GSA Advantage Catalog Approval is a non-industry specific status for commercial organizations that manufacture and sell products to the United States Government through the General Services Administration (GSA). The then-President Harry Truman established the General Services Administration in 1949 to expedite the acquisition of government supplies by eliminating tedious administrative works involving the federal agencies and corporations.
Contractors go through heavy screening and evaluation just to secure a GSA Schedule contract. Thus, to better appreciate the privilege of having a GSA Schedule Contract and promote continuing compliance, it is essential to note the perks entailing a GSA Schedule.
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The primary benefit of acquiring a GSA Schedule contract is its convenience as it streamlines the buying process for both buyers and contractors. Through the GSA Schedule, federal agencies can save time and money in finding appropriate contractors. As for the contractors, the GSA Schedule contract directly links them to the government contracting community, allowing for much easier transactions with the government. Contractors must keep in compliance with GSA regulations to continuously enjoy these premiums.
After establishing the importance and advantages of securing a GSA Schedule, the question now shifts to how it works, more specifically, how to buy through GSA Advantage Catalog. Buying through a GSA Schedule takes place in the GSA Advantage! The GSA Advantage! is GSA Advantage Catalog ordering and shopping system that houses thousands of contractors with millions of products and services. The GSA Advantage! enables anyone to view and compare the products and services offered through the GSA. Buyers, particularly federal government employees or agencies, can shop on GSA Advantage! using any of these modes:
- GSA SmartPay, a governmentwide commercial shopping card
- AAC or GSA Activity Address Code or
- DoDAAC or Department of Defense Activity Address Code, which is limited to purchases involving GSA Global Supply items
State entities, local government agencies, and other eligible buyers are now allowed to use GSA Advantage! to purchase products and services under the Cooperative Purchasing Program and the Disaster Recovery Purchasing Program. However, it is essential to note that state and local government agencies can only purchase products or services on GSA Advantage! using a state or local government-issued credit card.
Among the other modes of buying is the well-known GSA eBuy. US federal agencies and military services worldwide use GSA eBuy to achieve required competition, best pricing, and value. The GSA eBuy is a powerful acquisition tool that saves buyers time and money. Moreover, through the GSA eBuy, buyers can acquire products and services in great deals while maintaining compliance with GSA Schedule contracts.
What can Federal Agencies Buy through GSA Advantage Catalog?
GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program is open and accessible to:
- Federal agencies, both military and civilian,
- Mixed ownership government corporations in compliance with 31 U.S.C. § 9101,
- The District of Columbia,
- Eligible non-profit agencies for the blind or other severely handicapped individuals for manufacturing or supplying approved products or services to the government,
- State and local governments for specific Schedule purchases,
- Contractors authorized under FAR 51, among many more.
More specifically, federal agencies that can buy through a GSA Schedule include:
- A broad spectrum of technology and other products and services straight from GSA Schedule contractors;
- Highly discounted services including but are not limited to long-distance communications, airfares, charge cards, and shipping services;
- IT acquisition and consulting services;
- Vehicles and fleet services; and
- Surplus government properties.
Furthermore, all qualified entities get outlined in GSA Order 4800.2I.
What are the Common Products and Services in GSA Advantage Catalog?
As established, GSA serves as the federal government’s acquisition and procurement arm, offering a wide array of equipment, supplies, telecommunications, and integrated information technology solutions to federal agencies and other eligible entities. GSA Advantage Catalog lists individual Product & Services offerings across multiple areas, such as:
- Facilities and Construction
- Human Capital
- Industrial Products and Services
- Information Technology
- Office Management
- Professional Services
- Security and Protection
- Transportation and Logistics Services
- Travel and Lodging
More specifically, the following are the most common products and services that GSA offers:
- Schedules – Also known as Multiple-Award Schedules (MAS), Federal Supply Schedules (FSS), or GSA Schedule, are the principal contract vehicles for government procurement and purchasing.
- GSA Global Supply – The GSA Global Supply is a requisition-based ordering program for transacting and purchasing office supplies, tools, computer products, safety gear, and cleaning products.
- Assisted Acquisition – Assisted Acquisition houses certified contracting, project management, and financial management professionals to assist agencies with the acquisition process.
- Technology Programs – Technology programs provide solutions for complex technology procurement, including IT Schedule Schedule 70, Network & Telecommunications Programs, Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts, or GWACs.
- GSA Fleet & Automotive – Whereas GSA Fleet provides government vehicle leasing opportunities, GSA Automotive is the primary source for purchasing government vehicles.
- GSA Travel Programs – GSA offers superior travel solutions at affordable costs.
- Personal Property Management – Personal Property Management is a service allowing federal agencies to purchase from other federal agencies and manage unneeded personal property disposal.
Is There Any Other Way to Buy?
GSA Advantage Catalog provides its customers with a wide array of ways to purchase. GSA Schedule simplifies federal acquisition and procurement by negotiating large multi-user contracts and maximizing the federal market’s volume to bring down prices. Through multiple channels, including GSA customer representatives or catalogs, phone or fax, charge cards, electronic requisitioning, in-person auctions, over the Internet, or contacting suppliers directly, federal agencies can facilitate purchasing transactions.
What Purchasing Resources and Tools are Available?
There are resources available at hand to buy through GSA successfully. These include the following:
- GSA Advantage! – As established, the GSA Advantage! system streamlining online shopping and ordering, and providing access to thousands of contractors and millions of products and services; and
- GSA eLibrary – GSA eLibrary provides detailed contract award information for Schedules, technology contracts, and more that are necessary to get the best deals available.
Additional purchasing and ordering resources include:
- GSA eBuy – The GSA eBuy is a powerful acquisition tool that saves buyers time and money. GSA eBuy can be used to submit requests for quotations to contractors;
- e-Resolve – With e-Resolve, customers can ask questions about any product or service offered by GSA, or report problems with GSA Global Supply orders; and
- SmartPay Card Services – SmartPay Card Services provides a variety of charge card options to accommodate customer needs.
Since GSA Schedule streamlines government selling and buying, it may come as no surprise that multiple channels facilitate buying through the GSA. With the right resources, buyers can safely buy what they need for the best price possible.
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