GSA Rolls Out New Formatted Product Tool – Aimed at Replacing SIP
The General Services Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) made significant strides and improvements to its suite of tools and reporting systems in June 2016. The announcement of the Formatted Product Tool (FPT) occurred on June 20th and the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) rule occurred on June 23rd. Both initiatives will be taking effect for all GSA Schedule Contracts, but at the present time FPT has only been released under Schedules 58 I and 72 for those vendors offering products. Schedule 75 is next in the roll out with an expected implementation sometime in Q4 FY 2016. Schedules 73, 51 V, and 70 are the next three on the list although this is subject to change. Not unlike TDR, the acceptance of the Mass Modification is not yet mandatory, but is highly recommended. Once this upgrade is applied to all Schedules, the use of the Schedule Input Program (SIP) will no longer be necessary and FPT will replace it entirely. It is GSA’s hope that FPT will make a once somewhat difficult and lengthy process much smoother for both the contractor and their Contract Specialist/Contracting Officer (CS/CO). To view the GSA announcement click here.
The Pros and Cons of FPT
While there are many positive changes that have been made with FPT, one of the most significant improvements is the increase in data analytics and transparency. Contractors will now have the ability to compare their prices to those of other companies and use this knowledge to better negotiate prices with the government. In addition, the upgrade to FPT will eliminate repetitive procedures that SIP currently requires. Contracting Officers will now have the ability to look at the marketplace as a whole when reviewing a proposal and make a better determination as to whether the proposed prices are both fair and reasonable. By streamlining the determination process as well as the automatic upload to GSA Advantage!, FPT will save time, money, and increase federal sales.
However, there are some negative aspects to FPT. One undesirable aspect of the transition is the necessity for the contractor to re-baseline their products. Once the Mass Mod is accepted, there is only a 60 day grace period to submit the new baseline to your CO. In addition, no new items are allowed to be submitted under the re-baseline and must be submitted as a Modification subsequent to the CO’s initial approval. Although the Price Proposal spreadsheet template will now be customized and generated individually for each contractor, the changes that come along with the standardization of Universal Product Codes (UPCs) and Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs) will prove to be difficult for GSA to manage and contractors to adjust to. To view GSA’s FPT Q & A publication click here.
Price Proposal Template and Process Changes
With the implementation of the Formatted Product Tool, the Price Proposal Template will no longer be one size fits all. Each vendor will be able to customize their template which will help to alleviate any confusion with cumbersome Excel files. There will now be three ways that you can upload a modification: Excel template, On-Screen Data Entry, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). On-Screen Data Entry is geared towards vendors who are adding a small amount of items, usually somewhere under 100 products. The easy auto-fill function of On-Screen Data Entry increases efficiency and quickens the upload process. The Excel Template is meant for those companies with larger amounts of products; the suggested amount is anything over 100 products. The process of using EDI is still the same. GSA estimates that once a modification or new baseline is approved, GSA Advantage! will be automatically updated within several hours and not days (depending on the size of the catalog). When completing both the baseline and modification process, the FPT system will auto-generate the target price range for your products and display where your prices lie within that range. Outlier items will be flagged for review and adjustment. However, there is a section for you to justify the price and your CO will evaluate it using their discretion. For more information click here to view the GSA FPT Vendor Webinar.
Find Out How BH Sky Can Assist Your Company with the New Formatted Product Tool