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Improving Product Number Data Quality on GSA Schedules

GSA is embarking on several initiatives to improve the quality of our offerings on Multiple Award Schedules (MAS). As such, we are seeking strong collaboration with our industry partners to help us improve product number data quality on MAS through submission of all awarded base products and associated descriptive data on GSA Advantage.  The anticipated outcome of this effort is to provide agencies with quality, meaningful, and complete data to better search and compare products. This initiative is one of many steps we’re taking to improve agencies’ experience when using MAS to meet their mission-critical needs. 
GSA Federal Acquisition Service welcomes your comments/ideas on commercial industry best practices in data management for product labeling as it relates to base (standard) and unique (configurable) Uniform Product Codes (UPC) and Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPN).
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<p>I agree the Manufacturer and Manufacturer&#39;s part number should be included to keep like products in true comparison. I have seen many products that we offer, offered from other suppliers &nbsp;that do not fall into the 10% pricing comparison rules. The only way they get their items on GSA is by submitted their item list with similar comparisons rather that exact duplicates (as they are supposed to do if the item is already on GSA). If the manufacturer and manufacturer part numbers are required, they would have to keep their pricing within the 10%, because the contracting officer could easily compare it with exact duplicate items. As for the UPC, it will not currently work under the SIP system. The system makes you put a UPC on the product item code, but if the item is a jacket, every single color and size of that jacket have different UPCs. Vendors who use the options feature in the SIP system are unable to add UPC&#39;s becasue the field is on the main item, not the option. Instead of having one jacket with drop down menus for customers to choose their size and color, we would have to turn that one jacket item into 60 different items to get the UPCs in the SIP system. That will clog up the GSA Advantage site. I see vendors do this. You go to search for a J001 jacket, which should be one item, but there are 60 of them that the customer has to go through to find the right code for their color and size; rather than just choosing the J001 and picking their color and size in the drop down ordering menus. It will be a mess. Until the SIP system is updated to handle it, it cannot be done efficiently. Our 200 items would turn into 26000 items on GSA advantage if we had to list every single size and color option as a separate product to get the UPC in the system.</p>
<p>Similar to JamesFortNevers of Nevers Industries above, all products from our company are custom made. &nbsp;We are window treatment manufacturers, using hundreds of seasonally changing fabrics and making products to exactly fit specific sized windows or areas. We do not use part numbers because of the nature of our business. We can create part numbers if required to do so, but they will have no reference to anything outside our company. &nbsp;I cannot see how this will benefit GSA or buyers if the point of this is to be able to find items with similar numbers. Would really appreciate some &quot;official&quot; response on this as I have seen no mention of this issue on any of the FAQs I have found on this issue.</p>
<p>I 100% agree that GSA needs to use the combination of manufacturer name AND manufacturer part number to identify unique item records.&nbsp; To make this work GSA will have invest in maintaining and validating a controlled list of manufacturer names, like they are already doing with the unit of issue and country of origin fields.&nbsp; There would have to be a process for adding new manufacturers to the list and republishing list, but the use of both &quot;3M&quot; and &quot;3M&quot; &amp; &quot;3M/COMMERCIAL OFF. SUPPLY&quot; to identify the same manufacturer would be eliminated.&nbsp; Additionally, we would ask that GSA provide clarification on the use of spaces and special characters (*, -, /, etc.) within the manufacturer part number field.&nbsp; Without guidance in this area, item &quot;ABC-123&quot; and &quot;ABC123&quot;, having the same manufacturer name, could exist as two distinct item records on GSA Advantage.&nbsp; We intend to fully support GSA on this initiative; however, until GSA addresses the fact that the manufacturer part number, with no prefix or suffix applied, is not unique in the majority of contractors&rsquo; catalogs without also considering the associated manufacturer, full compliance is not achievable without needlessly removing items with duplicate manufacturer part numbers, but different manufacturers from our offering.</p><div id="cke_pastebin">&nbsp;</div>
<p>In our industry there are thousands of parts&nbsp;on each product we offer.&nbsp; We currently have, approximately, 6000 items on our options list.&nbsp;&nbsp;I&#39;m&nbsp;not sure its feasable or practical to get or to maintain the UPC or MPN for all these options.&nbsp; </p>
<p>Our product part numbers are unique to Nevers Industries, Inc.&nbsp; To the best of my knowledge no other manufacture uses the same part number.&nbsp;&nbsp; I don&#39;t see the value of adding a UPC Code to products that are manufactured to order.&nbsp; As with most manufactures we manufacture our standard products to order as to alleviate stocking items that do not sell quickly.&nbsp;</p>
<p>The issue is the manufacturer part number has no dashes.&nbsp; Some vendors add dashes to the Manfacturer part number.&nbsp; Should allow either way and system should be able to search for any combination of those numbers.</p>
<p>A longer input field for the PRODUT ITEMS NAME in SIP would allow us not to use so many abbreviations. &nbsp;If we are being asked to mirror a manufacturer&#39;s product name, then we need the space to do so. &nbsp;40 characters is not enough in many instances. &nbsp;80 or 100 characters would be a better fit for our products. &nbsp;Given where the information is displayed in GSAdvantage! there is more than enough room to allow a longer PRODUCT ITEM NAME to more cloesly mirror the manufacturer&#39;s item name. &nbsp;It is always a challenge to figure out how to pare down the manufacturer&#39;s product name into 40 characters. &nbsp;The 40 character limitation oftenb forces us to NOT to accurately input the manufacturer&#39;s name for a given item.</p>
Mike Hagerty
<p>@svail: Excellent comment. There are numerous&nbsp;items on GSA Advantage where the same manufacturer&#39;s name is listed several different ways, and manufacturer part numbers are modified by the contractor to suit their own numbering system. Some large distributors&nbsp;list their own vendor part numbers in lieu of the manufacturer&#39;s part number.</p><p>Universal Product Codes may not be the final solution because many manufacturers may not care to invest the time, money, and effort required to implement UPC methodology. UPC barcoding&nbsp;is geared for the retail market and is an&nbsp;old technology that&nbsp;does not meet the identification needs of many commercial suppliers.</p><p>The only problem with unique identifers for manufacturers is the plethora of overlapping names and divisions, especially in large enterprises. Think about 3M, Stanley, etc. It will take a full-tme database commander to establish, maintain, and police the system, but the added efficiency should be well worth the effort.</p>
<p>I agree with svail.&nbsp; We currently use standardized MPN and only add a suffix if that same part number is used by two or more manufacturers to denote they are different.&nbsp; Without that suffix, SIP will not allow us to load both items.</p>
<p>It would be helpful if the SIP could use a combination of manufacturer name and part number as the unique key for each item. Currently the system uses only the part # and this can create issues as multiple manufacturers do on occasion use the same part number. It is then impossible to put both items into the system. Changing the unique key to manufacturer name AND part number would solve this.</p>
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