Seven GWAC Facts

When deciding whether to use a GWAC or not, here are seven reasons why a GWAC may be best for you and your agency.

1. GWACs
The “G” stands for Governmentwide.  GWAC stands for Governmentwide Acquisition Contract. They can be used by all civilian and defense agencies; are indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts; and intended solely for information technology products and services.


You would use a GWAC because they offer a convenient way of buying IT products and services. Contractors on a GWAC are pre-approved, having already gone through one level of competition just to get on the GWAC.


Thus this “Good Housekeeping Seal” gives you the confidence that whoever wins your task order has been vetted. Plus task orders placed via GWACs have the advantage that other companies can’t protest them except on the grounds that they are out of the GWAC’s scope. And with the way GWACs are making sure that all IT is in scope, that possibility is diminished.


It works this way. After receiving OMB approval for an upcoming IT requirement, agencies write a SOW and put together an RFP based on a GWAC. Those contractors on the GWAC respond and the customer evaluates responses based on best value, price and the companies’ ability to perform tasks within the GWAC’s scope.


Before issuing a GWAC task order, agencies must still go through an evaluation procedure called the fair opportunity process, which is designed to give all GWAC-listed companies an opportunity for task-order business. Agencies then make a source-selection award.


For IT providers – both big, small and minority the GWAC is their “hunting license”. A GWAC is an IDIQ contract and being on the GWAC doesn’t guarantee business. Companies have to earn that by winning your task orders. So there are two levels of competition.


Some GWACs permit only small businesses to gain a slot. Using a small-business GWAC for an in-scope requirement is an easy way to guarantee that small businesses will gain a contract. Small-businesses are included on GSA’s 8(a) STARS, VETS and COMMITS NextGen contracts and NASA SEWP.


2. Invest In The Experts.
So the question is: Why would you pay another government contracting center to buy stuff for you?


One answer is the sheer complexity of government procurement has grown. Services have replaced goods as the largest category of government procurement and they are complex buys. It’s not like buying a commodity. At the same time, the federal procurement workforce has declined or stayed static.


GWACs offer fee based assisted-services to help you define requirements, perform the necessary market research and write your contracts. Using assisted services can speed up the purchase if your own contracting shop is backlogged.


GWACs charge fees. These fees are typically added into the contract price so you never see a bill from the GWAC holder. GSA’s is 0.75 percent throughout their portfolio. NASA SEWP is 0.6 percent. NIH’s varies according to contract.


3. Speedy Convenient Customer Service
Back in the ancient times of the 1980s, ordering was snail like. Delivery could be 2 years after the request. Today products delivery times are measured in months, weeks or days depending upon the requirement.


For example to place and complete an order on the NIH CIO-SP2i contract takes with Fair Opportunity an average of 14 working days for Time & Material (T&M) and 21 working days for Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF) /Cost Plus Award Fee (CPAF). The ordering timelines for GSA’s many GWACs is comparable.


On NASA SEWP, new product/solutions are added in 1 business day and their customer service team turns around customer issues and requests in 1 business day.


All have customer service representatives to help you at every turn – and will come to you to help solve your problems.


4. Friendly Online Tools
Visit the SEWP, NITAAC or GSA websites and you’ll find easy to use online tools that assist you with every step of the acquisition.


5. Meet Small Business/Minority Requirements
GWACs can help you meet your small business contracting requirements. There are a number of GWACs that cater specifically to these needs. One reason to use small business is they are usually innovative and will adopt technological innovations faster than larger businesses that aren’t as nimble. Countless technologies we use today grew from small business roots with less bureaucracy.


6. Don’t Mistake a MAC for a GWAC
MAC stands for multi-agency contract. They are also IDIQ contracts. You must have permission to use another agency’s MAC. An agency placing a MAC order with another must also attest that the order is in the best interest of the government and whatever is bought can’t be obtained elsewhere as conveniently or economically. Agencies often create MACs for internal use. An example is the DHS EAGLE contract which is open only to DHS components and selected agencies.


7. Task Reducing Contract and Task Order Management
GWACs provide automated tools that focus on the processes and metrics that support task order management. The objective of the tools is to provide quicker access, improved accuracy, and enhanced accessibility for contractors/clients, real-time monitoring of status/deliverables, tracking the quality of work products and gauging overall customer satisfaction.