GSA Commercial Platform Program Update

by | Jan 25, 2024 | Insights, Procurement and Pricing

In 2020, GSA (in partnership with OMB) awarded three commercial eMarketplace contracts to Amazon Business, Fisher Scientific, and Overstock Government. These contracts enable government purchase card holders to buy commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) items through eCommerce portals widely used in the private sector, providing buyers with flexibility in purchasing items under the micro-purchase threshold. The goal of the program, authorized under Section 846 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is to modernize commercial item purchasing, expand competition, reduce supply chain risk, and share spend data to enable better government-wide buying decisions.

The program quickly gained traction with more than 50k users across dozens of participating agencies, and tens-of-millions of dollars in annual spend. While successful, a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report (GAO-23-106128) found the program fell short in capturing data on small business sales and ensuring buyer compliance in purchasing under the AbilityOne program.

A solicitation for the next-generation of platform contracts was issued in late 2022 with the intention of announcing awards before the initial platform contracts expired in the summer of 2023. Unfortunately, a series of delays, including multiple protests stalled awards; GSA issued bridge contracts to the current platform providers through March 2024.

A key requirement of Section 846 legislation is to ensure strong competition; while three initial contracts were awarded, Amazon Business captured more than 90% of the procurement dollars spent under the program. We’re keeping a close eye on which eMarketplace providers will be issued contracts come spring; while it’s almost guaranteed that Amazon will be among the awardees, we anticipate significant growth in the number of available eMarketplace providers to fulfill this program mandate.

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