GSA to launch 10 new strategic sourcing efforts, says Tangherlini

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The General Services Administration will launch 10 new governmentwide strategic sourcing efforts over the next 2 years, Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a Jan. 10 agency blog post.

Two likely areas of consolidated federal agency purchasing are janitorial and sanitation supplies, and maintenance, repair, and operations supplies; Tangherlini said teams have already formed and met to look at how spending in those areas could be consolidated. Other areas of targeted consolidation include wireless services and software, he added.

The Office of Management and Budget through a Dec. 5 memo (.pdf) established an interagency strategic sourcing council that by March should identify at least five products or services suitable for that acquisition approach.

GSA in July 2010 established a strategic sourcing effort for office supplies through schedules-based blanket purchase agreements.  A December 2011 Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) found reason to doubt the extent of cost savings GSA has claimed agencies make by purchasing through those BPAs, noting that the price data GSA used didn't necessarily allow for accurate comparisons.

Attempts to consolidate government purchasing power in an era where GSA is not a mandatory source date back at least a decade, but haven't always met with robust success. A George W. Bush administration effort to strategically source software known as SmartBuy stagnated in recent years, and in 2011 the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council dropped a proposal that would have required civilian contracting officers to consider SmartBuy before utilizing other contract vehicles.

Many software vendors shied away from participating in SmartBuy, stating they could not offer the substantial discounts GSA demanded without receiving bulk order guarantees. Bush administration officials said discounts would ensure bulk orders--illustrating a public-private disconnect that some federal acquisition experts say has yet to be resolved.

For More:
- read Tangherlini's blog post

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