The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced seven steps that the agencies have taken to implement the federal government’s new category management initiative. The category management initiative refers to federal efforts to consolidate the government’s buying power to leverage its position in the commercial market as the world’s largest consumer. By consolidating federal purchases, the government hopes to pass on cost savings to taxpayers and realize efficiencies and enhanced contract performance.
OMB and the Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council (SSLC)—which is composed of representatives from the eight agencies responsible for the majority of procurement spending— have already taken a major step toward achieving greater market leverage for the federal government by consolidating frequently purchased goods and services into ten “General Government” categories, including a new Professional Services Schedule. OMB and the SSLC also created nine “Defense-Centric” categories. This restructuring will allow federal agencies to rely more frequently on just one contracting vehicle to procure a host of goods and services.
However, as Anne Rung, Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at OMB, and Thomas Sharpe, Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at GSA, recently announced, OMB and GSA were just getting started. OMB and GSA have implemented a series of additional measures to further the category management initiative. Specifically, GSA and OMB:
Created a guidance document, entitled “Government-Wide Category Management Guidance,” to explain how the agencies intend to implement category management.
- Identified category management as a “Cross Agency Priority” goal, which will fast-track category management efforts as a top priority for the federal government.
- Compiled agency resources and acquisition guidance on GSA’s “Acquisition Gateway,” and developed user-friendly tools to allow users to sort through resources efficiently.
- Employed a “Spend Under Management Tiered Maturity Model” to assess government-wide acquisition spending, which will allow agencies to share pricing information and thereby secure optimal value.
- Determined that GSA, OMB, DoD, and the Office of Personnel Management will be responsible for leading at least seven of the ten General Government categories of frequently purchased goods and services.
- Created a new Professional Services Schedule, which will allow federal agencies to acquire professional services through one contracting vehicle.
- Awarded blanket purchase agreements that will allow agencies to enter into task orders with contractors for credit monitoring services to respond to data breaches.
GSA and OMB intend to issue additional category management policies in the near future to streamline IT services.
 The eight agencies are GSA, NASA, the Small Business Administration, and the Departments of Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.