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GSA Formatted Product Tool (FPT)

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What is FPT?

GSA’s Formatted Product Tool (FPT) will automate price comparisons for identical products by standardizing Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), UPC-A data, and product descriptions as applicable. While FPT comes with additional administrative burdens, it does eliminate the need to conduct a separate upload of product catalogs to GSA Advantage!.

FPT will be a module within GSA’s eOffer/eMod system.

  1. Contractors will upload their proposed pricing to the FPT module using one of three methods: a) on screen, b) through a template, or c) through EDI.GSA-Formatted-Product-Tool-FPT
  2. The FPT module will “standardize” the product list where applicable to include MPN’s, UPC-A data, and product descriptions. This can take 15-20 minutes for a small number of line items, and up to a few hours for a large number of line items. Until all system changes are complete (approximately 8 weeks), the number of line items cannot exceed 100,000.
  3. A report will be generated with the standardized product list and flags on pricing considered outside the established range.
  4. Contractors will have the opportunity to accept MPN identifications or provide a response regarding why the MPN identification is not accurate.
  5. Before submitting pricing, contractors will also have the option to adjust pricing up or down to align with the established pricing range. Pricing flagged as outside the established range can be submitted as-is, however the contractor should be prepared to provide the GSA Contracting Officer (CO) with justification for pricing variances.
  6. A CO will review submitted pricing and handle negotiations with contractors through Excel.
  7. Upon approval, catalogs will be processed and automatically uploaded to GSA Advantage!. Information typically included in the GSA Advantage! upload, such as photos and environmental attributes, will now be included in the offer/modification submission.

A few notes on FPT

  • FPT currently applies to products only. Contractors that offer services will still upload through the FPT module, but services will be uploaded in a text file instead of the FPT pricing template.
  • FPT is designed to exclude low-outlier pricing.
  • FPT is meant to serve as a market research tool for CO’s and is not intended to replace the CO’s judgement in determining fair and reasonable pricing.
  • FPT is not meant to focus on lowest price; other factors should still be considered in determining best value, such as delivery terms and warranties.

FPT Benefits

  • FPT can reduce a contractor’s risk of rejection. Contractors can identify established pricing ranges prior to submission and make adjustments or prepare pricing justifications as necessary.
  • FPT will automate a portion of market research for CO’s, which can lead to faster approval of new offers and contract modifications.
  • FPT will eliminate the need for separate GSA Advantage! uploads.
  • FPT will allow buyers to easily compare identical products, creating level playing field for contractors.

Who Does FPT Affect?

Companies that currently hold or are in the process of obtaining one of the GSA Schedules listed below will be affected by FPT.  While GSA eventually plans to apply the FPT program to all GSA Schedules, they are beginning with Schedules 72 and 58 I. A Solicitation refresh and Mass Modification should be issued for Schedules 72 and 58 I in a few weeks, followed by a refresh for Schedule 75 in early August. The plan is to roll out FPT to the GSA Schedules listed below at two-week intervals.

  • GSA Furnishings & Floor Coverings Schedule 72 (mid July issued 7/22/2016)
  • GSA Professional Audio/Video Schedule 58 I (mid July issued 7/22/2016)
  • GSA Office Products Schedule 75 (early August fall 2016)
  • GSA Food Service Schedule 73 (mid August fall 2016)
  • GSA Hardware Superstore Schedule 51 V (early September fall/winter 2016-2017)
  • GSA IT Schedule 70 (mid September fall/winter 2016-2017 spring 2017)

How Does FPT Affect Existing Contractors?

Companies that hold one of the GSA Schedules listed above should add another term to their GSA GovCon Glossary – baselining.  Before we discuss what baselining means, we want to note that the FPT modification for existing GSA Schedule Contract holders is currently optional.

FPT will roll out to existing GSA Contractors through a bilateral mass modification, meaning both the contractor and the Contracting Officer will sign the modification. Once a contractor accepts the mass modification they will have 60 days to complete the “baselining/rebaselining” process. Baselining is essentially a modification where a contractor submits their entire catalog through the new eMod process using the FPT module.

  • New products and services cannot be submitted with a contractor’s baseline modification.
  • A contractor’s baseline modification will replace their exiting GSA Advantage! catalog, so if the contractor neglects to include any awarded products or services in the baseline, GSA will consider those products/services as deleted.
  • Until a contractor’s baseline modification is complete, they can continue to use SIP to update GSA Advantage!

GSA is strongly encouraging contractors to accept the modification. However, before accepting the modification, take some time to consider how FPT will affect your GSA Schedule Contract. If you accept the mass modification, your current awarded pricing will be uploaded to FPT. Any products that fall outside of established ranges will be flagged. While your CO is not required to renegotiate pricing during the baseline modification, they can choose to do so based upon the FPT report.

Timing should also be a factor when considering whether to accept the FPT mass modification. The initial FPT roll out is occurring during the final quarter of the government fiscal year, the busiest time of year for many government contractors.

Who Should Not Accept the FPT Modification?

In the FPT Vendor Training Webinar, GSA stated contractors that meet the criteria below should not accept the FPT modification until all system changes are complete (estimated at an 8-week time frame).

  • Contractors that hold Schedule 75, 51 V, or 70 and GSA Initiated BPAs
  • Contractors that have more than 100,000 line items on the GSA Schedule in question

How Does FPT Affect Prospective GSA Schedule Contract Holders?

Once GSA issues the Solicitation Refresh, prospective contractors will have a limited amount of time before they are required to submit their proposal in accordance with the new FPT format. Unlike existing GSA Schedule Contract Holders, FPT will be mandatory for new submissions. However, GSA intends to make the FPT modification mandatory for existing GSA Schedule Contract holders in the future, so it may be a matter of delaying the inevitable.

For more information on GSA’s Formatted Product Tool, visit GSA’s Interact website and register for a FPT Vendor Training Webinar on July 13 or 27th.