Q&A: Roger Waldron | GSA plans the schedule's next chapter
- By Caron Golden
- Jun 08, 2006
Roger Waldron is acting senior procurement executive and acting deputy chief acquisition officer for GSA. He directs procurement and acquisition policy on all Federal Supply Service contracts, including the Federal Supply Service IT Schedule, known as Schedule 70. This program accounted for approximately $16.5 billion in IT purchases by the federal government over the last fiscal year. 'Caron GoldenGCN: How has Schedule 70 evolved over time?
WALDRON: GSA's mission is to provide product, services and procurement for other agencies. The schedule is authorized by statute.
The ordering procedures are streamlined. Our electronic tools have supplemented the program by increasing transparency and competition. And products and services have surely changed. The balance used to be two-thirds products and one-third services, 10 to 15 years ago. Now, 60 to 65 percent of the dollar volume under the program is services. It reflects today's economy.
Another change is that in the early 1990s we used to have mandatory schedules and single-award schedules. We changed those schedules and made them nonmandatory. But we had to have a value proposition to create the incentive to use Schedule 70 so we re-engineered the ordering process and contracts to reflect the commercial market. So today, Schedule 70 is a nonmandatory source but still one of [the] biggest procurement programs in government.GCN: Has the Get It Right campaign succeeded in improving the management of Schedule 70 and, if so, how?
WALDRON: Get it Right lays the foundation for acquisition excellence. We've been able to build electronic tools customer agencies can use, [have] updated ordering procedures, and also develop ed the Center for Acquisition Excellence for training.
There were challenges the agency faced. Our response was [to] focus on some [of the] basics I just mentioned to improve the program. I think that the program has continued to grow each year demonstrates that the things we did have laid a foundation for acquisition excellence going forward.
Our strengths are in flexibility and mirroring [the] commercial market place. If we didn't do that, services wouldn't account for such a large portion of our business.GCN: How responsive has GSA been to customer suggestions?
WALDRON: We do surveys of customers both in terms of their understanding of the program and how they feel about it. We saw a customer need for electronic tools to better do procurement, which led to creation of e-Buy. For example, the Department of Defense can meet Section 803 requirements to provide notice to all contractors by using e-Buy. It provides transparency and enhances competition.
We've also seen a need to develop training. So we created the Center for Acquisition Excellence. It works both online and in [a] classroom setting. It's designed to help customers better meet their needs and get better bang for the buck.GCN: How will GSA's reorganization impact Schedule 70 customers?
WALDRON: We look at the schedules program as a whole. The IT schedule is biggest, but we also have 42 other schedule offerings. We will maintain overall program focus and strengthen it as we go forward and build on foundations we've put in place with electronic tools, training and procedures. The reorganization is an opportunity to build on that foundation and continue to improve the program.