Bloomberg Government reported that traditional government procurement could become a thing of the past. Buying of commercial off-the-shelf products may become more like shopping on Amazon.com under the House Armed Services Committee’s version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.
The bill would require that the General Services Administration (GSA) set up multiple online marketplaces, and proposes a number of changes affecting government contractors.
According to 2016 industry analysis, SLED procurement — state, local and educational purchasing — of IT goods and services via GSA Schedule 70 is expected to grow from $772 million to more $950 million by 2020. This market includes cloud computing, data storage, cybersecurity products and services and much more.
Industry Concerned About Competition
Industry is concerned the bill would adversely affect current GSA schedules, affecting furniture, tools, office supplies and other categories.
The language essentially authorizes the award of a no-bid contract for the e-marketplace, creating the risk of a monopoly acquisition platform, which ultimately could undermine competition for these items in the government space and distort activity in the commercial space,” according to a joint letter from Information Technology Alliance for the Public Sector, The Coalition for Government Procurement and The Associated General Contractors of America.
Proposed GSA Online Marketplace Requirements
GSA would begin using standard commercial terms and conditions similar to online marketplaces, rather than government-specific terms and conditions. GSA would also be required to update its online marketplaces for new suppliers, and track vendors and products for regulatory and legal compliance.
Specifically, the online marketplaces GSA would create, would have to meet the following requirements:
- Update suppliers and products frequently to reflect pricing
- Enable searches of multiple suppliers to be filtered by product, shipping price and delivery date and offer reviews of suppliers and products
- Provide clear invoicing, payment and customer service functions for all transactions