The ongoing MAS consolidation will affect the GSA eBuy system as well. In this article we provide a brief overview of what GSA eBuy is, and what changes it awaits.
What is GSA eBuy
GSA eBuy is a government acquisition platform where buyers – various federal agencies – can publish Requests for Quotations for certain services and goods they need, and vendors holding GSA Schedule contracts can respond to those requests by placing bids. The eBuy government procurement platform is a part of the GSA Advantage! resource focused on acquisitions below the $150,000 threshold.
How GSA eBuy works
1. A company becomes a GSA Schedule contractor
In order to be able to place bids in eBuy, a vendor must apply for GSA Schedule and win a government contract. GSA eBuy registration is a part of GSA Schedule award, and it provides a number of benefits to contractors.
2. The contractor’soffer SIN must match the solicitation
The eBuy system only allows contractors that hold Schedules in the matching SINs to see and respond on RFQ posted by federal, municipal and state agencies. Whenever such an RFQ is posted, a contractor receives notification about this opportunity and can sign in to eBuy and offer its quotation in response.
Note that in addition the Request for Quotation there are other solicitation types as well.
3. GSA Schedule holders bid on eBuy government contracts
Bidding on RFQ contracts has its specifics. First of all, bids can only be seen by the buyer, that is an agency that posted the RFQ. Other vendors have no access to it. This means there is no way for late enter where you monitor existing offers and then bid accordingly.
4. A federal agency reviews submitted proposals and selects one
Responding to the Request for Quotation on eBuy does not imply any obligations for a contractor. However, submitting correct information and bidding fairly are a must, because the lowest bid does not always win. In fact, it is all about conditions, terms and other details of the proposal.
5. All bidders are notified about the result
When the buyer selects one contractors, it closes the RFQ. All bidders of the RFQ are then automatically notified about the outcome of the RFQ.
How to bid on GSA contracts?
Placing a winning bid is an art you can (and should) master. Consider passing GSA eBuy training to understand how GSA eBuy works, what are the specifics of responding to RFQ, and how to bid properly and competitively. We encourage you to read our comprehensive tutorial on government contract bidding too. You may even want to watch GSA tutorials on YouTube published by GSA for federal agencies. This will help you seeing the process from the other side, and hence learning to use this for your own favor.
Is it allowed to include Open Market items?
Sometimes the RFQ includes products and services within your SIN and some other goods that are not part of your Schedule. While there is nothing wrong in supplying open market goods, you still need to contact the procurement officer at GSA eBuy to clarify on that. Because silent inclusion of open market items to your proposal may result in the rejected offer due to unfair or non-competitive prices.
How will eBuy change after MAS Consolidation?
Upon MAS consolidation, the eBuy system will experience some updates too. As we explained here, GSA introduces the whole new SINs and categories, so apparently the eBuy platform needs to adopt them too. In fact, the new GSA Schedule SINs come to eBuy by February 2020.
Sure enough, the current contract holder are a little bit worried about the upcoming changes. Will the new SINs system correctly interpret old SINs of the existing contracts? The answer is yes. During the consolidation process GSA maps old-format SINs to the new system, so searching for opportunities on eBuy will remain correct.
Another vital improvement is the ability to publish RFQ’s for the entire category or subcategory, not just the specific SINs. Potentially, this will help agencies to post Requests faster without the need to manually select the one matching SIN among hundreds of them. From the vendor part, this means the new eBuy system will allow potential contractors to explore more opportunities even if the agency didn’t release the opportunity under a specific SIN the vendor now holds.
The overhaul of eBuy should end by July 2020. GSA have been collecting contractors feedback for months already, and will apply many suggestions submitted by both contractors and federal buyers delivering the new platform that will be more convenient for both sides.