General Services Administration (GSA)
The General Services Administration was formed in 1949 with the main purpose to support other federal agencies with basic functions including procurement of supplies and services. One of the major goals of GSA was to provide government-wide cost minimizing policies which led to the development of an online market place called GSA Advantage
GSA Advantage is over 12 years in use by the Federal Government with limited access to State/Local Government. This online purchasing service has streamlined the procurement process in a variety of ways to include:
- Long term Federal Contracts with approved products at best negotiated pricing and value
- Large offering of products and services to fulfill most all purchasing needs of Federal Agencies
Search criteria established to help identify products that support Federal Government procurement goals and/or other requirements to include:
- Environmental - products with recycled content, energy conserving features, and environmentally friendly
- Disaster Recovery - products and services used to facilitate recovery from major disasters, terrorism, or nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attacks
- Cooperative Purchasing - allows for the Administrator of General Services to provide states and localities access to certain items offered through the General Services Administration's (GSA's) Federal Supply Schedule 70, Information Technology (IT) and Federal Supply Schedule 84, Total Solutions for Law Enforcement, Security, Facility Management Systems, Fire, Rescue, Special Purpose Clothing, Marine Craft, and Emergency/Disaster Response.
- Socio-economic status - support of small and disadvantaged businesses
In addition GSA Schedules offer other on-line procurement tools to obtain product including GSA E-Buy is an electronic Request for Quote (RFQ) / Request for Proposal (RFP) system designed to allow government buyers to request information, find sources, and prepare RFQs/RFPs, online, for millions of services and products offered through GSA's Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) and GSA Technology Contracts. Government buyers can use eBuy to obtain quotes or proposals for services, large quantity purchases, big ticket items, and purchases with complex requirements.
The schedules program is structured into a numbering system that puts like products into general categories and is further defined by a SIN (Special Identification Number). For example, Schedule 56 consists of Building Materials with several SIN's such as 563-15; Solar Window Film, 563-23; Doors, Windows, Panels and Shutters and 563-25; Plumbing Products and Bathroom Fixtures. There are over 60 GSA Schedules and Bradley products fit into several different main Schedule Groups and SINS:
|Emergency Eyewash/Drench Shower||84||426-4F|
Washfountains, Lavatories, Showers,
Bathroom Fixtures, Toilet partitions & Accessories
All Product Categories, Hardware
Federal Agencies spend over $40 Billion annually in purchases through the GSA Schedules Program or approximately 10% of total Federal Government annual spending for goods and services. For companies that are interested in becoming an approved vendor of supplies and/or services for the Federal Government including GSA Schedule Contracts, it is required to register with the following organizations:
GSA offers a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program designed to simplify, streamline and ultimately accelerate the process to obtain a Schedule contract. GSA has web-sites to help with the application process and there are also other resources that provide help, typically at no charge, to include the local Small Business Administration and Business Assistance Centers (PTAC or BPAC).
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC)
Note: Once a business is awarded a GSA Schedule Contract, they have 6 months to post their product offering on GSA Advantage, online shopping network.