Understanding The Government Scheduling System

Ever wondered where servicemen and women get all their gear from? Who supplies firemen with heat-proof suits and emergency responders with all the lifesaving equipment they use on a day-to-day basis? There are a variety of businesses that create and sell gear for all government positions, made easier (and mutually beneficial) through the General Services Administration (GSA).

The GSA is an independent arm of the federal government focused on procurement: federal agencies that serve the public (such as fire and police departments, or emergency units) need products, services, and facilities to perform their jobs. The companies that offer those products and services are able to make billions of dollars through working with the GSA, which links both parties together. They do this through the use of schedules.

Schedules — also known as Federal Supply Schedules and Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) — are long-term contracts between the government and commercial companies, ensuring that our country and its dedicated employees have access to millions of commercial products and services at fair and reasonable prices. Schedules smooth the acquisition process by making buying and selling easy and efficient.

The Schedules program is broken down into 30 sections (unsurprisingly called “Schedules”) based on the type of industry they relate to. For example, GSA 56 relates to buildings and materials, GSA 78 refers to sports and fitness equipment, and GSA 84 assists those who work in security and protection. These Schedules guarantee that firefighters have the necessary firefighting equipment, and that police officers have the necessary weapon components. Our nation simply would not be as safe and secure without GSA Schedules in place to clothe and equip our heroes (including the unsung ones).

It’s important to note that Schedules cover all aspects of government employment; from the uniforms and safety equipment to the very buildings themselves. If GSA 56 wasn’t in place, daily life would simply not be able to continue: it covers building repairs and modifications as well as water treatment systems and roofing services. It encompasses every aspect of work at its basest level — you can’t go to work if there just isn’t anywhere (or anywhere safe) to go to!

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