GSA FAS Focus

Federal Marketplace Strategy Summer Release

July 22, 2021 U.S. General Services Administration Season 1 Episode 11
GSA FAS Focus
Federal Marketplace Strategy Summer Release
Show Notes Transcript

We are excited to have Crystal Philcox, the Assistant Commissioner for Enterprise Strategy Management back on the program. GSA has just issued the FMP Strategy summer 21 release, and Crystal will be walking us through the latest updates and giving us a look at what's next for the program.

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[ Music ] >> Welcome to GSA FAS Focus, a look at what is happening in and around the U.S. General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith, and this is a very special day. It's our first repeat visitor. Not a repeat program, mind you, but the first time we have welcomed a guest back to FAS Focus. My guest today is Crystal Philcox, Assistant Commissioner for Enterprise Strategy Management in GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. Crystal joins us to shine a light on the federal marketplace, or FMP initiative, GSA's plan to modernize and simplify the buying and selling experience for customers, suppliers, and, of course, acquisition professionals all around the world. We'll also run down some of the webinars and CLP opportunities coming up in the next few weeks. And later put a few fascinating facts into FAS Focus. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith. And please, if you have not done so yet, just click that button that says subscribe. That way you will never miss an episode of FAS Focus. And yes, we are available on all your favorite podcast sites. But subscribing does make it just so simple. No more hunting around for the latest episode. In just a couple of minutes, I will be talking with Crystal Philcox about, well, a whole lot of things. Crystal is GSA's Assistant Commissioner for Enterprise Strategy Management, which means she directs strategic business planning for FAS, and she also leads data governance. So, she leads a lot of major initiatives for GSA, including category management and GSA's Federal Marketplace Strategy. GSA has just issued the FMP strategy summer 21 release. So, this is an especially great time for us to be speaking with Crystal. But first, up next in the FAS Monthly Conference Series, security and protection. That's right. Coming up on Wednesday, July 21st, GSA Guard Services leaders will give you the scoop on security and protection acquisition planning. And then once you take that leap, contract administration, and post award considerations. Join GSA's acquisition experts as they explore how to find quick methods to meet on site security operations requirements, approaches to procuring protective services, such as security guards, alarm monitors, and dog handlers. Are you looking for scenario based training, highlighting the best practices and how to use tailored acquisition planning packages? They can give you the info. Plus, details of market research techniques and best practices for evaluating capabilities and managing performance. Not to mention a section dedicated to emerging market trends and insights impacting specific categories. So, register now. Well, not now, wait until the podcast ends. Just jot down this info. The next installment of the GSA FAS Monthly Conference Series will teach you all about security and protection acquisitions, including physical security guard services. Sign up for this virtual event now. Visit gsa.gov/events to learn more. Scroll down to July 21st because that's when this takes place, Wednesday, July 21st,

from 1:00 p.m. to 4:

00 p.m. Eastern Daylight. That is a long one. Bring a snack, or maybe to lunch even if you're farther west.

This one starts at 10:

00 a.m. Pacific Time, 11:00 Mountain, and noon Central. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening in and around GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I'm Joan Kornblith. And today I am joined by Crystal Philcox, GSA's Assistant Commissioner for Enterprise Strategy Management. Welcome to the show. Crystal, wait, maybe I should say welcome back, because as I said at the top, you are our first repeat guest. >> Yay! >> Yay! Yay! Well, if you were not with us for Crystal's first visit, please let me introduce her. Actually, I should backtrack for a second. Were your ears burning a couple of weeks ago? Because Exodie Roe, GSA's Associate Administrator for the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, or OSDBU, was featured on our last podcast. And he spent a couple of minutes talking about his love of books, ones that he loved reading over and over and over again, books that he liked gives as gifts, that sort of thing. And I mentioned to Exodie that he needed to check in with you, because as far as I know, you, Crystal Philcox, are still GSA's first AC for enterprise strategy management with a master's degree in English literature. So, I want to start with the same question we threw at Exodie right off the bat. What is one of the books that you have read over and over and over again? >> Oh, that's a fun one. So, you know, I love great literature. And I also have sort of a passion for African American literature. So, you know, my very favorite novel that I've read numerous times is Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. >> Great choice. >> Yes, one of my favorites, it's so good. And it was my ultimate favorite until I read a book called The Known World by Edward P. Jones, which I highly recommend. Also in a similar genre. So, those are, those are two of my favs. >> That second one is one I have not read. So, thank you very much. I am actually looking for my pen right now because I'm going to write that down. I'm going on vacation soon, and that is one that I need a book. So, thank you very much, Crystal Philcox. And we will try to, if anybody is looking for a book, you just get in touch with us and we will, we will drop you all that information about that one. We are talking with Crystal Philcox this week, GSA's Assistant Commissioner for Enterprise Strategy Management. For folks who missed your first visit to FAS Focus, give us a short bio, please. Who, who are you, and what are you doing at GSA? >> Sure. I am the Assistant Commissioner for Enterprise Strategy Management. And so it's a long title. But the way I like to think about it is that we, in the enterprise strategy, we help the FAS organization identify the strategy. And then we help the organization execute on the strategy. And then we help the organization measure the success of reaching that strategy. So, we sort of work across that whole strategic planning cycle and are very involved in the execution phase. So, that's really sort of what we do in the organization. >> Last time we were talking about the federal marketplace winter 2021 release. Fast forward to today, and all we want to hear about is the recent FMP summer release. What are some of the things that have happened with FMP over the past four months? >> Yeah, so if you're, if you're new to FMP, our Federal Marketplace Strategy, it's really FAS's strategy to help, to make it easier to buy and sell. So, in that federal marketplace. I use feedback from our stakeholders to prioritize our work, and to, and to sort of identify what those improvements will be. You know, we started the federal marketplace with four cornerstone projects. And they were really sort of foundational projects, like long term initiatives, getting our data organized, making sure we had foundational systems in place. And those really address some of our biggest concerns. And we have found a lot of success there. So, commercial platforms was one of those. And that is really figuring out how to use commercial e commerce platforms that are out there for, and use those for government. And we've got a pilot going, going right now on those. We were looking at our underlying data issues around our product catalog with our catalog management initiative. And so we've made a lot of progress in that, in that area as well, and we have, and now that I think we are starting to get some of the data in place, we can start to move forward on building the applications on top of that data so that our suppliers can really interact with that and get some great self service out of that data. We also launched our first instance of our modern acquisition life cycle management project for our own workforce. We didn't have one of those. And so we know they're notoriously hard to build, and so we were really excited to be able to roll out our first instance of that in our information technology category. And we also very successfully consolidated 24 schedules down to one. And our, in phase three, the last phase of consolidating our multiple award schedules and making sure that we get our final appliers onto one contract. So, we're really, we're ready to, you know, we're ready to build on that foundation at this point, and are excited about what is coming in the future. >> You've made it all sound so easy. I'm Joan Kornblith. You're listening to GSA FAS Focus. By the way, if you have not subscribed to our podcast yet, please do so. It's just a quick click, and it will make everybody happy. Also, if you've got questions about anything you're hearing today or someone you'd like to hear focused on this program, just send us a note. The e mail address is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. That is G S A F A S focus at gsa.gov. Today, we are talking with Crystal Philcox, GSA's Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Enterprise Strategy Management. And we are talking about GSA's Federal Marketplace Strategy, or FMP. And I heard what you did just a second ago. You were teasing us a bit by mentioning being ready to build on the foundation of the FMP. Folks who have already checked out the FMP summer 21 release page on gsa.gov have seen the new FMP video that teases what's being called FMP 2.0 and how the project is going to shift focus away a bit from the original cornerstone projects. What can you tell us about FMP 2.0? What's changing? >> Well, this is, I'm really excited about this. We really focused on those foundational projects at first. And they helped us with our, with our data sets. They helped us with some key initial systems rollouts. And now I think we are really ready to take advantage of that foundation. So, we are looking at the buyer experience very closely. We have a collection of initiatives that are really focused on streamlining that online buying experience. It helps with acquisition planning, with market research, that whole upfront piece of really putting together an acquisition and getting that ready to go out for solicitation. Lots of tools, all in one place, easy to use, intuitive. So, I'm excited that that is coming out. And then that online experience also has things like, you know, single sign on, so that as we progress, we can use that single sign on and flow that right into systems like GSA Advantage, which is our product design platform, or GSA eBuy, which is our services solicitation platform. So, it really, you know, as we go forward, I can see us really having that whole experience come together in a single sign on kind of an environment. We're also looking at some document management. We've got some initial acquisition planning packages. So, for things like common buys that people buy a lot, we've got whole acquisition planning packages already prepackaged for you. And if you have something that maybe people don't buy a lot, we'll have a much easier way to search for documents, statements of work, and market research kind types of documents that will help you build your acquisition package. So, while we do have a bit of an announcement coming about this online experience in the fall, so I'll get, put a teaser out for that, but that, we're testing it right now, we've got a group of testers from across the government, and are getting some really great feedback on it. So, excited to roll that out this fall. And then on the other side, we're also very keenly focused on the supplier experience. So, really helping suppliers determine, you know, what's the best contracting option for me, how can I, and that whole upfront piece of should I, should I be, you know, should I work with federal government, what contract should I, should I try to get on. And then there's the back end piece as well. I hinted at that product data that we've pulled together. And now we have the opportunity to build applications on top of that that help suppliers in a self service way manage their own product catalogs. Really got some, we have some interesting things coming. We're also looking at basically just overall reducing that burden for suppliers. One of the things we've done recently is we have a vendor product portal that is allowing manufacturers, original manufacturers to submit all kinds of information about their products. And then we're standardizing that information across all of our resellers so, so that you will know that if you are searching for a particular product, it's the same product that's being offered by all those resellers, and you can really compare price. So, we're, you know, in between that buyer experience and that supplier experience then we also want to make sure that the platforms that we're, that we're, that we've got available are strong. So, we're looking at a product marketplace and a services marketplace. So, that product marketplace could be things like GSA Advantage, global supplier, we've got a number of ways to buy products. Let's consolidate that. Let's get that into a really strong self service site where you can actually come search and buy products. And then on the services place, very similarly, how do we create a great services marketplace that helps buyers find the right service providers and all the data that they need around services, pricing, and make sure that that services side is strong as well. So, that's really what FMP 2.0 is about. It's really focusing on the buyer and supplier experience, as well as rich self service marketplaces and in between. >> All right, you heard it here first. FMP 2.0 is on the way. And at its heart, though, it's still the same. I mean, FMP is GSA's plan to modernize and simplify the buying and selling experience for everyone; customers, suppliers, and, of course, acquisition professionals, no matter where they are around the world. So, some things don't change. So, let me think a little bit. GSA's federal marketplace strategy, it's been a thing since about 2018, it's morphing into version 2.0. Is there an end in sight or do you see the FMP as something that will just keep changing as we improve the buying and selling experience for everyone? >> Yeah, you know, the federal marketplace strategy really it starts with listening to our customers, our buyers, our suppliers, and observing how they're using our systems and how they're using our services and interacting with the contracts that we have available. And so we are using what we're learning to identify improvements and prioritize those improvements, and to our experiences. And so we know that federal buyers out there have lots of choices. Right? So, we want to be their provider of choice. The FMP strategy is really our, our plan for continuous improvement. So, you know, specific initiatives might change, projects under this, under this FMP strategy might change. But our passion for delivering really great customer experience is here to stay. And we are committed to it and our whole organization is focused on it. >> I'm Joan Kornblith. You are listening to FAS Focus from the U.S. General Services Administration. I'm talking with Crystal Philcox, the Assistant Commissioner for GSA's Office of Enterprise Strategy Management about the Federal Marketplace Strategy; a.k.a., the FMP. But that's not all that Crystal works on. We've got a few more minutes. Tell me something else that's happening in your world. >> You know, one of the things that we do in my organization is we're very focused on data and data governance. And not just my organization. There's a number of groups inside FAS that are really interested in the data that we have, how we can use that. There's so much potential to really create some data platforms where we are holding that data once and then using it many times. So, we can use it for customers in our self service applications. We can use it for our own data analysts to do analytics. And we're starting even into some AI and machine learning and natural language processing kind of activity around our data. And all of that is really in service of providing that acquisition data government wide to the acquisition community, making their experience better, and making, just expanding their knowledge about how they can do their work, how they can improve the way they do their work. So, and this includes things like, you know, robust pricing tools, and tools that can, that can help you get through your complicated FAR rules in a very easy way. Ways to get to best value and best in class solutions more quickly and understand the offerings under those best in class solutions. So, lots of, lots of interesting ways that we're, that we're moving, moving data around, playing with data, analyzing data, and then turning that around and making it accessible for folks who are using our products and services. The other thing I would say that is, you know, sort of out in the future a bit, but I do want to mention it because it's something I'm really excited about, you know, GSA Advantage was revolutionary when that first launched in '95. And we're really taking a look, a fresh look at our e commerce strategy, and we're taking what we've learned from our commercial platforms, for what works well for customers with Advantage, and we survey them all the time about what they like about that tool. And then we're really looking at what needs to be evolve. Right? So, we've got GSA Advantage, we've got global supply, we've got a number of, number of ways to buy products. And so how do we really improve that self service product buying experience and that part of the platform is something else that we're going to be, we're starting to dig into, and going to be taking a look at over the next couple of years here. >> All in the name of making it easier or more efficient or just simpler. >> Absolutely. Simplify, simplify. >> Well, finally, if someone needs assistance, or they just want to provide some feedback, how can they do that? >> At gsa.gov/federalmarketplace. We have a place where we are taking comments and ideas and feedback from anyone and everyone. So, you have thoughts about ways that we can improve your experience, we are, we want to hear it. So, gsa.gov/federalmarketplace. >> And that's also where they can read about all the great things in the new summer 21 release and see our latest video and just keep up to date on everything federal marketplace related. Well, we've been talking with Crystal Philcox, the Assistant Commissioner for GSA's Office of Enterprise Strategy Management. If you have any questions for Crystal, or would like to learn more about anything that we've been talking about today, or just want to drop us a line, the address is gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. And please, I hope that you've clicked to subscribe to the podcast. If you haven't, well, do it now. We'll wait. Coming up, news of another great training opportunity and some fascinating FAS facts. I'm Joan Kornblith. And you are listening to GSA FAS Focus. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAS Focus, a look at what is happening throughout GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I am Joan Kornblith. And, as always, we have got a full plate of FAS specific webinars and trainings coming up. I am joined now by our producer, Max Tempura, who is here with information about another training specifically for folks interested in, in what? >> This time, it's eBuy and how it works to drive pricing down. >> Right, eBuy, the powerful and intuitive acquisition tool already used by thousands of U.S. federal agencies and military services worldwide to achieve required competition, best pricing, and value. >> Joan, are you reading my lines again? >> I promise you I am not. Go ahead, tell me more about this exciting training opportunity worth one of CLP. >> All right, there's a webinar coming up on Wednesday, August 4th, devoted to eBuy and how it works to drive prices down. This powerful and intuitive acquisition tool saves time and money, all while keeping you FAR compliant. Sign up for this course and learn how to use this electronic request for quote tool. This is a one CLP credit course. There is one disclaimer, though. This session is not open to vendors. So, visit gsa.gov/events to sign up and learn more about GSA eBuy and how it works

to drive pricing down, taking place from 10:

00

to 11:

00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, August 4th. >> And I will take it from here.

Again, this hour long webinar has a 10:

00 a.m. Eastern start time on Wednesday, August 4th,

that is 9:00 a.m. Central, 8:

00 a.m. Mountain.

And bright and early 7:

00 a.m. start if you were working in the Pacific time zone. Now if you have decided to decamp to Hawaii, you are going to start class

at 4:

00 a.m. Just remember to visit the gsa.gov events page at www.gsa.gov/events to learn more. I'm Joan Kornblith. Coming up on FAS Focus, a few fascinating FAS facts. [ Music ] Welcome back to FAS Focus. I am Joan Kornblith. We are almost out of time today, but I did want to leave you with a few FAS facts. But we're going to switch it up today. Max is going to ask the questions. >> Joan, this is so exciting. I've been wanting to turn the tables just to see how up to date on FAS facts you are since we started. This week, we are going to revisit some facts around GSA's COVID 19 response. Are you ready? >> No, because I think there are actually rules against this. I think that there are rules that I'm supposed to be asking the questions always. >> No, no. I think this is fair. >> All right. >> All right, so here we go. Now, keep in mind that these numbers are from the start of the pandemic through July 7th. Now, the last time we discussed these was all the way back in February when we talked with Jeff Lau. So, if you can reach deep and try and remember that conversation, you might just have a leg up on me. >> Okay. >> So, so the first one is protective gloves. Do you want to guess on how many individual protective gloves GSA has procured since the start of the pandemic? >> Hmm. >> See? It's not so easy. >> We've had a lot of gloves. You know, I remember the last time we talked to Jeff, you know, it was like, yeah, like 70 million or something gloves. So, that was a while ago. That was like February, March, April, May, June, six months ago. >> Yeah. >> Five months ago. Well, you know, I've got my thinking cap on, and I know that, how many gloves I go through. I'm going to say that it's under 100 million. >> That's pretty close. >> It's pretty close. It's pretty close. >> Yeah. >> I'm going to say like 98 million. >> Oh, Joan, you are almost spot on, 97.9 million individual gloves. So, very close. So, to put that into some perspective, the population of Colorado, so where I live, is around 5.8 million people. Each person would get roughly 17 gloves. So, that's not a bad amount. >> That's an odd number of gloves, though. >> It is, it is. So, I guess you'd have to be careful how you use them. Now, the next up is disinfectant and cleaning solutions. So, we measure this in gallons. How many gallons of disinfectant and cleaning solutions do you think we've procured? >> Because, you know, I was going to guess 945,000 gallons. >> Oh, I think, I think that's cheating. I think somewhere on your screen you have another document open now. So, it's 945,373 gallons. >> I was wrong. >> You were close. >> But I was still wrong. And you know how I don't like to be wrong. >> That's true. Now, I chose this one because the Olympics are coming up. To give you a scale of how much disinfectant and cleaning solutions, to give you some scale on how much disinfectant and cleaning solutions that is an Olympic sized swimming pool contains just over 600,000 gallons. So, we've procured enough to fill up one pool completely, plus about half of another. But I don't think you're going to want to go swimming in it or be standing anywhere near that. Can you imagine what that smells like? >> No. And I can't imagine what it would feel like to dive into it either. That is a lot of disinfectant. >> Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Now, I've got one more fact for you, one last one. Hand sanitizer. Now, do you want to take a guess on how many gallons of hand sanitizer FAS has procured? I'll give you a hint. >> Okay. >> More than one, less than a million. >> Oh, okay. So, it's probably more than half a million. >> That's, that's good. Yep. >> All right, I'm going to do the dummy guess and say 750,000. >> Close, right? You split the difference. So, it's 651,958 gallons of hand sanitizer. >> Whoa. >> Yeah, absolutely. So, now, I love this comparison. I'm a big space nerd. So, if you were to fill soda cans with all of that hand sanitizer, it would reach all the way to the International Space Station and back to the ground with cans to spare. Now, keep in mind, Joan, the ISS orbits at around 250 miles above the surface. So, that would be a truly impressive column of hand sanitizer filled soda cans, even though I'm not sure where you would get such a thing. Now, so those are all the fascinating facts I have for you today. I'm going to pass it back to you, Joan, to close us out. But before I do, just want to say thanks for letting me stump you for a change. >> Well, you're welcome. But I still think that there is a rule somewhere. We're going to have to get out the official rule book. I think there is a rule somewhere that states that I have to ask all the questions. There just is. But thank you, Max, thank you, Max, perhaps towards the end of the year I will let you ask the questions again. Don't forget, if there is any question that you have for us, if there's anything else FAS related that you'd like to learn about, or someone that you would like to hear featured on FAS Focus, just let us know, let me know. Send a note to gsafasfocus@gsa.gov. And that is G S A F A S focus at gsa.gov. I'm Joan Kornblith, and I put the words together, and usually ask all the questions. Max Tempura is our producer. Domini Artis handles the social media. Thank you very much to Crystal Philcox for joining us in the studio this week. FAS Focus is a production of the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Strategic Communication. [ Music ]