Multiple Award Schedule Purchases:

Changes Are Needed to Improve Agencies' Ordering Practices

NSIAD-92-123: Published: Jun 2, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed multiple award schedule (MAS) purchasing practices, to determine whether: (1) procurement offices complied with statutory and regulatory requirements aimed to ensure that orders exceeding $25,000 resulted in the lowest overall cost alternative; (2) the offices missed opportunities to select lower-cost alternatives for selected procurement cases; and (3) MAS management practices were effective and ensured that MAS orders were made at the lowest overall cost.

GAO found that: (1) agencies' MAS purchasing practices did not ensure compliance with statutory requirements that MAS orders result in the lowest overall cost alternative meeting the government's needs; (2) for the most part, procurement offices filled users' requests for a specific manufacturer's product without determining whether other MAS products could satisfy the requirement at a lower cost; (3) a lower-cost product, supplier, or procurement approach existed for 19 of the 47 MAS procurements reviewed; (4) the lower-cost alternatives would have resulted in savings of $269,000 to $323,000; (5) procurement offices, agencies, and the General Services Administration (GSA) all devoted little attention to management and oversight of MAS procurements; and (6) a broad consensus existed among GSA and agency procurement officials that automating MAS information would facilitate product and price comparisons and better ensure selecting the lowest-cost alternative.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 replaces the current small purchase threshold of $25,000 with the new $100,000 simplified acquisition threshold. It permits agencies to use simplified procedures for purchases below the threshold provided that they are implementing electronic commerce procedures. GSA is in the process of implementing electronic placement of delivery orders against schedule contracts. GSA has also made the use of all Federal Supply Schedule contracts optional. GSA is simplifying its MAS contracting and ordering procedures to be consistent with the statutory changes in the Acquisition Streamlining Act and the National Performance Review recommendations for increased use of electronic commerce.

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider revising procurement statutes to allow agency procurement offices to follow a less stringent standard, similar to that in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 13.106(b)(5), for MAS purchases below the small-purchase threshold of $25,000.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OFPP is leading an administration effort to revise FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendation that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules to guiding principles. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the administration and federal procurement officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which GAO intended this recommendation to address.

    Recommendation: The Administrators of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Secretary of Defense should revise FAR 8.4, for Federal Supply Service (FSS) MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that purchase descriptions be written in accordance with FAR 10.004(b)(2) to permit those manufacturers' products meeting the government's needs to be considered and purchase descriptions restricted to a particular manufacturer's product be accompanied by a justification for other than full and open competition, consistent with FAR 6.3.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OFPP is leading an Administration initiative to revise the FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendation that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules and process compliance to guiding principles and accountability for results. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the Administration and federal acquisition officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which implementation of the recommendation was intended to remedy.

    Recommendation: The Administrators of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Secretary of Defense should revise FAR 8.4, for Federal Supply Service (FSS) MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that purchase descriptions be written in accordance with FAR 10.004(b)(2) to permit those manufacturers' products meeting the government's needs to be considered and purchase descriptions restricted to a particular manufacturer's product be accompanied by a justification for other than full and open competition, consistent with FAR 6.3.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OFPP is leading an Administration initiative to revise the FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendation that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules to guiding principles, and increased measurement of results rather than process compliance. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the Administration and federal procurement officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which implementation of the recommendation was intended to remedy.

    Recommendation: The Administrators of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Secretary of Defense should revise FAR 8.4, for Federal Supply Service (FSS) MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that purchase descriptions be written in accordance with FAR 10.004(b)(2) to permit those manufacturers' products meeting the government's needs to be considered and purchase descriptions restricted to a particular manufacturer's product be accompanied by a justification for other than full and open competition, consistent with FAR 6.3.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by September 11, 1992 NASA letter. NASA concurs in part with recommendations intended to ensure MAS orders comply with statutory requirements and that GSA and the agencies improve MAS program management. NASA will participate in FAR council and DAR council to effect recommendations in FAR. NASA takes exception to portions of recommendations that could be interpreted to require agencies to duplicate GSA efforts of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting contractors for MAS. NASA implementation of the changes addressed in response will be subject to management oversight through functional reviews at NASA headquarters and each NASA center.

    Recommendation: The Administrators of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Secretary of Defense should revise FAR 8.4, for Federal Supply Service (FSS) MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that purchase descriptions be written in accordance with FAR 10.004(b)(2) to permit those manufacturers' products meeting the government's needs to be considered and purchase descriptions restricted to a particular manufacturer's product be accompanied by a justification for other than full and open competition, consistent with FAR 6.3.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OFPP is leading an administration initiative to revise FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendation that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules and process compliance to guiding principles and accountability for results. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the Administration and federal acquisition officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which implementation of the recommendation was intended to remedy.

    Recommendation: The Administrators, OFPP, General Services, and NASA, and the Secretary of Defense should revise FAR 8.4 for FSS MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that documentation be included in the procurement file showing: (1) that all reasonably available suppliers meeting the government's needs were considered (which might include, for example, listing such suppliers' products with appropriate model numbers and prices or copying contractors' catalog price list pages containing such information); (2) reasons for not obtaining prices regarding MAS suppliers' products meeting the government's needs; (3) the basis for selecting the MAS supplier that received the order; and (4) how the lowest delivered price or lowest overall cost alternative was determined.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OFPP is leading an Administration initiative to revise FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendation that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules and process compliance to guiding principles and accountability for results. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the Administration and federal acquisition officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which implementation of the recommendation was intended to remedy.

    Recommendation: The Administrators, OFPP, General Services, and NASA, and the Secretary of Defense should revise FAR 8.4 for FSS MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that documentation be included in the procurement file showing: (1) that all reasonably available suppliers meeting the government's needs were considered (which might include, for example, listing such suppliers' products with appropriate model numbers and prices or copying contractors' catalog price list pages containing such information); (2) reasons for not obtaining prices regarding MAS suppliers' products meeting the government's needs; (3) the basis for selecting the MAS supplier that received the order; and (4) how the lowest delivered price or lowest overall cost alternative was determined.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy

  7. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA will participate in DAR and FAR councils' actions to revise FAR 8.4. GSA agrees that MAS ordering procedures can be improved, but GSA does not agree with the wording of the GAO recommendation. GSA is clarifying MAS ordering procedures in FAR 8.4 for FAR and DAR councils' actions. OFPP is leading an Administration initiative to revise the FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendation that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules and process compliance to guiding principles and accountability for results. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the Administration and federal acquisition officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which implementation of the recommendation was intended to remedy.

    Recommendation: The Administrators, OFPP, General Services, and NASA, and the Secretary of Defense should revise FAR 8.4 for FSS MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that documentation be included in the procurement file showing: (1) that all reasonably available suppliers meeting the government's needs were considered (which might include, for example, listing such suppliers' products with appropriate model numbers and prices or copying contractors' catalog price list pages containing such information); (2) reasons for not obtaining prices regarding MAS suppliers' products meeting the government's needs; (3) the basis for selecting the MAS supplier that received the order; and (4) how the lowest delivered price or lowest overall cost alternative was determined.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by September 11, 1992 NASA letter. NASA concurs in part with recommendations intended to ensure MAS orders comply with statutory requirements and that GSA and the agencies improve MAS program management. NASA will participate in FAR council and DAR council to effect recommendations in FAR. NASA takes exception to portions of recommendations that could be interpreted to require agencies to duplicate GSA efforts of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting contractors for MAS. NASA implementation of the changes addressed in response will be subject to management oversight through functional reviews at NASA headquarters and each NASA center.

    Recommendation: The Administrators, OFPP, General Services, and NASA, and the Secretary of Defense should revise FAR 8.4 for FSS MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that documentation be included in the procurement file showing: (1) that all reasonably available suppliers meeting the government's needs were considered (which might include, for example, listing such suppliers' products with appropriate model numbers and prices or copying contractors' catalog price list pages containing such information); (2) reasons for not obtaining prices regarding MAS suppliers' products meeting the government's needs; (3) the basis for selecting the MAS supplier that received the order; and (4) how the lowest delivered price or lowest overall cost alternative was determined.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  9. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS products and prices addresses the problems identified in the report that it was difficult and time-consuming for federal agency purchasers to be aware of and compare alternative products and prices from numerous suppliers offering similar items.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should revise the Federal Information Resources Management Regulation (FIRMR), for Information Resource Management Service (IRMS) MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that all reasonably available suppliers be considered.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  10. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA believes that regulatory language in FIRMR is clear and sufficient. GSA officials noted, and GAO agrees, that the GSA project to automate access to information about MAS products and prices addresses the problems identified in the report that it was difficult and time-consuming for federal agency purchasers to be aware of and compare alternative products and prices from numerous suppliers offering similar items and to select the MAS supplier offering the lowest overall cost product meeting the agency's needs.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should revise FIRMR, for IRMS MAS orders expected to exceed $25,000, to require that all documentation be included in the procurement file showing: (1) that all reasonably available suppliers meeting the government's needs were considered (which might include, for example, listing such suppliers' products with appropriate model numbers and prices or copying contractors' catalog price list pages containing such information); (2) reasons for not obtaining prices regarding suppliers' products meeting the government's needs; (3) the basis for selecting the supplier that received the order; and (4) how the lowest overall cost alternative was determined.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  11. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Furniture systems schedule ordering procedures have been changed so that problems discussed in the report are not relevant to current buying practices.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should take action to ensure that the heads of all federal departments and agencies that use the furniture systems schedule: (1) plan and conduct furniture systems procurements in accordance with the schedule provisions; and (2) monitor the effectiveness of agencies' implementation efforts.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has informed agencies of interior design services available from Public Building Service to assist them on meeting their needs.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should take action to examine customer agencies' needs for preliminary interior design services and, if appropriate, take steps to assist agencies in meeting those needs, possibly by awarding MAS contracts for design services.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by USDA letter May 27, 1992. DOA agrees with most of the recommendations and describes actions taken to satisfy them. USDA does not agree that it should develop and implement regulations and guidance on MAS contracts in advance of GSA guidance. DOA will continue to defer to GSA guidance. DOA shall emphasize the importance of ordering procedures but will decline to establish special programs, since in FY 1991 the dollar value of USDA buys against GSA schedule contracts was 5 percent of all USDA procurement and less than 1 percent of USDA procurements over $25,000.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action complete based on Commerce letter of September 11, 1992 and status report of August 11, 1993. Commerce concurred with recommendations and detail actions to be taken in its September 11th letter. Such actions included preparing policy guidance on MAS contracts, good management practices, proper documentation of files, and consideration of all suppliers. The status report indicates that all actions were complete on July 9, 1993.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In an August 20, 1993 memorandum, the DOD Director, Defense Procurement, informed the drectors of Defense agencies of the importance of following FAR and FIRMR guidance on the use of MAS. To ensure appropriate adherence to these requirements, the memorandum states that procurement management reviews should include a sample of delivery orders placed against MAS.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Energy monitors compliance through its Procurement Management Review process.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by HHS letter of November 4, 1992. HHS agreed with many aspects of the report and is taking action to correct the deficiencies. However, HHS was concerned that an overly conservative approach in determining what agencies must do to obtain "the lowest cost alternative" under MAS could unnecessarily hamper agencies from taking full advantage of simplified procurement policies. Regarding deficiencies which GAO found in the administration of the MAS program by GSA, HHS defers to GSA.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  18. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Draft revisions to the agency's Acquisition Management Review Handbook (AMR) directly address this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  19. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOJ letter of August 25, 1992. DOJ agreed with GAO recommendations. The letter provided examples of actions which are currently in place to implement the recommendations. Included in such examples are how DOJ monitors its procurement operations, provides training to contracting personnel, provides procurement information guides and instructions to contracting personnel, and stressed the need for advanced procurement planning. DOJ felt these activities would complete the actions necessary to implement the recommendations.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  20. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOT letter of October 23, 1992. DOT agreed with the findings and the need for improving MAS. However, DOT did not agree that tasking the heads of 12 federal agencies to take the suggested corrective actions is the most effective way of doing so. DOT suggested that a joint effort among the agencies and GSA would produce better results. DOT sent a letter to GSA detailing recommended changes to the FAR and FIRMR which it said would enhance MAS ordering and documentation requirements.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  21. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Treasury is reviewing MAS ordering practices during scheduled staff assistance visits at bureaus and offices.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  22. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by VA letter April 1, 1993. VA concurs with recommendations and provides details of actions taken to implement recommendations. DAS/A&MM held two conferences discussing MAS material with VA medical center Purchase and Contracting personnel and plan for two more. VA also provided documentation and analysis guidance to field acquisition personnel encouraging management personnel to periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000. Newly created Centralized Acquisition Analysis Office will be reviewing procurement history files when they become available from the Integrated Supply Management System for improved acquisition planning and cost effectiveness.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  23. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA is revising, streamlining, and automating its contracting and ordering procedures for the MAS program to implement the National Performance Review recommendation for procurement regulations to shift away from rigid rules and process orientation to guiding principles and accountability for results. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance and is not in line with the NPR recommendation or the Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 to simplify the government procurement process. The GSA project to automate access to MAS information offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which implementation of the recommendation was intended to remedy.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  24. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by September 11, 1992 NASA letter. NASA concurs in part with recommendations intended to ensure MAS orders comply with statutory requirements and that GSA and the agencies improve MAS program management. NASA will participate in FAR council and DAR council to effect recommendations in FAR. NASA takes exception to portions of recommendations that could be interpreted to require agencies to duplicate GSA efforts of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting contractors for MAS. NASA implementation of the changes addressed in response will be subject to management oversight through functional reviews at NASA headquarters and each NASA center.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement offices' practices for describing and accepting requests for MAS purchases under: (1) FSS schedule contracts are consistent with the requirements of FAR 10.004(b)(2); and (2) IRMS schedule contracts conform to the requirements of FIRMR 201-39.601.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  25. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department issued guidance reminding procurement personnel to consult all "reasonably available" price lists before issuing orders.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  26. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action complete based on Commerce letter of September 11, 1992 and status report of August 11, 1993. Commerce concurred with recommendations and detail actions to be taken in its September 11th letter. Such actions included preparing policy guidance on MAS contracts, good management practices, proper documentation of files, and consideration of all suppliers. The status report indicates that all actions were completed on July 9, 1993.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  27. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The ongoing GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items is the appropriate solution to this problem.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  28. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Energy assesses compliance with this requirement through its Procurement Management Assistance Reviews (PMAR) and other internal reviews.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  29. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by HHS letter of November 4, 1992. HHS agreed with many aspects of the report and is taking action to correct the deficiencies. However, HHS was concerned that an overly conservative approach in determining what agencies must do to obtain "the lowest cost alternative" under MAS could unnecessarily hamper agencies from taking full advantage of simplified procurement policies. Regarding deficiencies which GAO found in the administration of the MAS program by GSA, HHS defers to GSA.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  30. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Revisions to Interior's Acquisition Management Review Handbook directly address this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  31. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOJ letter of August 25, 1992. DOJ agreed with GAO recommendations. The letter provided examples of actions which are currently in place to implement the recommendations. Included in such examples are how DOJ monitors its procurement operations, provides training to contracting personnel, provides procurement information guides and instructions to contracting personnel, and stressed the need for advanced procurement planning. DOJ felt these activities would complete the actions necessary to implement the recommendations.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  32. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOT letter of October 23, 1992. DOT agreed with the findings and the need for improving MAS. However, DOT did not agree that tasking the heads of 12 federal agencies to take the suggested corrective actions is the most effective way of doing so. DOT suggested that a joint effort among the agencies and GSA would produce better results. DOT sent a letter to GSA detailing recommended changes to the FAR and FIRMR which it said would enhance MAS ordering and documentation requirements.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  33. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The ongoing GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items is the appropriate solution to this operational problem.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  34. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by VA letter April 1, 1993. VA concurs with the recommendations and provides details of actions taken to implement recommendations. DAS/A&MM held two conferences discussing MAS material with VA medical center Purchase and Contracting personnel and plan for two more. VA also provided documentation and analysis guidance to field acquisition personnel encouraging management personnel to periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000. Newly created Centralized Acquisition Analysis Office will be reviewing procurement history files when they become available from the Integrated Supply Management System for improved acquisition planning and cost effectiveness.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  35. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA monitors regulatory compliance of MAS ordering through its procurement management reviews.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  36. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by September 11, 1992 NASA letter. NASA concurs in part with recommendations intended to ensure MAS orders comply with statutory requirements and that GSA and the agencies improve MAS program management. NASA will participate in FAR council and DAR council to effect recommendations in FAR. NASA takes exception to portions of recommendations that could be interpreted to require agencies to duplicate GSA efforts of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting contractors for MAS. NASA implementation of the changes addressed in response will be subject to management oversight through functional reviews at NASA headquarters and each NASA center.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel consider all reasonably available suppliers meeting the agency's needs before placing FSS MAS orders exceeding $25,000.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  37. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by USDA letter May 27, 1992. DOA agrees with most of the recommendations and describes actions taken to satisfy them. USDA does not agree that it should develop and implement regulations and guidance on MAS contracts in advance of GSA guidance. DOA will continue to defer to GSA guidance. DOA shall emphasize the importance of ordering procedures but will decline to establish special programs, since in FY 1991 the dollar value of USDA buys against GSA schedule contracts was 5 percent of all USDA procurement and less than 1 percent of USDA procurements over $25,000.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  38. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action complete based on Commerce letter of September 11, 1992 and status report of August 11, 1993. Commerce concurred with recommendations and detail actions to be taken in its September 11th letter. Such actions included preparing policy guidance on MAS contracts, good management practices, proper documentation of files, and consideration of all suppliers. The status report indicates that all actions were completed on July 9, 1993.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  39. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An August 20, 1993, memorandum from the Director, Defense Procurement, to the DOD components included a request that procurement management reviews conducted within the components include a sampling of procurement office efforts to comply with the MAS ordering requirement.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  40. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has revised its Acquisition Assistance and Sales Review Program and Checklist to enhance the guidelines for emphasis on MAS.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  41. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by HHS letter of November 4, 1992. HHS agreed with many aspects of the report and is taking action to correct the deficiencies. However, HHS was concerned that an overly conservative approach in determining what agencies must do to obtain "the lowest cost alternative" under MAS could unnecessarily hamper agencies from taking full advantage of simplified procurement policies. Regarding deficiencies which GAO found in the administration of the MAS program by GSA, HHS defers to GSA.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  42. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOI has added specific evaluation criteria on this point to its Acquisition Management Review Handbook.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  43. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOJ letter of August 25, 1992. DOJ agreed with GAO recommendations. The letter provided examples of actions which are currently in place to implement the recommendations. Included in such examples are how DOJ monitors its procurement operations, provides training to contracting personnel, provides procurement information guides and instructions to contracting personnel, and stressed the need for advanced procurement planning. DOJ felt these activities would complete the actions necessary to implement the recommendations.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  44. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOT letter of October 23, 1992. DOT agreed with the findings and the need for improving MAS. However, DOT did not agree that tasking the heads of 12 federal agencies to take the suggested corrective actions is the most effective way of doing so. DOT suggested that a joint effort among the agencies and GSA would produce better results. DOT sent a letter to GSA detailing recommended changes to the FAR and FIRMR which it said would enhance MAS ordering and documentation requirements.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  45. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Treasury required its bureaus to review and report their MAS ordering practices; from the results of these reviews, Treasury concluded that the Department as a whole generally complies with the regulations applicable to MAS ordering. As a continuing management initiative, Treasury is more fully reviewing MAS ordering practices of its bureaus during scheduled procurement staff assistance visits, conducted once every three years at each of Treasury's bureaus to determine if the bureaus' procurement systems meet the regulatory, statutory, and program requirements of the Department.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  46. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by VA letter April 1, 1993. VA concurs with the recommendations and provides details of actions taken to implement recommendations. DAS/A&MM held two conferences discussing MAS material with VA medical center Purchase and Contracting personnel and plan for two more. VA also provided documentation and analysis guidance to field acquisition personnel encouraging management personnel to periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000. Newly created Centralized Acquisition Analysis Office will be reviewing procurement history files when they become available from the Integrated Supply Management System for improved acquisition planning and cost effectiveness.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  47. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has issued guidance to agencies on MAS procurement file documentation.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies accounting for most of the value of GSA MAS orders should take actions to ensure that their procurement personnel clearly document in procurement files the offices' decisions regarding consideration of suppliers, selection of the contractors with which the MAS orders are placed, and procurement at the lowest overall cost or lowest delivered price.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  48. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by USDA letter May 27, 1992. DOA agrees with most of the recommendations and describes actions taken to satisfy them. USDA does not agree that it should develop and implement regulations and guidance on MAS contracts in advance of GSA guidance. DOA will continue to defer to GSA guidance. DOA shall emphasize the importance of ordering procedures but will decline to establish special programs, since in FY 1991 the dollar value of USDA buys against GSA schedule contracts was 5 percent of all USDA procurement and less than 1 percent of USDA procurements over $25,000.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  49. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action complete based on Commerce letter of September 11, 1992 and status report of August 11, 1993. Commerce concurred with recommendations and detail actions to be taken in its September 11th letter. Such actions included preparing policy guidance on MAS contracts, good management practices, proper documentation of files, and consideration of all suppliers. The status report indicates that all actions were completed on July 9, 1993.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  50. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In an August 20, 1993, memorandum from the Director, Defense Procurement, directors of Defense agencies were directed to advise their contracting offices of the importance of following the applicable FAR and FIRMR guidance for placing delivery orders against GSA MAS contracts. Informal requests to DOD ordering activities through the DOD components to identify impediments to complying with those ordering requirements have resulted in identification of the lack of automated access to information on MAS items as the chief impediment to efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  51. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has issued additional MAS guidance.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  52. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by HHS letter of November 4, 1992. HHS agreed with many aspects of the report and is taking action to correct the deficiencies. However, HHS was concerned that an overly conservative approach in determining what agencies must do to obtain "the lowest cost alternative" under MAS could unnecessarily hamper agencies from taking full advantage of simplified procurement policies. Regarding deficiencies which GAO found in the administration of the MAS program by GSA, HHS defers to GSA.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  53. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department has added specific guidance and MAS procurement evaluation criteria to address this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  54. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOJ letter of August 25, 1992. DOJ agreed with GAO recommendations. The letter provided examples of actions which are currently in place to implement the recommendations. Included in such examples are how DOJ monitors its procurement operations, provides training to contracting personnel, provides procurement information guides and instructions to contracting personnel, and stressed the need for advanced procurement planning. DOJ felt these activities would complete the actions necessary to implement the recommendations.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  55. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOT letter of October 23, 1992. DOT agreed with the findings and the need for improving MAS. However, DOT did not agree that tasking the heads of 12 federal agencies to take the suggested corrective actions is the most effective way of doing so. DOT suggested that a joint effort among the agencies and GSA would produce better results. DOT sent a letter to GSA detailing recommended changes to the FAR and FIRMR which it said would enhance MAS ordering and documentation requirements.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  56. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Treasury has reviewed MAS ordering practices at its bureaus and offices to determine if changes are needed in policy, procedures, guidance, and staff training. In a June 1993 report to GSA on management oversight of MAS ordering practices, Treasury concluded that the Department as a whole generally complies with the regulations applicable to MAS ordering. However, as part of the Department's Staff Assistance Visits to bureaus' procurement offices, management teams will evaluate the need for improvements in staff training on MAS ordering requirements and documentation requirements.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  57. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by VA letter April 1, 1993. VA concurs with the recommendations and provides details of actions taken to implement recommendations. DAS/A&MM held two conferences discussing MAS material with VA medical center Purchase and Contracting personnel and plan for two more. VA also provided documentation and analysis guidance to field acquisition personnel encouraging management personnel to periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000. Newly created Centralized Acquisition Analysis Office will be reviewing procurement history files when they become available from the Integrated Supply Management System for improved acquisition planning and cost effectiveness.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  58. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA provides such guidance to its buyers.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  59. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by September 11, 1992 NASA letter. NASA concurs in part with recommendations intended to ensure MAS orders comply with statutory requirements and that GSA and the agencies improve MAS program management. NASA will participate in FAR council and DAR council to effect recommendations in FAR. NASA takes exception to portions of recommendations that could be interpreted to require agencies to duplicate GSA efforts of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting contractors for MAS. NASA implementation of the changes addressed in response will be subject to management oversight through functional reviews at NASA headquarters and each NASA center.

    Recommendation: To accomplish these objectives, federal department and agency heads may need to direct their staffs to institute one or more of the following: (1) provide training and guidance to procurement personnel and requisitioners on preparing, reviewing, and approving MAS purchase requests, with specific emphasis on requests limited to one manufacturer's product; (2) develop and implement MAS procurement file documentation procedures; and (3) periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000 for compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  60. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by USDA letter May 27, 1992. DOA agrees with most of the recommendations and describes actions taken to satisfy them. USDA does not agree that it should develop and implement regulations and guidance on MAS contracts in advance of GSA guidance. DOA will continue to defer to GSA guidance. DOA shall emphasize the importance of ordering procedures but will decline to establish special programs, since in FY 1991 the dollar value of USDA buys against GSA schedule contracts was 5 percent of all USDA procurement and less than 1 percent of USDA procurements over $25,000.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  61. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Department prepared memo to inform heads of contracting offices of issues in the report.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  62. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In an August 20, 1993 memorandum from the Director, Defense Procurement, directors of Defense agencies were directed to advise their contracting offices of the need for greater attention to the regulatory requirements for placing delivery orders against MAS contracts. The memo also directed that procurement management reviews include a sample of delivery orders placed against MAS contracts to determine if a need exists for additional management action related to MAS procurement.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  63. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has enhanced its MAS program management guidance and oversight of its MAS procurements.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  64. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Department has issued guidance on and is monitoring its MAS procurement practices.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  65. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOJ letter of August 25, 1992. DOJ agreed with GAO recommendations. The letter provided examples of actions which are currently in place to implement the recommendations. Included in such examples are how DOJ monitors its procurement operations, provides training to contracting personnel, provides procurement information guides and instructions to contracting personnel, and stressed the need for advanced procurement planning. DOJ felt these activities would complete the actions necessary to implement the recommendations.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  66. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by DOT letter of October 23, 1992. DOT agreed with the findings and the need for improving MAS. However, DOT did not agree that tasking the heads of 12 federal agencies to take the suggested corrective actions is the most effective way of doing so. DOT suggested that a joint effort among the agencies and GSA would produce better results. DOT sent a letter to GSA detailing recommended changes to the FAR and FIRMR which it said would enhance MAS ordering and documentation requirements.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  67. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Treasury completed a review of MAS ordering practices of its bureaus and offices in 1993 and determined that the Department as a whole generally complied with the regulations applicable to MAS ordering. The Department is reviewing more fully this area during scheduled Staff Assistance Visits which are conducted once every three years at each of Treasury's bureaus to: (1) determine if the bureau's procurement systems meet statutory, regulatory, and program requirements; and (2) recommend improvements in management controls, staff training, etc.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  68. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by VA letter April 1, 1993. VA concurs with the recommendations and provides details of actions taken to implement recommendations. DAS/A&MM held two conferences discussing MAS material with VA medical center Purchase and Contracting personnel and plan for two more. VA also provided documentation and analysis guidance to field acquisition personnel encouraging management personnel to periodically analyze MAS orders exceeding $25,000. Newly created Centralized Acquisition Analysis Office will be reviewing procurement history files when they become available from the Integrated Supply Management System for improved acquisition planning and cost effectiveness.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  69. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has issued additional guidance to federal agencies on proper MAS procurement management practices.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  70. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by September 11, 1992 NASA letter. NASA concurs in part with recommendations intended to ensure MAS orders comply with statutory requirements and that GSA and the agencies improve MAS program management. NASA will participate in FAR council and DAR council to effect recommendations in FAR. NASA takes exception to portions of recommendations that could be interpreted to require agencies to duplicate GSA efforts of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting contractors for MAS. NASA implementation of the changes addressed in response will be subject to management oversight through functional reviews at NASA headquarters and each NASA center.

    Recommendation: The heads of the 12 federal departments and agencies should establish effective MAS management practices. At a minimum these practices should include: (1) developing management data, criteria, and procedures to analyze and plan whether MAS or another procurement approach would be most cost-effective in meeting the agency's requirements for various commercial products and services; (2) developing and implementing management criteria and procedures for reviewing incoming MAS purchase requests to detect order fragmentation and opportunities for requirements consolidation; and (3) ensuring effective management oversight, reporting, and followup of their procurement offices' efforts to comply with MAS ordering requirements discussed in this report.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  71. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has expedited MAS automation efforts. The system is menu-driven and, among other things, enables agencies to review the characteristics and compare prices of similar products available on MAS before making a selection.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should develop and implement a comprehensive management plan to expeditiously and effectively automate MAS information for the purpose of facilitating comparison of products and services on the schedules and selection of the lowest overall cost alternative meeting the needs of the government.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  72. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has evaluated procurement executives' responses and is issuing additional MAS guidance and revising MAS ordering procedures in FAR and FIRMR.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should establish deadlines for senior agency procurement executives to complete and report on the results of the GSA-requested reviews of their agency's MAS ordering practices. Using information from these reviews, GSA should identify recurring or systemic problems in agencies' MAS ordering practices and issue appropriate instruction and guidance to address these problems.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  73. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OFPP is leading an Administration effort to revise the FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendations that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules to guiding principles. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the Administration and federal procurement officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which GAO intended this recommendation to address.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Administrators, General Services, NASA, and OFPP, should take action to ensure that FAR is revised to clarify that: (1) FAR 8.404(a) and (c) do not eliminate the requirement for ordering offices to place orders with the schedule contractor offering the lowest delivered price available or the lowest overall cost meeting the government's minimum requirements; and (2) FAR 8.405-1 does not relieve contracting officials of the requirement to consider all reasonably available suppliers that can meet the government's needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  74. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OFPP is leading an Administration effort to revise the FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendation that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules to guiding principles. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the Administration and federal procurement officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which GAO intended the recommendation to address.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Administrators, General Services, NASA, and OFPP, should take action to ensure that FAR is revised to clarify that: (1) FAR 8.404(a) and (c) do not eliminate the requirement for ordering offices to place orders with the schedule contractor offering the lowest delivered price available or the lowest overall cost meeting the government's minimum requirements; and (2) FAR 8.405-1 does not relieve contracting officials of the requirement to consider all reasonably available suppliers that can meet the government's needs.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy

  75. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA has initiated a FAR case to clarify these sections of the regulations. OFPP is leading an Administration effort to revise the FAR in line with the National Performance Review recommendation that procurement regulations reflect a shift away from rigid rules to guiding principles. The above recommendation requires additional, not reduced, regulatory guidance and compliance, and is opposed by the Administration and federal procurement officials. The GSA project to automate access to information about MAS items offers an operational solution to the problems identified in the report which GAO intended this recommendation to address.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Administrators, General Services, NASA, and OFPP, should take action to ensure that FAR is revised to clarify that: (1) FAR 8.404(a) and (c) do not eliminate the requirement for ordering offices to place orders with the schedule contractor offering the lowest delivered price available or the lowest overall cost meeting the government's minimum requirements; and (2) FAR 8.405-1 does not relieve contracting officials of the requirement to consider all reasonably available suppliers that can meet the government's needs.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  76. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Action completed by September 11, 1992 NASA letter. NASA concurs in part with recommendations intended to ensure MAS orders comply with statutory requirements and that GSA and the agencies improve MAS program management. NASA will participate in FAR council and DAR council to effect recommendations in FAR. NASA takes exception to portions of recommendations that could be interpreted to require agencies to duplicate GSA efforts of soliciting, evaluating, and selecting contractors for MAS. NASA implementation of the changes addressed in response will be subject to management oversight through functional reviews at NASA headquarters and each NASA center.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense and the Administrators, General Services, NASA, and OFPP, should take action to ensure that FAR is revised to clarify that: (1) FAR 8.404(a) and (c) do not eliminate the requirement for ordering offices to place orders with the schedule contractor offering the lowest delivered price available or the lowest overall cost meeting the government's minimum requirements; and (2) FAR 8.405-1 does not relieve contracting officials of the requirement to consider all reasonably available suppliers that can meet the government's needs.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 

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