On November 27, 2018, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it will consolidate the GSA’s 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into a single schedule for products and services. The GSA stated that the changes were intended to “modernize federal acquisition” and “make the government buying and selling experience easy, efficient, and modern.”
Through the MAS, also referred to as the GSA Schedules and Federal Supply Schedules, the GSA establishes long-term, government-wide contracts with commercial firms. Approximately $31 billion is spent through MAS each year on a wide variety of supplies and services. Prior to the announced changes, the GSA maintained 24 separate MAS organized by industry or service ranging from IT Procurement (Schedule 70) to Sports Equipment, Signs and Trophies (Schedule 78). Under that preexisting framework, a vendor selling a variety of supplies and/or services to the government was often required to participate in multiple schedules that each included their own terms and conditions. As a result of the announced changes, and the corresponding consolidation of all MAS into a single schedule, all contractors will be able to sell their products and services through a single program with a uniform set of terms and conditions.
The GSA has not yet issued a definitive timeline for the implementation of the announced consolidation but indicated that it intends to use a phased approach over a two-year period. During the first phase, slated to be implemented in 2019, contractors will be able to sell through their existing MAS contracts, while newly executed contracts will be established using the new consolidated schedule. During the second phase, all contracts, including those established under the prior system, will be moved onto the consolidated schedule.
The phased implementation should be beneficial to both MAS buyers and sellers, as there are a number of outstanding questions that must be resolved, particularly before phase two of the consolidated is implemented. For contractors with existing MAS contracts, it is not yet clear what terms and conditions will apply when the existing MAS contracts are moved into the consolidated schedule. Similarly, it is not clear how the expiration dates for each existing contract will apply under the consolidated MAS. For companies that are certified as small or disadvantaged businesses, questions remain about the need to recertify to obtain a new MAS contract or transition an existing MAS contract into the consolidated system.
We will provide updates as additional details are announced.