What is a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA)

What is a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA)

The GSA Schedule BPA is a powerful way to thin out competition on the federal market. The BPA is a simplified way for agencies to fulfill the recurring needs for products. What are benefits of establishing Schedule BPAs? Is the BPA worth going for? Who are ideal BPA suppliers, and what are common BPA examples – this article answers these questions.

What is BPA

Blanket Purchase Agreements are federal acquisition vehicles intended to simplify and speed up recurring purchases agencies need to make. Once signed, the BPA establishes terms and conditions for all future orders within the Schedule.

There are multiple items and products that agencies need to constantly resupply. The exact quantities may not be known in advance, though. The BPA makes placing such orders easier. Some examples of commodities often supplied via the BPA are:

  • Tools and equipments
  • Paints
  • Expendables
  • Components
  • Batteries
  • Electronic parts

The Blanket Purchase Agreement can only be issued after negotiation with a Contracting Officer and only against an established Multiple Award Schedule contract at the time of award.

What are advantages of the BPA?

The Blanket Purchase Agreement provides a number of benefits both for a vendor and for a purchasing agency. For a contractor the benefits are:

Simplified acquisition

Well, in fact the government wins more from the simplified acquisition process, but for a vendor this also means less paperwork. Once the BPA is signed, you can simply deliver what you ought to, and receive payments for that. That’s it.

Easier to plan production

When you know for sure this many of your products will be purchased this year, you can plan your production accordingly. Needles to say, this also simplifies your cooperation with subcontractors and allows you to optimize your supply chains.

Volume sales increase revenue

The BPA has a great potential of increasing your revenues. Indeed, with a standard 5-year contract of a MAS BPA, you can secure your revenues with the GSA Schedule while concentrating on other directions of your business too.

Quick turnaround of funds

With less administrative effort and minimum paperwork related to placing multiple purchase orders, you can count on quicker turnaround and a constant cash flow. Which is always great for any dynamically growing business.

Extendable limits

With the BPA, agencies can issue tasks to you within the same BPA as long as all the other rules are fulfilled. This means you can win a BPA with one agency for say $5 million, and then another agency issues the same task for you for another $5 million under the same BPA, and increases your limit.

How to establish a BPA?

Establishing a Blanket Purchase Agreement is regulated by FAR 8.405-3. Basically the procedure is the following:

  • If the estimated value of the BPA is below the SAT (Simplified Acquisition Threshold), the Contracting Officer should review at least three contractors before awarding a Schedule BPA the vendor that can provide the best value.
  • If the estimated value of the BPA is above the SAT, the Contracting Officer should issue an RFQ and post it on eBuy to get as many responses from contractors as possible.
  • Once the conditions of the BPA are negotiated and the contract is awarded, there is not further need for a Contracting Officer to negotiate terms and conditions or request any other documents. Placing individual purchase orders are also not needed during the entire duration of the BPA.

Types of BPA

According to FAR 8.405-3, two BPA types can be established:

  1. Single-award BPAs. A single-award BPA must not exceed one year with four optional renewals. Note that awards exceeding $112 million must be approved by the head of the GSA.
  2. Multiple-award BPAs. A MAS BPA must not exceed five years. In this case, all purchases are completed among a pool of contractors that were previously reviewed and approved.
  3. Government-wide Schedule BPAs. With this type of the BPA, multiple agencies can purchase commodities against the BPA directly with the Schedule contractors.

How are Schedule BPAs different?

One of the key differences between “traditional” BPAs and Schedule BPAs is that those global Blanket Purchase Agreements are a subject to the Simplified Acquisition Threshold. In other words, no agency can use “traditional” BPAs to purchase products or services above the SAT limit. However, if the BPA is established upon a Schedule contract, the SAT is not a problem anymore. Of course, all the other benefits of pursuing GSA Schedules apply to Schedule BPAs as well.

Where to find Blanket Purchase Agreements

The sources for BPA are GSA eBuy and GSA Advantage platforms. For instance, by running a search on GSA Advantage and applying the “BPA only” filter you can find currently awarded BPA competitions listed. And eBuy is the source for open BPA competitions you can bid on as long as your Schedule contract is relevant.

How to win a Blanket Purchase Agreement

Winning a BPA requires you winning a GSA Schedule contract in the first hand. Your company must be financially stable, you must provide a perfect Past Performance Report, and your proposal must provide the best value in comparison with other competitors. Put this otherwise, an ideal BPA supplier is a trusted GSA contractor with a proven and clean record. One of the most important factors is, of course, the price. Your price proposal must be fair, competitive and typically the lowest among other contractors.

BPAs are also subjects to various set-asides, including WOSB, VOSDSB, HUBZone, 8a, VA FSS set-asides and others. The competition for BPAs is lower, and if you are eligible to set-asides as a small business, you can raise your chances even higher.

Another way to win a Blanket Purchase Agreement is to hire an agent that will guide you through the entire process of registering as a GSA contractor, submitting your proposal, and fulfilling all the BPA requirements.

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