GSA announced it will discontinue the Formatted Product Tool (FPT), citing mixed feedback regarding user experience. FPT was introduced in July of 2016 to automate price comparisons. FPT standardized Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), UPC-A data, and product descriptions in order to generate reports that identified pricing outside of established ranges.
FPT – Dead on Arrival?
While FPT was presented as the new law of the land, there were early signs that the program’s fate was in question. GSA Schedules 72 and 58 I were the first to receive FPT in July of 2016. GSA planned to implement FPT under Schedules 75 and 73 in August of 2016, followed by Schedules 51 V and Schedule 70 in September. However, the rollout stalled just one month in. After a long delay GSA adjusted course, announcing it would resume rollout of FPT in December of 2017 with Schedule 66.
In theory, FPT potentially benefited contractors and GSA contracting officers. The program allowed contractors to identify established pricing and adjust their proposed pricing prior to submission, thereby reducing the risk of rejection. Contracting officers expected shorter review times with FPT taking over the burden of collecting competitive research. Contractors, in turn, could have benefited from quicker approval times on new offers and modifications. Additionally, products were uploaded to GSA Advantage! automatically upon approval, eliminating the need for a separate upload through SIP or EDI.
In practice, FPT was tedious and time-consuming. Spreadsheets had to be formatted precisely to avoid data validation errors. Companies with limited offerings experienced excessive processing times as FPT ran uploaded product lists against large data sets. From the beginning, GSA instructed companies with 100,000 line items or more to postpone participation in FPT, because the program was not yet scaled to efficiently process large catalogs. Market comparisons were not helpful to all contractors. Companies that offered specialty products, as opposed to common commodities, were required to complete time-consuming FPT uploads despite limited or irrelevant results.
Who is Impacted?
If you hold one of the GSA Schedules listed below, your contract may be impacted by FPT. Participation in the program was optional for companies that held their GSA Schedule prior to FPT’s rollout. Companies that obtained their GSA Schedule after FPT was introduced were required to participate in the program.
- GSA Furnishings & Floor Coverings Schedule 72 | July 2016
- GSA Professional Audio/Video Schedule 58 I | July 2016
- GSA Scientific Equipment & Services Schedule 66 | December 2017
Rolling Back FPT
GSA will issue solicitation refreshes to officially remove FPT from Schedules 72, 58 I, and 66. Each solicitation refresh will replace FPT related clauses with the appropriate legacy or Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) clause. Contractors that are currently subject to FPT will receive a mass modification after the solicitation refresh is issued. Moving forward, all contractors must submit GSA Advantage! uploads through SIP or EDI when applicable.
Unfortunately, if your company submitted a new offer to GSA for Schedule 72, 58 I, or 66, your proposal will be rejected if your contract is not awarded before the solicitation refresh. The same will apply to pending modifications. However, you will have the ability to resubmit your offer or modification under the refreshed solicitation.
Have Questions? Need Help?
FEDSched has been helping companies obtain and manage their GSA Schedule Contracts for over 30 years. If your company is facing a rejection due to the FPT rollback, or needs assistance with GSA Advantage uploads, we can help. Contact us.