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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Small biz troubles for GSA's $1.2B strategic sourcing contract

There are several pending protests before the Government Accountability Office involving the General Services Administration’s Office Supply Strategic Sourcing Initiative Third Generation contract, and they could derail the $1.2 billion procurement.

Known as OS3, the contract will be used by agencies to buy office supplies. The idea is that if the government leverages its buying power, it can get better prices.

Hard to argue with that goal, but apparently several of the protesters are small businesses who are complaining that GSA didn’t consider the impact of the contract on small businesses. And it looks like the Small Business Administration agrees with them.

According to a document sent to me by an anonymous tipster – literally, SBA has taken the position that GSA has not done enough to document the impact of the contract.

SBA considers the OS3 contract to be a consolidation of multiple contracts, also known as contract bundling. When this happens, several statutory requirements kick in, including identifying the impact on small businesses, according a letter SBA sent to GAO as part of the protest process.

Actions GSA should have taken include conducting market research, making a written determination that the contract consolidation is necessary and justified, and including small business concerns are part of the acquisition strategy.

The SBA letter is critical of GSA’s claims that the benefits to small businesses gained through OS3 will outweigh the negatives. The claim “appears to be backed by no concrete data or analysis,” SBA wrote.

SBA thinks the protests should be sustained by GAO, which would put pressure on GSA to restart the contract process and issues a new solicitation.

Another bone of contention between GSA and SBA is that GSA says it doesn’t need SBA to approve its consolidation analysis. But SBA cites the small Business Act and subsequent amendments to the law that require SBA’s review.

Six protests are pending with due dates ranging from June 9 to July 2, so we’ll know within the next month how much sway SBA had on GAO’s decision.

For the record the protesters are:

  • New York Injet LLC
  • National Industries for the Blind
  • Capital Shredder Corp.
  • Dolphin Blue Inc.
  • KPaul Properties LLC
  • American Toner & Inc.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM


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