FAR Part 8- Required Sources of Supplies and Services and GSA Schedule Contracts

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 8 “deals with required sources of supplies and services for use by the Government.”  There the FAR directs that Government agencies “shall satisfy requirements for supplies and services from or through the mandatory government sources and publications” listed below in descending order of priority:

(1) inventory from the ordering agency,

(2) excess from other agencies,

(3) Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI),

(4) Committee for Purchase from People Who are Blind or Severely Disabled, and

(5) wholesale supply sources.   FAR 8.0002.

FAR Part 8 also includes guidance on the Federal Supply Schedules  (FSS) at FAR Subpart 8.4.    The Federal Supply Schedule program is also known as the GSA (General Services Administration) Schedules Program or the Multiple Award Schedule Program. The Federal Supply Schedule program is directed and managed by GSA and provides Federal agencies with a simplified process for obtaining commercial supplies and services at prices associated with volume buying. Indefinite delivery contracts are awarded to provide supplies and services at stated prices for given periods of time. GSA may delegate certain responsibilities to other agencies (e.g., GSA has delegated authority to the VA to procure medical supplies under the VA Federal Supply Schedules program). Orders issued under the VA Federal Supply Schedule program are covered by this subpart. Additionally, the Department of Defense (DoD) manages similar systems of schedule-type contracting for military items but are not covered by FAR 8.402.

There are many advantages of using the FSS program under FAR Subpart 8.4 including, but not limited to, saving time, receiving socioeconomic program credit for ordering activity, having flexible purchase options, and constant access through GSA’s online tools – GSA Advantage!, GSA eBuy, and GSA eLibrary.