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Comments and Questions on FSSI MRO/JanSan RFPs Submitted by the Coalition for Government Procurement

Greetings. The following comments and questions were recently submitted by the Coalition for Government Procurement (CGP) on behalf of its membership. They address areas of interest pertaining to the FSSI MRO and JanSan RFPs. The responses are provided by U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Please feel free to inquire further about the information provided. When posting a comment on this blog, please reference the question number to ensure accuracy of the response. There are a total of 78 comments.

Thank you.


Comment: #1

Topic: Agency Commitments

CGP: Will GSA provide detailed agency commitment letters when the JanSan and MRO RFQs are released that address agency’s anticipated spend and any plans concerning existing agency‐level BPAs that contain products covered by the JanSan and MRO FSSI BPA?

GSA: Commitment letters from participating agencies will indicate estimated annual spend.


Comment: #2

Topic: Reporting

CGP: Will GSA remove the requirement that vendors agree in advance to provide reports to agencies at no additional cost at the task order level? How can vendors make such a commitment without knowing the specific requirements at the task order level?

GSA: This requirement will not be removed and is a cost of doing business with the government. A sample template of required reports will be included in the final RFQ.


Comment: #3

Topic: Awardees

CGP: Will GSA increase the number of awardees, from businesses of all sizes, within each pool to increase competition at the task order level? At a minimum, please explain the rationale for selecting the number of awardees in each pool in terms of competition.

GSA: Updated BPA numbers have already been posted. The number of BPAs was based on percentage of spend within the category and discussion with the Commodity Team (participating agencies).


Comment: #4

Topic: Data Reporting

CGP: The specified monthly reporting is likely to require additional staffing at both GSA and vendor, which seems counter to a cost savings goal. Will GSA entertain quarterly, in lieu of monthly, reporting?

GSA: In order to efficiently monitor savings, monthly reporting will be required.


Comment: #5

Topic: Terminology

CGP: Please standardize the terminology in the final RFQs. Some examples of inconsistent language identified in the drafts include: “Ability One‐Certified” vs “Ability One‐Authorized” (JanSan), "Market Basket items” vs “Core Items”,  “Approved Wholesaler Part Numbers” vs “Standardized Wholesaler Part Numbers”.

GSA: The contracting teams will take another look at the RFQs and be more consistent with the language.


Comment: #6

Topic: Part Numbers

CGP: Both draft RFQs state that “only OEM part numbers or approved wholesaler part numbers will be permitted." What is being approved, the wholesaler or the part number? Who is approving them?

GSA: This appears to be another area where the contracting team should review for consistency.  The word "approved" will be removed.


Comment: #7

Topic: Alternative Efficiencies

CGP: The Draft RFQ does not appear to take into account the alternative efficiencies that walk‐in/out contract access (at current prices plus a discount) currently offers government customers under the GSA Schedule. It also does not appear that the MRO team has considered the benefits of a fixed discount—in lieu of fixed pricing. How does GSA plan to maintain the benefit of walk‐in/out contract access under the MRO FSSI BPA for agency customers?

GSA: It is not clear what specifically is being asked for. Making an assumption that walk-in/out contract access refers to actual stores where customer agencies can purchase MRO supplies. Depending on who the BPAs are established with, this may very well be the case. In reference to the question about a fixed discount vs. fixed pricing, the RFQ is not asking for fixed pricing.


Comment: #8

Topic: Market Basket (New Items)

CGP: How does GSA propose to handle the replacement of Market Basket items when they become discontinued? Are vendors penalized when items are no longer part of the original Market Basket? Is it possible to make changes without penalty?

GSA: Inevitably, some market basket items may become unavailable due to the manufacturer discontinuing it, the item no longer TAA compliant, etc. A request to discontinue a market basket item for these reasons would result in a request for a substitute item to take its place. In rare occasions where there is no substitute that would still be compliant with TAA, etc. there would be no penalty for removal. The item would be removed from all BPAs.


Comment: #9

Topic: Market Basket (Discounts)

CGP: Will GSA allow vendors to provide their best effort toward a non‐Market Basket discount or multiple discounts based on the product categories represented in the pool?

GSA: Vendors must provide a discount off of MAS price for all Non-Market Basket items that is greater than or equal to three (3) percentage points below the average Market Basket discount. For example, if the average Market Basket discount is 10%, then all Non-Market Basket items within that Category must receive at least a 7% discount off of the current MAS price. The Non-Market Basket discount threshold will be automatically calculated in the Quote Sheet (Threshold equals average Market Basket discount minus 3 percent, i.e., 7% in the above example).


Comment: #10

Topic: Market Basket (Descriptions)

CGP: Please ensure that product descriptions do not limit competition to one manufacturer. As an example, a vacuum cleaner description in Pool Four of the JanSan Draft RFQ appears to describe a particular OEM's product.

GSA: GSA will take another look at the market basket items and try to make the descriptions as generic as possible.


Comment: #11

Topic: Market Basket (Discounts)

CGP: Non‐Market Basket product discounts should not be calculated directly off of the aggregate Market Basket discount. That adds complexity to the pricing process increasing the opportunity for incorrectly calculated prices. In addition, it may not lead to the lowest price overall as businesses may need to adjust the market basket prices to ensure they are not discounting the non‐Market Basket items beyond what would be reasonable. Also, placing a discount on the entire pool of products may be overly burdensome for vendors whose products from the pool may fall into multiple product categories that require different pricing methods. The vendor should be allowed to provide their best effort toward a non‐Market Basket discount or multiple discounts based on the product categories represented in the pool.

GSA: Vendors must provide a discount off of MAS price for all Non-Market Basket items that is greater than or equal to three (3) percentage points below the average Market Basket discount. For example, if the average Market Basket discount is 10%, then all Non-Market Basket items within that Category must receive at least a 7% discount off of the current MAS price. The Non-Market Basket discount threshold will be automatically calculated in the Quote Sheet (Threshold equals average Market Basket discount minus 3 percent, i.e., 7% in the above example).


Comment: #12

Topic: Market Basket (Core Items)

CGP: 1. Some products have the identical description in the draft RFQ. How can the bidder distinguish exactly what product GSA is requiring? This is particularly evident in the paper products. 2. Regarding toilet paper, the number of rolls per case specified is provided by only one company. To increase sourcing opportunities, can the bidders quote the same product, but with a different number of rolls per case? How will GSA ensure there is equity in the products and pricing quoted for these products?

GSA: GSA will take another look at the market basket for Paper Products.


Comment: #13

Topic: Market Basket (Nonstandard Items)

CGP: Will GSA consider removing items that are not common JanSan type products like toilet repair kits, vacuum breaker kits for toilets, lamp recycling kits, replacement cartridges for water free urinals, spill containment berm or cartridge filter for wet/dry vacuum? These items do not logically fit into pools 1, 2 or 3.

GSA: GSA will look at these items to ensure they are appropriate for JanSan and in the correct category. A revised Market Basket has been posted.


Comment: #14

Topic: 5.2 Requirements Related to Regulatory Compliance

CGP: “The following ancillary services that are compulsory as part of this requirement include…Offer payment options including…Activity Address Code (AAC) or DOD Activity Address Code.)” How can a commercial vendor support this payment option?

GSA: This language will be revised in the final RFQ.  


Comment: #15

Topic: 5.2.2 Addition of Products

CGP: “In the event a commercial item become AbilityOne item through addition to the JWOD procurement list, the BPA holder is required to automatically substitute AbilityOne items when Essentially‐The‐Same (ETS) items are ordered.” 1. Are we required to replace the ETS product with the A1 product creating a variance to the PO? Or, is our responsibility to notify the customer of the A1 product? If the customer insists on the ETS product, must we cancel the order? 2. Is the BPA holder required to create a separate order for the AbilityOne item?

GSA: As an item becomes an AbilityOne item, the customer should be notified of the AbilityOne item. The customer is not allowed to substitute commercial items for AbilityOne items, because AbilityOne products are mandatory purchases at any dollar amount.


Comment: #16

Topic: 5.3.1d DoD EMALL and GSA Advantage!

CGP: 1. Does the term “paper catalog” refer only to the full line catalog? Does it include every piece of marketing literature? 2. Is GSA requiring a catalog that includes only GSA Schedule items? 3. Please clarify GSA’s requirement to “clearly annotate”. Is GSA requiring “annotation” adjacent to every item, once on each page, once in the catalog?

GSA: The paper catalog is optional. If it is a commercial price list it must indicate items excluded from the GSA schedule in addition to annotating the items listed in this paragraph.


Comment: #17

Topic: 5.5.1. Management Reports

CGP: Third Bullet: “Value and percentages of all purchases by pool” What is requested to satisfy reporting by pool? What if a supplier is awarded only one pool?

GSA: If supplier is only awarded one category (pool), that is the only pool they would be required to report.  GSA will attempt to further define this section.


Comment: #18

Topic: 5.5.2 Usage Reports

CGP: Bullets 11 and 15: "BPA Extended Price" and "Total extended cost". We understand the terms price and cost. How is one different than the other in the context of this requirement?

GSA: GSA will attempt to further define this section in the final RFQ.


Comment: #19

Topic: 5.7.2 Order Responsiveness

CGP: First Bullet: "Electronic acknowledgement within 8 hours of the order being shipped." Does providing the GSA Advantage customer a tracking number satisfy the electronic acknowledgement requirement?

GSA: Yes


Comment: #20

Topic: 5.7.2 Order Responsiveness

CGP: Fourth Bullet: “Out of stock or backorder notification within 24 hours with follow‐up telling the customer when the item will be available”. When a backordered item has a revision to the projected delivery date, does the 24‐hour customer notification requirement apply?

GSA: Yes, the customer needs to be aware of any backorders or backorders with projected delivery dates within 24 hours.


Comment: #21

Topic: 5.7.2 Order Responsiveness and 5.7.3 Partial Order Kill or Fill

CGP: Do “days” and “hours” refer to business days and hours, or calendar days and clock hours? Example: “within 72 hours”

GSA: As outlined in 5.7.3, the BPA holder must notify the cardholder or Government employee/purchaser placing the order if there are any problems filling an order. The Contractor will automatically deliver items available and notify customers within 24 hours of order placement when a backordered item can be delivered. This refers to 24 clock hours, not 24 business hours. If the 24 hours falls on a weekend or holiday, the 24 hours will be based on the next business day (i.e., if an order is received on Friday, the notification must be made by Monday).


QueCommentstion: #22

Topic: 5.7.3 Partial Order Kill or Fill

CGP: "Kill or Fill at the line level not the order level". If a customer “kills” a line item, is the BPA holder required to obtain a new PO from the customer that excludes the “killed” item?

GSA: The customer has the option of either letting the contractor fill the order when the item is available, or to "kill" that portion of the order.  If the customer does not kill any portion of the order, a single purchase order will be fine. However, if the customer kills the portion that is not readily available from the contractor, the customer would need to place a separate purchase with another contractor who can meet their needs.


Comment: #23

Topic: 5.7.5 Order Tracking

CGP: For vendors with catalogs containing more than a few thousand items, the manufacturer part number will not be unique throughout the catalog. Currently, GSA Advantage and DOD EMALL do not allow a catalog to contain multiple items with the same manufacturer part number. While GSA recognizes part number standardization as a critical issue, no solution to the above issue has been put forth by GSA. The option to use wholesaler or distributor part numbers in lieu of manufacturer part number is the cause of the existing part number chaos that exists in the GSA marketplace currently. How does GSA hope to achieve part number standardization by allowing multiple wholesaler and distributor part numbers to be used in addition to the manufacturer part number for the same item?

GSA: More information is needed for this question. GSA's intent is to ask for a manufacturer's part number or a standard wholesaler number, not both.


Comment: #24

Topic: 5.7.5 Part Number

CGP: Will a single "standard wholesaler" be identified for situations where part number is not identified as the manufacturer part number? (All wholesalers do not use the same part numbers.)

GSA: No, contractors will need to supply the manufacturer's part number or standard wholesaler number that meets the specified salient characteristics of the items in the Market Basket.


Comment: #25

Topic: Pool Items

CGP: How are the boundaries between BPA pool items and non-BPA pool items going to be defined in an awardees' catalog? This is a distinct challenge? How is GSA going to monitor which items are in/not in scope for a particular pool since the pools do not correspond to individual SIN's?

GSA: GSA will attempt to further define this in the final RFQ.


Comment: #26

Topic: Level III Data

CGP: For Level III data (5.3.4), what is the definition of the product code?

GSA: GSA will attempt to further define this section in the final RFQ.


Comment: #27

Topic: Level III Data

CGP: For Level III data (5.3.4), there is no place to transmit an order date or payment date, can we assume that the order date is the date the purchase card was authorized and the payment date is the date that funds were captured; therefore, the dates are inherent in the processor's data?

GSA: GSA will attempt to further define this section in the final RFQ.


Comment: #28

Topic: Level III Data

CGP: For Level III data (5.3.4), what is the definition of the merchant category/business code as this field is not present in the Level III documentation for our processor?

GSA: There are some fields listed under the Level III data that will have to reported manually by the BPA holder. GSA will attempt to further define this section in the final RFQ.


Comment: #29

Topic: Level III Data

CGP: For Level III data (5.3.4), how is the ship from zip code to be populated for large quantity line items that may be filled from multiple distribution centers?

GSA: GSA will attempt to further define this section in the final RFQ.


Comment: #30

Topic: Level III Data

CGP: For Level III data (5.3.4), how is the customer agency to be identified and what field in the Level III data is to be populated with this information as it is not currently specified and there is not enough space in the address fields to provide this data? It may be worth noting that the specification for the Level III data is not something that can be controlled by the merchant. While we can map the data to the available fields, we cannot change the structure of the transmission.

GSA: There are some fields listed under the Level III data that will have to reported manually by the BPA holder. GSA will attempt to further define this section in the final RFQ.


Comment: #31

Topic: Level III Data

CGP: For Level III data (5.3.4), where should the merchant taxpayer identification and 1099 status appear in the Level III data transmission as these are also fields that do not appear in the Level III documentation for our processor?

GSA: There are some fields listed under the Level III data that will have to reported manually by the BPA holder.


Comment: #32

Topic: 5.7.5 Order Tracking

CGP: As a non-profit AbilityOne agency with the primary mission of providing employment for the blind and visually impaired Americans, Industries for the Blind, Inc., is formally considered to be "Other Than Small" by GSA and, therefore, will not be able to compete for the awards set aside for small business. We are requesting that one additional non-set aside BPA be awarded in each of the pools that account for more than 20% of the overall BPA spending.

GSA: Most of the categories within the MRO and JanSan Purchasing Channel have one BPA that is unrestricted.


Comment: #33

Topic: Limited Vendors?

CGP: Has GSA considered the potential of the same large business being awarded BPA's covering multiple pools resulting in a near monopoly considering that the small business awardees will inherently not have same resources to manage the BPA? While there will be 30 new FSSI BPA participants as a result of these solicitations, the fact that the pools do not overlap, will significantly narrow the choice of available vendors to 3 for any single item. This is 4-5 times fewer options than the current office supply FSSI program. There appears to be some risk to the government customer with such a limited list of vendors.

GSA: The contracting teams are exploring solutions.


Comment: #34

Topic: Process/Cost Efficiency

CGP: Has GSA considered that, by splitting the product offering on these BPA's into pools, the government end user will have more invoices to process and reconcile? Again, this is a distinction from the office supplies FSSI where (for the non-ink/toner awardees) the entire catalog offering for SIN 75 200 was incorporated into the BPA. For this program, a government customer purchasing toilet tissue and hand soap from the same vendor (assuming one of the commodities is on the FSSI BPA and one is not) will have two separate charges on the purchase card and two separate invoices to reconcile. The vendor will receive two separate orders from GSA Advantage (or DOD EMALL) and create two separate purchase orders. The two separate purchase orders will result in two separate shipments to the government end user. Additionally, it is likely that the two separate shipments will originate from the same distribution facility. While there may be slight cost savings on the cost of the product, it is difficult to ignore the potential inefficiencies that will result from this program. What is the cost for a government buyer to create, process and reconcile a single order? $90? In an effort to realize a true cost savings, GSA may consider raising the minimum purchase order for this vehicle to $1,000 to ensure that the material cost savings at least covers the cost of the government end user processing a single additional order.

GSA: Thank you for your comment.


Comment: #35

Topic: Definition of UPC-A

CGP: From section 5.5.2, could you please provide the definition for UPC-A?  We are familiar with retail UPC codes, but are not sure what the “-A” designates.

GSA: UPC-A is used for marking products which are sold at retail in the USA. The barcode identifies the manufacturer and specific product so point-of-sale cash register systems can automatically look up the price.


Comment: #36

Topic: Annual Surveys

CGP: From section 5.5.3, please explain the requirement for annual customer satisfaction surveys and describe how the annual surveys should be presented on the monthly report. Has consideration been given to the business rules imposed by DOD EMALL regarding vendor/customer communication?  Since DOD EMALL is a requirement of participation in this BPA, there may be a benefit to the GSA team reviewing the most recent version of DOD EMALL’s business rules.

GSA: GSA is aware of the DoD EMALL requirements and we will work with vendors to meet this requirement.


Comment: #37

Topic: Green Requirements

CGP: Much of the green requirements is the draft appear to relate to office supplies (e.g.,  ATTACHMENT 6 – EPP Product Criteria). Will this be revised to be appropriate to the items within the scope of the BPA in the final RFQ’s?

GSA: The green requirements will be reviewed prior to issuance of the RFQ to ensure that they are specific to JanSan and MRO supplies.


Comment: #38

Topic: Desktop Delivery

CGP: Could GSA please define “desktop delivery” and “secure desktop deliver” and provide a few scenarios/examples of what would be required to perform this type of service. A clarification of realistic and specific expectations would be appreciated.

GSA: The requirement for "desktop delivery" and "secure desktop delivery" have been deleted from the MRO and JanSan RFQ.


Comment: #39

Topic: Submission of Commercial Plan

CGP: If a large business utilizes a commercial plan for its GSA contract, can the same plan be submitted for the FSSI JanSan RFP?

GSA: Yes, a commercial plan can be submitted since it covers all contracts for 1 year vs. a single contract for the life of the contract. However, the goals shall be increased to reflect the projected sales under the BPA.


Comment: #40

Topic: Berry Amendment

CGP: What is GSA’s definition of the Berry Amendment?

GSA: The Berry Amendment (USC, Title 10, Section 2533a), requires DoD to give preference in procurement to domestically produced, manufactured, or home-grown products, most notably food, clothing, fabrics, and specialty metals. This is based on law, not GSA's definition. The Berry Amendment is only applicable to DoD agencies. Non-DoD agencies are not required to purchase Berry Amendment items.


Comment: #41

Topic: Berry Amendment

CGP: Will all items in the pool need to be Berry Compliant based on GSA’s definition of the Berry Amendment?

GSA: All items purchased by DoD must be in compliance with the Berry Amendment.


Comment: #42

Topic: TAA Compliaince

CGP: Will all items in the pool need to be TAA compliant?

GSA: Yes, all items on the vendors' MAS contracts should be TAA compliant, and that will flow directly to the BPAs.


Comment: #43

Topic: TAA/Berry Amendment

CGP:  Will each item in the pool reference if either TAA or Berry Amendment is required?

GSA: The items in each category should already be TAA compliant since they are currently on an MAS contract. The items in each category will not reference if the Berry Amendment is required because it's only required for DoD sales.  


Comment: #44

Topic: AbilityOne

CGP: Must the bidding contractor be an existing AbilityOne certified contractor to participate in this RFQ?   Can this certification be pursued while the bid is being evaluated?

GSA: The vendor must be an AbilityOne approved distributor prior to submission of the RFQ.


Comment: #45

Topic: 51V Schedule Holders

CGP: If a current 51V schedule holder does not get the BPA award, how does that affect their 51V contract?

GSA: Unsuccessful 51 V vendors will still have their MAS contracts.


Comment: #46

Topic: Pool of Products

CGP: Will the entire pool of products be shown in the RFQ?

GSA: Yes, all the items in the Market Basket in each category will be shown in full on the attachment entitled MRO or JanSan Quote Sheet.


Comment: #47

Topic: Pool of Products

CGP: Does a bidder have to bid the entire pool of products? If an item is not on their current GSA schedule or in their product line can the item be notated as such and give explanation of pursuit of adding to their product line and subsequently to their GSA contract?

GSA: Vendors will be required to quote on 100% of the Market Basket items within a category. Contractors must have all the items on their MAS contract at the time they submit their RFQ.


Comment: #48

Topic: Pool of Products

CGP: If a pool item appears to be antiquated (12V cordless power tools) can a current product be substituted?

GSA: Items that appear to be discontinued need to be brought to the attention of the program manager.  Indicate the reference ID number and description of the item by Aug 1, 2013.


Comment: #49

Topic: Product Specifications

CGP Question: Do government products specifications come into play (i.e., ANSI, ASME, etc.)?

GSA Response: All product specifications that were required for the vendor to be awarded their MAS contract will also apply to the BPAs.


Comment: #50

Topic: Product Descriptions

CGP: Do tools bid have to be exact match of RFQ product description?

GSA: Yes


Comment: #51

Topic: BPA Usage

CGP: Will all federal agencies be mandated to use this BPA?

GSA: Although the use of the BPAs will not be mandatory, many agencies have already committed to using the BPAs. We believe that the use of the BPAs will steadily increase as agencies recognize the cost savings.


Comment: #52

Topic: BPA Usage

CGP: If a federal agency needs a specific brand of tool and it is not on the BPA, can they still use process of procurement, Advantage, EMALL or purchase direct from a contractor?

GSA: Yes, since agencies are not required to use the BPAs, they may still utilize other standing MAS contracts.


Comment: #53

Topic: Open Market Items

CGP: Does open market items have anything to do with the bidding process?

GSA: None of the items in the market basket are open market items since they are currently on an MAS contract. Additionally, the non-market basket items are not open market items, they are also part of a standing MAS contract.


Comment: #54

Topic: “Go/No-Go” Factor

CGP: Will the “Go/No-Go” factor of past performance be treated differently from one RFQ to another?

GSA: This requirement will be coordinated between JanSan and MRO for the purchasing channel, as well as the requisition channel and the 4PL channel.


Comment: #55

Topic: Delivery Time

CGP: A 3-4 day delivery time is a very accelerated schedule for receiving and processing orders, especially with the reporting requirements of this solicitation. A member suggests a delivery time of 10 business days for normal orders, with expedited shipping available when necessary for an extra charge. This proposed delivery time would still be faster than the GSA standard but will allow for more economical shipping and therefore drive prices lower.

GSA: The standard delivery will be 5-7 business days. Expedited delivery will be 2-4 business days.  Additionally, 2-day delivery and overnight delivery will be available. Pricing may be submitted for each of these delivery schedules.


Comment: #56

Topic: Delivery

CGP: What constitutes delivery? Does someone signing for the package constitute delivery?

GSA: Delivery is based on when the order is received by the customer agency. In the case of a DoD facility this may be when the order is signed for by the guard at the gate or at the warehouse. In some cases, the delivery may be made directly to the purchaser.


Comment: #57

Topic: Freight

CGP: Will the Government consider making freight a separate charge? If not, will the Government please provide demand history by geographic location?

GSA: Any contract that is currently awarded based on FOB origin must be modified to reflect FOB destination terms. In the case of FOB destination contracts, there is no separate charge for freight; it is included in the price of the item. We are unable to provide demand history by geographic location.


Comment: #58

Topic: Payment

CGP: What are the payment terms for this solicitation?

GSA: Payment terms incorporated into your Multiple Award Schedule contract will also apply to the BPA.


Comment: #59

Topic: MRO & JanSan 7.0

CGP: Regarding increased competition, within table under section 7.0 be modified follows. We would encourage additional BPA awards to both large and small vendors for each Pool in both the MRO and Jansan BPAs. This will create vendor competition and provide additional choice for agency customers. We suggest BPA awards similar to the number made through the Office Supply BPA.  

GSA: MRO and JanSan are separate programs with different anticipated spend than Office Supplies. The number of BPAs will be analyzed for each program.


Comment: #60

Topic: MRO & JanSan 5.3.2

CGP: The draft RFP incorporates a Price Adjustments Clause that provides as follows: "Contractor shall charge the product price appearing in the BPA catalog at the time an order is placed, unless a more advantageous price is available to the Government...."  Not only is this clause inconsistent with customary commercial practice and the terms of the MAS Program, it is also inconsistent with the GAO’s recent ruling in the Verizon Wireless case which suggested that such clauses are improper in commercial item BPAs. In addition, including such a clause can actually increase customers’ costs. For example, if a DoD customer issues a PO referencing the contract price and then if the vendor charges the DoD customer a lower price, the DoD customer does not automatically benefit from that lower price. In fact, to the extent that the PO and the delivered price now differ, the DoD customer must spend time and money to reissue a new PO with the new price. Any cost savings that may have been derived from the lower cost have not been subsumed in the cost of reissuing the PO, which often costs more than the reduced price presumed savings. This is just one example of where providing a lower price does not result in cost savings and instead has the opposite effect of resulting in higher procurement costs for the customer.  

GSA: 5.3.2 has been revised to read:  BPA price adjustments will be determined by the Contracting Officer. Clause 552.216-70, Economic Price Adjustment, is applicable to the Contractor’s underlying MAS Schedule contract(s). However, the Government will not allow a price increase request for products approved under the BPA for the first year of the BPA. In approving any request for a price increase, the Contracting Officer will consider price changes to the underlying schedule contract, but will also conduct a horizontal and vertical price comparison. The mere fact of a price increase on the schedule contract will not be sufficient cause for approving a price increase under the BPA. The Contractor shall ensure price changes are reflected on GSA Advantage!® and DoD EMALL within 5 business days. As a condition of placing orders, Federal agencies also may require the uploading of the BPA catalog to other portals.

Contractor shall charge the  BPA catalog price appearing on GSA Advantage!®  and DoD EMALL  until such time as a price increase modification is approved and posted. At any time, Contractor may offer a lower price to the ordering activity.


Comment: #61

Topic: MRO Page 33 #11

CGP: The draft RFP states as follows on page 33 #11:  "Berry Amendment: The Contractor shall provide a written statement declaring assurances that the item(s) are compliant according the Berry Amendment. Failure to provide this written statement will result in a No Go rating. . . . ."  The Berry Amendment (DFARS 252.225-7015), however, applies only to certain DoD purchases under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, currently $150,000 (DFARS 225.7002-3(b)). Please confirm that proposed products need NOT be Berry Amendment certified and that contractors will not be penalized with a "no go" rating for offering non-Berry Amendment compliant products as part of their BPA offer. In addition, to the extent that GSA wants customers to be able to identify which Schedule holders carry Berry Amendment compliant products in their offering, a recommendation would be to ask vendors to display any Berry Amendment compliant products with a logo or other designation. It is recommended that this section not require Berry Amendment certification except to the extent that any item identified by a vendor as Berry Amendment certified meets the criteria.  

GSA: To ensure regulatory compliance in the acquisition of MRO supplies and commodities, the Contractor shall provide written assurance that the offered item(s) will be in compliance with DFARS Subpart 225.7002 -- “Restrictions on food, clothing, fabrics, and hand or measuring tools” (the “Berry Amendment”) -- for any affected DOD purchase of services or supplies over $150,000. If the Contractor fails to provide written assurance that the Contractor shall comply with the Berry Amendment on applicable orders, their quotation will not be considered for further evaluation. Items must be identified or flagged if the item is subject to the Berry Amendment. Berry Amendment applies to DoD orders only.


Comment: #62

Topic: MRO & JanSan 5.0, 5.2 & 7.2.1

CGP: We recommend that additional clarification be provided in defining acceptable Part Numbers. Section 5.0, Section 5.2, and Section 7.2.1 reference “part numbers” differently; the terminology is not consistent and appears to be conflicting. We suggest that the language in Section 7.2.1 be used throughout the solicitations for consistency and to mirror industry practice.

GSA: Changes will be made in the RFQs to provide consistent language.


Comment: #63

Topic: MRO 7.2.2

CGP: We suggest that section 7.2.2 to be removed or modified. The BPA respondees will be providing competitive MRO pricing across a wide offering of items and any individual product category can include products that have significant variation relative to quality, function, and price. To focus on items for review that are determined to be “higher” priced may miss these variables, in particular quality. To enter into additional rounds of price submissions based on disclosing competitive pricing may in particular disadvantage small businesses who may not be able to get as good costs from manufacturers as larger businesses that have more leverage attributed to their buying power. To include another round of a reverse auction process may not achieve the desired goals. This also seems to conflict with this RFQ process which is designed to achieve best value. Best value by its nature includes more than just price, for example, service, delivery, and value-added services. Section 7.2.2 appears to be combining the RFQ and Reverse Auction process in terms of determining Price value with the evaluation method more heavily weighted on a reverse auction methodology. Again, we recommend that this section be deleted.  

GSA: Section 7.2.2. has been re-written; however the re-pricing (reverse auction) language is still included.


Comment: #64

Topic: MRO & JanSan 5.5.2

CGP: There are some data fields that GSA is listing as requirements that are not captured or provided by Merchant Banks or Distributors. There will be variation among respondents to this section. We recommend only listing the absolute critical fields that are needed regarding Level III credit card data. Additionally, the requirements impact industry’s cost of doing business.

GSA: The fields listed are the absolute critical fields that are needed. Some fields may need to be reported manually by the BPA holder.


Comment: #65

Topic: MRO & JanSan Market Basket Draft

CGP: It would be advantageous to the Government and responders for the Core List items to include Manufacturer part# and usage information. This would ensure the responder could provide competitive prices/discounts on high use items and gain additional support from manufacturers and the Government to determine fair comparison for multiple manufacturer and brand offers that may be received.

GSA: Contractors will be required to supply the manufacturer or standard wholesaler part numbers.


Comment: #66

Topic: MRO & JanSan 5.5.2

CGP: Today, GSA accepts Level III data that is currently available from the vendors via the merchant bank’s available data fields. Will FSSI follow this practice as it relates to Level III data as well? It appears the stated draft Level III data fields are not available from the merchant banks today. If this incorrect, please provide guidance to offer the stated data points.

GSA: Some fields may need to be reported manually by the BPA holder.


Comment: #67

Topic: MRO 5.7.2

CGP: Please define an electronic transaction as stated in 5.7.2.

GSA: Orders using e-commerce to include: GSA Advantage, DOD EMALL, Electronic Data Interchange.


Comment: #68

Topic: MRO & JanSan Market Basket

CGP: Will GSA provide volume for items requested in the Core List?

GSA: This information is not available for these programs..


Comment: #69

Topic: MRO & JanSan Market Basket

CGP: Can you have the same items represented on JanSan and MRO FSSI awarded BPA’s?

GSA: No, MRO items are not in scope of JanSan and vice versa.


Comment: #70

Topic: MRO Page 35 Paragraph 2

CGP: Estimated volume is referenced as part of the evaluation. Will estimated volume be provided for the core items prior to the submittal date by line item?  If volume by core line item will not be provided, how will you evaluate the supplier offer by line item and pool?

GSA: Estimated volume information is not available. Evaluation will be both horizontal (line by line) and by total market basket.


Question: #71

Topic: MRO 5.2.3 (c)

CGP: “GSA will begin to require an automatic substitution policy….”  When will this occur and what are the specific GSA guidelines for substitutions?

GSA: The substitution process will occur when GSA determines that an item is obsolete, or if it has been replaced by a newer model.


Comment: #72

Topic: MRO & Jan San Market Basket General

CGP: Please clarify. If a supplier is awarded a specific pool by core items, the supplier’s total all other offering will be awarded under the non-core FSSI award. This means a pool awardee can offer non-pool/core items available under their current schedule so long as the percentage off MAS warrants the all other award.

GSA: If a contractor is awarded a BPA for a specific category, they may only offer products within the scope of that category in their non-market basket items.


Comment: #73

Topic: Volume Commitments

CGP: Specific volume commitments from the government are critical for vendors to provide competitive pricing in response to the FSSI JanSan and MRO solicitations. To date, industry has received few details regarding which agencies plan to participate in the program and their anticipated spend. Without this information, it is difficult for vendors to determine whether they can offer lower pricing than what is listed in the RFQ’s “BPA Prices to Beat List.” It is also important for vendors to know what an agency’s plans are for their own BPAs once the JanSan and MRO FSSI BPAs are put in place. The Coalition requests that specific agency commitments and estimated volume be provided when the RFQ is released.

GSA: Commitment letters are being gathered from agencies who are participating on MRO and JanSan. Most of these letters will include an estimated annual spend figure. Agencies with existing BPAs for these products are expected to compare their current pricing to FSSI pricing.   Commitment letters will be included with the final RFQ.  MRO will have an attachment with “BPA Prices to Beat” but JanSan will not.


Comment: #74

Topic: Market Baskets

CGP: Regarding the market baskets, Coalition members report that there is a lack of specificity for many item descriptions which make it difficult for companies to respond and compete on an equal basis. Overly general descriptions also incentivize low quality solutions versus best value. The lack of specificity makes it difficult for GSA to conduct a sound, fair and consistent evaluation of quotes. At the same time, the market baskets also include some item descriptions that are too specific and allow for only one source.

GSA: We have received several comments from industry regarding this issue. Both teams are working to make the descriptions in the Market Basket more clear.


Comment: #75

Topic: Market Basket Categories

CGP: Increase the number of market basket categories so that vendors can offer more tailored discounts appropriate to the specific products contained within each category. For example, add a separate category for Electrical and Power products rather than combining it with the Hardware category. (The overall discount for consumable items has a dilutive effect on the discount for non-consumable items.)

GSA: Discounts within the market basket are by line item so contractors should be able to offer their best price on market basket items.  Vendors must then provide a discount off of MAS price for all Non-Market Basket items that is greater than or equal to three (3) percentage points below the average Market Basket discount. For example, if the average Market Basket discount is 10%, then all Non-Market Basket items within that Category must receive at least a 7% discount off of the current MAS price. The Non-Market Basket discount threshold will be automatically calculated in the Quote Sheet (Threshold equals average Market Basket discount minus 3 percent, i.e., 7% in the above example).


Comment: #76

Topic: Products

CGP: To maximize competition in response to the JanSan and MRO FSSI solicitations, require only that a certain percentage of products within each market basket to be on Schedule 51V and 56 by the RFQ closing date. In addition, modifications to add products should be given priority. A streamlined, expeditious modification process is needed to assure the viability of both the FSSI and the underlying GSA Schedule.

GSA: Schedule 56 is not included as part of the solution for MRO or JanSan. Only certain Special Item Numbers (SINs) on the following schedules are being utilized in the solutions. For MRO, Schedule 51 V; and for JanSan, Schedules 51 V, 73 and 75.  Please see the draft RFQs for the specific SINs for each program. Contractors may need to add products to their current contracts in order to fulfill 100% of a category. Contracting Officers will work to process these modifications in a timely manner.


Comment: #77

Topic: Data Fields

CGP: Populate the Manufacturer Part Number fields based on already available data from past sales.

GSA: We are attempting to allow the greatest diversity of commercial items to allow for maximum competition.  



Comment: #78

Topic: Shipping Charges

CGP: Remove the requirement that the proposed BPA pricing include all shipping charges for items offered. It is especially burdensome for small businesses to estimate what freight charges should apply without any information as to the anticipated quantity of products shipped, product mix, or whether the delivery will be to one or multiple locations.

GSA: Many of the contracts on the targeted Schedules are already FOB Destination. Also, the majority of the items in the market basket are small items that are shipped via small package delivery for minimal predictable amounts.



Views: 1848


<p>Comment 72- you answer a confusing question for me that &quot;if a contractor is awarded a BPA for a specific category, they may only offer products within the scope of that category in their non-market basket items. &quot; &nbsp; &nbsp; The rest of the GSA schedule (75 in my case) not part of the BPA stays intact, yes? In other words, all the products not part of the BPA can be sold to other agencies if requested at the standard contract pricing? &nbsp;Also, it is not clear to me what products in any category would be &quot;non-market&quot;. &nbsp;Which products would be considered &quot;non market&quot; therefore subject to reduced discounting from that offered on BPA products, but greater discounts off original contract pricing? &nbsp; How is that determined? &nbsp;</p>
FSSI MRO Blogger
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-47303772-75b4-1b5b-2f94-011a31a8d8b7" style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">The correct reading is &quot;non-market basket&quot;, not &quot;non-market&quot;. &nbsp;This means that products are within the awarded category but not in the evaluated market basket. &nbsp;Please note Schedule 75 isn&#39;t applicable to the MRO solution as eligible items are being solicited through Schedule 51V.</span></p>
<p>Good Day,</p><p>My question is in regard to Comment #35 - Definition of UPC-A.</p><p>I understand the answer that you have recently given, however, my main question here is whether there is any diffence between a manufacturer&#39;s UPC and a UPC-A. I do believe that the &quot;standard&quot; UPC codes from the manufacturer&#39;s also provide POS (Point-Of-Sale) data for use in conjunction with cash register systems. Therefore, is the UPC # different than the UPC-A #.</p><p>Thank you very much for your consideration.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Regards,</p><p>Capp, Inc.</p><p>Steven Yudis</p>
FSSI MRO Blogger
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-3e3c2f1f-efdd-4a65-dd76-a8d1e5abf1e7"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; background-color: transparent; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">UPC-A is used for marking products which are sold at retail in the USA. The barcode identifies the manufacturer and specific product so point-of- sale cash register systems can automatically look up the price. UPC-A is the same as the standard 12 digit UPC, 11 data digits and one check digit. The first digit is a number system digit that normally represents the type of product being identified. The following 5 digits are a manufacturers code and the next 5 digits are used to identify a specific product.</span></span></p>