GSA seeking efficiency advice

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Agency has asked for permission to extend its program to solicit suggestions from federal vendors to boost the efficiency of engineered systems or services.

The General Services Administration has asked for permission to extend its program soliciting suggestions from federal vendors to boost the efficiency of engineered systems or services. The GSA program acts as a share-in-savings operation that allows information technology contractors to capture some of the funds conserved by the engineering innovations they originate.

The GSA request, which came in the form of a notice in today's Federal Register, states that GSA operates the value engineering program in partnership with NASA and the Pentagon.

Congress established the share-in-savings program in 2003, but the initiative languished for the next two years because the Office of Management and the Budget failed to issue regulations needed to carry out the work. Congressional defense authorizing committees gave the share-in-savings program an additional kick-start in the 2006 Defense authorization act.

In some cases, the share-in-savings program requires vendors to pinpoint and propose engineering upgrades. Those innovations flow to federal agencies as value engineering change proposals (VECPs).

VECP designs must include specific technical information that will allow federal officials to evaluate the potential engineering changes, GSA said. The agency noted that such precise engineering descriptions also help the procurement officials arrange fair methods of sharing the savings resulting from the technology improvements.

Today's notice included an explicit invitation for suggestions on how to improve the value of the share-in-savings program via the same types of IT improvements that the underlying regulations are intended to encourage. GSA asked for specific and detailed information about how 'we can minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond through the use of appropriate technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.'

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