The federal government — through a procurement portal provided by the General Services Administration, or the GSA — buys almost $600 million of cleaning products annually.

While a number like that could make any small business salivate for a piece of the procurement pie, a new program being rolled out this month is changing the game for jan/san distributors who depend on revenue from Uncle Sam.

Out of the current pool of more than 1,000 distributors, just 21 are expected to be awarded Blanket Purchasing Agreements (BPAs), which will allow the suppliers to begin selling their products to various federal government agencies at the start of the fiscal year in October.

“If you rely on GSA schedule sales, you’re in trouble,” says Scott LeCalsey, government and jan/san expert. “You will be dramatically impacted by this.”

The Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) was introduced in 2005 by the GSA as a way to analyze spending patterns, reduce costs, streamline procurement and leverage purchasing power. It has been implemented in a handful of sectors since then, including office supplies in 2010 and express and ground domestic delivery services in 2011. Since the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative was put into place, the government says it has saved at least $140 million on office supplies and more than $30 million on domestic deliveries.

However, there’s another side to those savings. Jan/san suppliers are the latest target for the initiative, which has industry leaders and economists questioning the potential costs to individual small businesses and to the cleaning industry as a whole.

“We understand the need for the federal government to address the budget deficit, but the problem is, GSA has not examined the adverse economic impact it will have on the jan/san sector,” says Bill Balek, director of legislative affairs, ISSA. “While this initiative may create savings for the federal government in terms of their direct purchases, not a word has been spoken to the economic harm to the private sector that is very likely to result from it.”

next page of this article:
GSA Strategic Sourcing Centers On Price — And Little Else