What is "Scope"?
You must ask yourself, "Do the services or products that I’m providing, fall within the descriptions of the Special Item Numbers (SINs) that I was awarded, and is the service or product authorized under my contract?."
It is imperative that all non contract or open market items are communicated and clearly identify to the customer so they can make an appropriate buying decisions. If Other Direct Cost items you are selling to your customer are not on your schedule contract, identify them as "non-contract" or "open market." There are several avenues to expand your marketability and help stay within the scope of your contract. These avenues include modifications, Contractor Team Arrangements (CTAs), and obtaining additional MAS contracts.
An agency may add open market items onto an order if necessary. However, as a contractor, you must ensure that the customer is made aware of which items are contract items and which are open market items prior to the sale. This is extremely important due to differing Federal Acquisition Regulations for Federal Supply Schedule procurements versus open market procurements. For a contractor, it is important to document that you provided this information to the customer prior to the sale in a written quote or email correspondence, as well as upon the actual invoice.
Remaining within the scope of your contract is a critical contractor performance factor and will be evaluated on your contractor assessment report. Major efforts are being made government-wide to educate both schedule customers and contractors to ensure quotes and orders fall within the scope of the contract being utilized.
Open Market Items
Open Market items are also known as:
- Incidental Items
- Non-Contract Items
- Non-Schedule Items
- Other Direct Costs (ODCs)
- Reimbursable Travel Costs
Schedule contractors should not include the value of open market sales when reporting the quarterly 72a sales, only the total sales of contract items.
Each GSA schedule contract has invoicing requirements included in the contract. The invoicing requirements for most GSA schedule contracts can be found under Contract Clause 52.212-4 (Contract Terms and Conditions - Commercial Items). Contractors should clearly identify open market items on GSA contract to their customers if such items are procured in combination with GSA contract items. Also, contractors should review the “Open Market Items” section of this page for more information.
Prompt Payment Discounts:
- If you have negotiated prompt payment discounts into your contract, you are required to provide this information on invoices for orders under this contract.
- It should be noted that any negotiated prompt payment discounts do not apply to purchases made with the SmartPay 2 credit card (government purchase card).
As a Multiple Award Schedule contract holder, you may be contacted by a GSA Industrial Operations Analyst (IOA) who will conduct a Contractor Assessment. Contract Clause 552.215-71 (Examination of Records) allows the IOA to review contractors’ records to verify contractual compliance. The frequency of assessments depends on several factors, including sales volume. Your IOA will contact you to schedule an assessment when necessary.
Purpose of an Assessment
The purpose of the assessment is to help you succeed as a contractor. During the assessment, the IOA will verify that you are in compliance with some of the critical clauses of your contract as well as ensure you have an understanding of your responsibilities and opportunities. The IOA can be a valuable educational resource, helping answer any questions you have about your contract and can direct you to appropriate resources.
How to Prepare for an Assessment
When it is time for an assessment, you will be contacted by an IOA by phone, e-mail or both. That initial contact will establish the logistics of the assessment and will also address the IOA’s goals for the assessment. The assessment may take the form of a face to face meeting, or be performed virtually as determined by the IOA. The IOA will identify what documentation you will need to have readily available and organized for the assessment to be completed efficiently and effectively.
The following are some examples of the types of documentation that may be necessary during the assessment:
- The original Multiple Award Schedule contract, including the Final Proposal Revision
- All approved modifications and price lists
- Any Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) awarded against your contract
- Letters-of-supply and country-of-origin information
- Listing of all GSA-authorized dealers
- Sales tracking system standard operating procedures
- GSA and non-GSA quotes/proposals, invoices and statements of work
It is also important for all applicable personnel to be in attendance or available during the assessment. This might include personnel from sales, marketing, accounting and/or shipping (basically anyone who has a role, large or small, in handling contract orders).
The IOA may request that you send your company’s sales data in an electronic format. Doing so will allow the IOA to review and sample your sales data prior to the assessment, possibly reducing the amount of time necessary to complete the assessment process.
What to Expect
During the assessment, the IOA will have many questions pertaining to your company’s contract and the internal processes you’ve implemented to manage the contract successfully. These processes could include, but are not limited to:
- Sales tracking system
- Trade Agreements Act compliance
- Basis of Award customer discount monitoring
- Scope of contract
Depending on the number of orders involved, the IOA may review a sample from your sales data. Both GSA and non-GSA orders will be reviewed in order to ensure that your sales tracking system is functioning to provide accurate and complete sales reporting for MAS contract sales.Each GSA order will be reviewed to check for the following things:
- The correct GSA-approved pricing was extended to all GSA customers
- Any open market items provided as part of a contract order were properly identified to the customer
- All deliverables were provided within the contractually negotiated terms
Contractor Assessment Report
Shortly after the completion of the contractor assessment with the IOA, the report is completed and made available simultaneously to both the contractor and the Contracting Officer. The Assessment Report provides a "snapshot" of your firm's ability to meet important terms and conditions of your contract at the time of the contractor assessment. Its purpose is to identify areas where you are successful as well as areas needing improvement. The Assessment Report is an internal informational tool used by the contractor as well as GSA to highlight areas of potential concern--it is not distributed externally.
The Assessment Report is designed to provide contractors with helpful feedback on how they are managing the many obligations that come with holding a Schedule contract. It deals strictly with performance against contract terms and conditions and is visible only within GSA and to the individual contractor.
Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA)
GSA Multiple Award Schedule contractors have the ability to form a Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA) using their using individual contract(s). This unique feature allows two or more contractors to work together to meet agency requirements for orders that they might not qualify for independently. This agreement permits contractors to complement each other’s individual contract by using a combination of services and/or products from each partner’s contract. CTAs can apply to several items within the same Schedule, or can be combined across two or more Schedules. Each CTA member benefits by having reportable sales for their individual contracts. Customers benefit from buying a total solution in one purchase rather than making separate purchases from two or more contractors.
- HINT: Conduct research and look for potential team members (contractors) who provide products or services that enhance or complement your company’s specialty on the GSA eLibrary http://www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/ElibMain/home.do Also, review GSA’s Contractor Teaming Arrangements Tool (CTAT) at https://interact.gsa.gov/group/ctat.
- For more information on Contractor Teaming Arrangements (CTA) please visit: http://www.gsa.gov/cta.
Trade Agreements Act (TAA) Compliance
The Trade Agreements Act (TAA) is the enabling statute that implements numerous multilateral and bilateral international trade agreements and other trade initiatives. The TAA applies to all GSA Schedule contracts. The TAA limits the country of origin for products sold through your schedule contract, in general, this means the following may be sold:
- Articles that are wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of the U.S. or a designated country, or
- Articles that are "substantially transformed" in the U.S. or a designated country into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was transformed.
For services, country of origin is determined by the country in which firm providing the services is established. Please refer to the TAA clause in your contract for complete details, including relevant definitions and the list of designated countries.
Remember that it is the responsibility of each Schedule vendor to ensure that product information is accurately incorporated into the contract and displayed on GSA Advantage!® throughout the life of the contract. It is a good practice to periodically review the country of origin of products offered on your GSA contract, as manufacturers sometimes change their manufacturing points. If you determine that a product country or origin has changed, the following directions can assist you in updating GSA Advantage!.
For contractors not eligible for FPT:
- For products that are no longer TAA compliant, submit a modification request to delete the product from your contract and submit a revised pricelist via SIP or EDI,
- For products that list an inaccurate country of origin but are TAA compliant, submit a revised pricelist via SIP or EDI with the correct country of origin.
For contractors eligible for FPT:
- For products that are no longer TAA compliant, submit a “Deletions - Delete Product(s)” modification request to delete the product from your contract and your GSA Advantage! listing will be automatically updated.
- For products that list an inaccurate country of origin but are TAA compliant, submit a “Catalog Pricing” modification update your GSA Advantage! listing.
For more information about the TAA, refer to clause 52.225-5 Trade Agreements.
Labor Qualifications Compliance
Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contractors providing professional labor categories should be prepared to demonstrate the personnel they are providing under each GSA task order meet the minimum qualifications as specified in their GSA MAS contract.
Professional services labor is made up of employees considered exempt from the Service Contract Act (SCA) such as those who qualify as executive, administrative, or professionals under the definitions provided in 29 C.F.R. Part 541. These employees are generally salaried employees not paid on an hourly basis, and who either supervise others, make decisions of importance and significance using independent judgment, and/or perform work primarily requiring advanced education and experience. If providing professional services, the MAS contract will typically be awarded with labor categories, which will describe the minimum qualifications required of the person serving in that particular capacity. The minimum qualifications are established by your company during the pre-award phase or at the time labor categories are added to your MAS contract. Therefore, the labor categories will be unique to each contractor’s particular MAS contract.
For example, Company X has a labor category titled “Network Engineer”, which requires a bachelor’s degree and ten years of experience. Therefore, if Company X is bidding on a task order project, offers their “Network Engineer”, and is awarded the project, Company X must ensure the employee serving in this capacity has a bachelor’s degree and ten years of experience. Otherwise, Company X will be found to have provided unqualified labor for that particular project and is noncompliant with the terms and conditions of their MAS contract.
The review of labor provided is part of the Industrial Operations Analyst (IOA) compliance assessment process. Therefore, professional service providers may be asked by their IOA to demonstrate the personnel provided on MAS task orders meet the qualifications and experience as provided in their respective MAS contract. Your IOA may ask to look at resumés, timesheets, and other personnel documentation to ensure you are indeed providing qualified labor on MAS task orders. The IOA will refer any issues found regarding the qualified labor provided to the Procurement Contracting Officer (PCO) for appropriate follow-on action.
If you have any questions regarding the specific labor you are providing and/or are not sure if the additional review is applicable to you, please contact your PCO for further direction. If you have questions related to the Contractor Assessment and the additional review of professional labor qualifications, please contact your IOA.
Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
The FAR provides uniform policies and procedures for the acquisition of supplies and services by Executive Agencies. It may be helpful to understand how your customers utilize the GSA Schedule contracting vehicle when working with your future GSA schedule customers. Please review the FAR website for more information. The authority of the Multiple Award Schedule program is granted by FAR 8.4.
FAR Subpart 8.4 - Federal Supply Schedules
Federal Supply Schedule is simply another term for Multiple Award Schedule. This section of the FAR describes the procedures that must be followed when a Federal customer is purchasing goods or services from a Multiple Award Schedule contract. Contractors should be familiar with the requirements herein so that they may be better prepared to generate quotes and accept orders from Federal customers.
The Multiple Award Schedule Program simplifies the buying process while complying with federal procurement rules and regulations for vendors and government contracting officers alike. For example, when placing orders under Federal Supply Schedule contracts, ordering activities do not need to seek competition outside of the Federal Supply Schedules or synopsize the requirement. This gives you an advantage over anyone who has not been awarded a Multiple Award Schedule contract.
The FAR also states that before placing an order, an ordering activity shall consider all reasonably available information by surveying at least three schedule contractors through GSA Advantage!, or by reviewing the catalogs or price lists of at least three schedule contractors. This is why it is paramount that each contractor’s price list and GSA Advantage! file remain current at all times.
For more information on the priority of government supply sources, please see FAR 8.002 - Priorities for use of Government Supply Sources.
Strategic Partner Delivery
In 2011, GSA’s Office of General Supplies and Services (GSS) began implementing a Supply Transformation (ST) initiative designed to modernize the business line’s wholesale and retail programs. ST resulted in a transition from the GSA stock based fulfillment model to a direct vendor-to-customer delivery model, which GSA refers to as Strategic Partner Delivery (SPD). The transition to the SPD model requires stringent vendor compliance with marking, labeling, and packaging requirements to ensure customers are able to receive and efficiently process incoming shipments. In order for shipments to be delivered to customers in a timely and efficient manner, vendors must mark, label, and package each shipment to the specific requirements, which are outlined on the following pages:
- Shipping Requirements
- Vendor EDI shipping instructions
- Shipping Frequently Asked Questions
- Additional Resources
Most Favored Customer / Basis of Award
Some contractors report their sales through TDR which means that the Basis of Award relationship does not apply to your contract. However, contracts that report through the 72A system generally have Baisis of Award requirements. To know for sure check to see which version of clause 552.238-75 is included in your contract.
If you have 552.238-75 as opposed to 552.238 Alternate 1, you must maintain the relationship between your GSA pricing and basis of award (BOA) customer pricing. When contractors with a BOA relationship were awarded your contract, you and your PCO established a customer or class of customer on which to base your award. In addition, the government’s price or discount relationship to the identified customer should have been established. That customer or class of customer, typically referred to as your ‘Basis of Award’ customer, is tied to the Price Reduction Clause. A price reduction may have occurred if, at any time during the contract period, you upset the pricing relationship by effectively lowering your pricing to the Basis of Award customers for orders under the maximum order threshold specified in your contract. You are required to notify your PCO immediately, but not later than 15 calendar days after the effective date of the decrease. If your pricing is based on your commercial price list, price reductions also occur when you lower the prices in your commercial pricelist. Subsequent to your notification, the PCO will modify your contract to reflect any price reduction. Please review your contract for specific details concerning your Basis of Award customer(s) and the pricing relationship with the GSA contract. If you have any questions regarding this relationship contact your PCO. GSA also recommends having a system or procedures in place to maintain the Basis of Award pricing relationship.