking comments, especially from small businesses. Detailed 
and comprehensive responses are appreciated to ensure that GSA fully 
understands the comments. GSA encourages comments that address specific 
operational implementation recommendations and responses to the 
specific questions below:
    1. There are a wide range of considerations GSA should employ in 
determining whether additional capacity is needed on a certain Special 
Item Number (SIN). This includes considerations such as number of 
contracts, sales trends, average sales per contractor, geography, 
socio-economic status on the SIN, degree of innovation in the industry, 
and views from other Federal Agencies. What else should GSA consider in 
making this decision?
    2. How much advance notice should GSA provide before making a 
decision for temporary closure? What business factors drive the amount 
of notice needed?

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    3. Once GSA makes an announcement for temporary closure, there is 
potential for a high number of new offers before the effective date of 
the temporary closure. It is highly likely that nearly all of these 
offers will not generate business. What should GSA do with offers 
received in this window?
    4. To help industry best plan, should GSA's reassessment be 
conducted annually, every two years, or every three years? What actions 
can GSA take to assist industry with planning? For example, is it 
better to know with certainty when a schedule or SIN will reopen even 
if that means the duration of closure is longer, or is it better for 
GSA to take a shorter term view of the question?
    5. Currently, over 50 percent of schedule contracts will not meet 
the sales retention criteria. Is reducing this percentage to 30 percent 
an appropriately aggressive interim goal?
    6. Are there other considerations on how to ensure minimum impact 
to industry with the implementation?

    Dated: July 18, 2012.
Houston Taylor,
Assistant Commissioner, Office of Acquisition Management, Federal 
Acquisition Service, General Services Administration.
[FR Doc. 2012-17882 Filed 7-20-12; 8:45 am]