Recently FedHealthIT’s executive Vice President Susan Sharer had the opportunity to speak with Tom Sharpe, Co-Founder of Onetegrity and former Commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, and Amy Fadida, President & CEO of A.M. Fadida Consulting, about OMB Memorandum M-19-13, what it means for Government and advice for industry.

Released in early March, the memorandum seeks to “provide guidance on the use of category management – the business practice of buying common goods and services as an enterprise to eliminate redundancies, increase efficiency, and deliver more value and savings from the Government’s acquisition programs.”

“To implement category management, the Office of Management and Budget (0MB) will require agencies to carry out a set of tailored management actions and provide updates on these management actions to evaluate their progress in bringing common spending under management. The expected result is more effectively managed contract spending through a balance of Government-wide, agency-wide, and local contracts; reduced unnecessary contract duplication and cost avoidance; and continued achievement of small business goals and other socioeconomic requirements.”

The Evolution of Category Management

According to Fadida, OMB and GSA have been on this path of continued evolution dating back to 2011. “One of the first memos in September of that year focused on development, review and approval business cases for certain interagency and agency-specific acquisitions and really marked the beginning of the journey toward strategic sourcing and category management. This was followed in December of 2012 by Memorandum M-13-02 focused on improving acquisition through strategic sourcing, and then M-17-22 in January 2017, which highlighted reforming the Federal Government as a means to save money and make Government more effective.”

Sharpe congratulates his friends at OMB and GSA on the memo and he applauds their continued focus on the strategic role of acquisition in meeting agency mission requirements while finding efficiencies and savings from:

  1. Increasing government-wide sharing of contracting solutions for commonly required supplies and services.
  2. Meeting socio-economic purchasing goals.
  3. Communicating with industry.
  4. Managing demand for supplies and services.
  5. Driving down inefficient purchasing.
  6. Government-wide sharing of purchasing data.
  7. Investing in the acquisition work force.

How do Agencies Prepare?

The new memo directs agencies to share Government wide contracting, to meet socioeconomic goals, to communicate with industry, to better manage demand and to train their acquisition workforce. Sharpe says there are a number of things agencies will need to do in this regard including:

  • Establishing agency governance.
  • Developing and implementing annual plans to meet goals.
  • Building out effective industry engagement and vendor management.
  • Establishing demand management strategies.
  • Requiring, collecting and sharing data within an acquisition gateway.
  • Further training acquisition workforce.

“All of this will help agencies more effectively meet their mission while becoming increasingly more effective and efficient in acquisition, which as the memo notes, will require advanced acquisition planning of 18 to 24 months out in order to set strategies and put in place systems for tracking and reporting,” he says.

The new processes will require annual updates from agencies on management actions with the intent to allow GSA and OMB to gauge reporting, assessment and actions.

Advice to Industry

It will be important for industry to understand the differences between the tiers – 0 through 3 and to understand where they sit with respect to these. Fadida added: “If the acquisition strategy will move from an  agency-specific contract to a preferred  or best in class vehicle, it is incumbent upon the vendor to identify contracts they will need and then to either forge strategic alliances with those primes who hold these vehicles, or to pay attention to when on-ramps are taking place to take advantage of the opportunity to pursue a seat at the table. As these trends in purchasing will impact how Government buys, they will also have an impact on the bottom line of vendors.”

Tom Sharpe is Co-Founder of Onetegrity, a consulting firm dedicated to client success. Onetegrity advises private companies supporting public missions; provides executive advice for leaders; and offers deep expertise in strategic planning, governance, change management and extramural spend management to public missions. Tom is  the former Commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service. Prior to joining GSA, he had been the senior executive responsible for procurement policy across the US Department of Treasury. Tom’s background includes being a consulting principal with IBM Global Services.

Amy M. Fadida is President & CEO of A.M. Fadida Consulting. She has been an active member in the Federal community for 40 years and, since 1997, has owned and operated a WOSB specializing in helping clients forge strategic relationships and build new business in support of the business of Government.

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