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GSA Makes Its Case That The Government is a Good Buyer

James Williams | Commissioner | General Services Administration

As commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, I often hear the phrase, “The government is a bad buyer.”

I have a different perspective.

FAS works with more than $50 billion a year in taxpayer money.

By serving as the government’s central acquisition source, the General Services Administration has for six decades provided customers with efficient and best value products, services and solutions.

Additionally, using GSA multiplies customers’ resources and allows them to focus on their mission critical activities. Those are all traits of good buyers, not bad.

Here are a few more examples of how GSA and its customers debunk this ‘bad buyer’ myth on a regular basis, and how we are meeting President Obama’s mandate to ensure that taxpayers get the best deal possible for government expenditures.

Purchasing More, Spending Less

FAS acts as a good buyer by bringing customers and partners together to identify and address common requirements under one procurement.

By serving as a single, collaborative source, FAS efficiently meets customer needs, saves taxpayer money and reduces procurement process times.

For example, three government agencies recently needed land mobile radios.

The Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) in our Assisted Acquisition Services organization consolidated their requirements and established pre-negotiated contracts known as blanket purchase agreements (BPAs).

These BPAs provided the agencies with pre-qualified and steeply discounted price options.

Also, FEDSIM posted the BPAs on GSA’s online shopping system, GSAAdvantage!®, giving these customers quick and easy access to the products.

Moving beyond products, FAS’ travel services programs offer deep hotel and airfare discounts. In fiscal 2008, for example, FedRooms® hotel rates were 32 percent lower than corporate rates listed by Business Travel News.

In addition, we estimate that the recently awarded City Pair Program contracts will save taxpayers more than $6 billion in 2010.

By aggregating agencies’ requirements and jointly procuring goods and services, FAS takes advantage of deep pricing discounts, reduces overall procurement time and maximizes acquisition workforce resources.

Additionally, using GSA’s e-tools, including the online FedRooms and travel reservation systems, increases overall government efficiency.

James Williams is Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at the General Services Administration

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