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FSSI Could Cost Your Business

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By Walter Cotton III | March 4, 2014 << Back to Articles FSSI Could Cost Your Business

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Will the United States government’s Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) have an impact on your organization’s ability to capture federal contracts? This big question was on the minds of those whose industries were early targets of strategic sourcing. They included distributors and providers of office supplies, domestic delivery services, printing, and wireless solutions. In every instance, these business owners learned that big answer was a devastating “yes.”

Simply put, if you were not a winner of a FSSI contract in those industries, you were forced to contemplate staff and a number of location reductions. In some cases, this included moving into an entirely new line of business if you planned to survive the whirlpool effect that FSSI would have on your profitability. The situation is much more acute for the owners of small and mid-sized businesses that have a federal focus. In all cases, these businesses were faced with no viable options.

Effects of FSSI
FSSI is a forced localization of federal spending that creates unnatural oligopolies. This compulsory condition in government contracting has the ability to produce far-reaching and undesirable consequences. Possible repercussions include a wholesale reduction in our country’s industrial base, an increase in the future cost of goods and services, and the long-term destabilization of the economic fabric of the United States.

Many within today’s untargeted industries may think that the above statement is hyperbole or exaggeration. Yet I―and those in the effected industries―can assure you that it is not. More importantly, we can assure you that FSSI is a threat that you need to be proactive against.

This is the primary reason why ISSA has engaged me to help devise a forward-looking strategy to combat the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) efforts to drive its FSSI program into the jansan and building maintenance and operations (BMO) industries, which include commercial cleaning services.

What Can Be Done?
To that end, ISSA has already implemented a number of steps to slow the GSA’s effort to award its first jansan contract and has scheduled additional meetings with GSA to influence its acquisition strategy for the requisition version of the jansan and BMO initiatives. The ISSA FSSI team is also working with the U.S. Congress to develop a legislative solution to this challenge.

However, as is the case with most public programs driven by legislation and agency-level policies, your active engagement and involvement in ISSA’s FSSI campaign will be a critical contributor to its success. By getting involved, you can materially decrease the probability that FSSI will take off in the cleaning industry.

How can you get started? As a member of the commercial cleaning industry, you can become fully educated on the issue and get involved in the campaign to protect your organization’s bottom line by participating in the upcoming ISSA webinar series on FSSI. The first of four sessions takes place March 5.

At the end-of-the-day, we are sounding the alarm for all hands on deck. A line has been drawn in the sand between the jansan and BMO industries and GSA’s FSSI. No stone is being left unturned toward reshaping the GSA’s FSSI plans for the cleaning industry.

Our intentions are simple: With your help, we will ensure that the government continues to receive the best value from its jansan and BMO contracts and award these contracts without eroding your business’s ability to remain competitive in today’s global market.


About the Author.

Walter Cotton III is the founder of the MPU Network, a contracting subject matter expert, co-author of the contracting section of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, host of the Patriot Report, and a strategic contributor to ISSA. He can be reached via email at wcotton@mympu.org