How GSA Orders Are Placed

GSA Schedules are unique in that purchases are transacted directly between the federal agency requiring a product or service and the contractor. Any federal agency, anywhere in the world, can place an order using the prices, ordering procedures, and terms and conditions specified in the Schedule contract. Once a need is identified, the contracting officer of the ordering agency simply places the order.

You and your sales force need to keep in mind that GSA contracting officers and the contracting officer within an agency placing an order have very different roles. GSA contracting officers evaluate your proposal, negotiate pricing, award, and administer contracts; they are not involved in the ordering process. Their job is to set up contracts with the best price possible and a nice thick file demonstrating that all federal procurement rules have been followed. After contract award, GSA contracting officers focus on administering Schedule contracts.

Although the contracting officer with the ordering agency is following the same rule book as the GSA contracting officer, the two have fundamentally different roles, and it is important for your sales force to understand the difference. The GSA contracting officer wants to ensure that procurement policy has been followed to the letter and, somewhat secondarily, that purchasing goes smoothly. The contracting officer for the ordering agency wants to place an order quickly and receive products and services as soon as possible. That's why the order was placed using a GSA Schedule in the first place. If an open item--one not on your Schedule--sneaks into the order, so be it.


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