In a letter issued today by the GSA to “All GSA Advertising and Integrated Marketing Solutions (AIMS) Industry Partners,” some major changes were announced. These changes to GSA Schedule 541 contracts will be effective in July 1st. Special Item Numbers (SIN’s) 541-3, 541-4D, 541-4E, 541-4F are all going to be open to usage by Large Businesses because their Small Business set-aside requirement has been removed.
This comes as a large blow to small businesses within this GSA Schedule that benefit from the advantage offered by the small business set-aside requirement for this group of SIN’s. As of July 1st, these small businesses will be competing with large companies within these SIN’s on GSA Contract projects.
This is another example of the Federal Regulations swinging the way of Big Business. In 2012, the GSA announced a requirement for many GSA suppliers to conform to providing a UPC Code for all products within certain SIN’s. However, in this case, the GSA is moving to increase competition among Contractors, which will likely be better for the federal buyer.
What could have caused these changes? (Author’s Opinion) Either these restrictions were limiting federal buyers ability to fulfill requirements, and complaints were made, or big business lobbying effectively re-opened the doors for large businesses to operate within GSA under these services.