Over time, acquisitions of services and information technology (IT) have increasingly consolidated onto indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) multiple award contracts (MACs). These contract vehicles provide benefits to government customers and contractors both large in small through shorter acquisition lead times and lower administrative costs. At the same time, there is concern that use of IDIQ contracts for certain work can be a barrier to innovation, and may hurt some small businesses. Over the last couple years, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy has rolled out and taken steps to institutionalize Category Management, a government-wide effort to manage acquisition across 10 categories, which will be implemented by identifying and utilizing best in class government-wide IDIQ MAC contract vehicles.
Small businesses have also been concerned by the increased use of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) contract vehicle within the Department of Defense. However, OASIS was specifically developed by GSA for the Air Force because the Service had trouble meeting its small business goals. Given that the federal government has been increasingly successful in meeting small business goals in recent years, small businesses should consider the incentives driven by the small business contracting goals, and how they may conflict with other outcomes for small business contracting programs.
As Category Management is implemented, the federal government should ensure that source selection criteria for best in class vehicles aligns with intended outcomes for small business programs. Further, acquisition professionals should have flexibility to acquire the optimal products and services necessary to support program goals. This concern is relevant due to a June 2016 proposed rule, which installs a de facto mandate of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI), a strategy within the umbrella of Category Management.