After nearly a year of research and hundreds of man hours spent collaborating with General Services Administration officials, the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville's Fuels Program will be the Center's first program to use GSA schedule maintenance contracts.

A Fuels Program Project Delivery Team, consisting of contracting officials and program and project managers and other support personnel, determined the GSA Multiple Award Schedule 03FAC, Facilities Maintenance and Management is a viable option for providing recurring maintenance and minor repair services for more than 400 Army, Navy, and the Air Force fuel facilities sites around the world.

Dennis Bacon, Fuels branch chief, said adopting GSA's Multiple Award Schedule as the base acquisition solution from which to order maintenance and services allows the Fuels Program to focus on decreasing the contractual administrative burden while freeing resources and to fully apply industry-specific knowledge and expertise.

"The magnitude of the geographic boundaries makes acquisition of such services a challenge at the installation level and demands a more highly coordinated and managed approach," Bacon said.

"The Multiple Award Schedule provides us with a streamlined procurement device to acquire all of the services necessary to maintain and manage fuel facilities, and shifting resources improves other areas of importance to the customer, such as performance management, quality assurance, continuous improvement and mission support," he said.

"We won't have to spend a lot of time and resources developing, maintaining and awarding stand-alone acquisition solutions for the program as the GSA schedule offers a long-term indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract upon which orders can be placed."

Hector Vega, the lead contracting officer with the Fuels Program, said approximately 14 task orders are currently planned with the initial two task orders to be awarded this summer. All sites are planned to be under the GSA 03FAC by the end of Fiscal Year 2022. The two task orders awarded this summer will be dedicated to maintaining critical facilities in the Pacific region.

As the Center's Fuels Program moved toward adopting the GSA schedule, Vega said close collaboration between the PDT and its GSA counterparts in Kansas City, Missouri, has been vital to the success of the partnership.

Both teams were focused on ensuring operability, safety and the specialized expertise remained to fulfill mission requirements, however, task order contract structure and market research were specific areas requiring special consideration, Vega said.

Vega said for more than three decades, Huntsville Center developed, maintained and awarded stand-alone acquisition solutions for its customers, and under the Fuels Program's task order contracts, quality assurance services from multiple U.S. Army Corps of Engineers districts were sometimes needed to service fuels contracts.

However, Vega said the Fuels Program team and the GSA team were able to pool resources and come up with a contract arrangement that enabled restructuring geographic boundaries to align with USACE's geographic divisions, enabling the Fuels Program to obtain quality assurance services for each task order supporting maintenance work.

The second consideration was the ability to use GSA's Market Research as a Service (MRAS), an automated tool that streamlines the issuing of Requests For Information (RFI) and the compiling of market research data.

"This tool enabled the team to quickly and efficiently parse the supplier universe to determine viable vendors in the Fuels System Maintenance arena," said Tim Benoit, GSA Category Manager, Facilities and Construction.

Benoit said the Fuels Program team and GSA held multiple meetings with prospective contractors, explained that Huntsville Center would begin using Schedule 03FAC as the contracting platform for future Fuels Maintenance requirements, and detailed the new process.

"Together, the team was able to recruit and award GSA Schedule contracts to a highly competitive pool of both large and small Fuels Maintenance suppliers," Benoit said.

Ron Brook, Fuels Program manager, said using the GSA 03MAC not only streamlines the process for awarding maintenance contracts for the Fuels Program, but also presents opportunities for the program to expand its services to accommodate other federal agencies, not just the Defense Logistics Agency-Fuels, the program's staple customer.

"The GSA schedule provides the Fuels Program with easy access to long-term, government-wide contracts and services with orders placed at volume discount pricing," Brook said.

"We will be able to maintain fuel systems for any federal agency with fuel maintenance and minor repair requirements."