GSA Administrator Resigns – What is his Legacy?

Did Tangherlini leave a positive mark on federal acquisition? Reviews are mixed.

By Jill R. Aitoro, Washington Business Journal          January 15, 2015.

The General Services Administration, in its summary of outgoing administrator Dan Tangherlini‘s accomplishments, points to more effective acquisitions. But in two years, did he actually make that happen?

Most I’ve spoken to say he got some interesting things started, but it remains to be seen if they proceed as he might have intended. As one source in the contracting community put it, “say what you will about him, he was the kind of leader who could and was not afraid to break serious China.”

GSA points to a few of those initiatives that he got underway:

  • Category management, which essentially clumps types of buys by category, to be managed as a strategy business unit and more easily enable collaboration with industry. (This is related to strategic sourcing, of course, which seeks to leverage government’s buying power by pulling like acquisitions under a single umbrella. That is a rather contentious issue, with many in the contracting community arguing it causes too many acquisitions to become price shootouts, without enough consideration paid to best value.)
  • Common Acquisition Platform, or CAP, which supports the concept of category management with tools that the acquisition communication can use to simplify buying.
  • Office Supplies Third Generation, or FSSI OS3, which is one example of strategy sourcing that focuses on office supplies. It’s also the one that GSA has held up as the poster child for why it’s a smart model for buying.

“Dan deserves a lot of credit for pushing new ideas and new thinking,” said Stan Soloway, CEO of the Professional Services Council, an Arlington-based trade group that represents contractors, in a statement. “We didn’t always agree, but he was always open to dialogue and focused on delivering quality for the government.”


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