The United States General Services Administration uses a system of contracts with commercial firms to provide supplies and services to the Federal Government at stated prices for given periods of time. There are two major types of schedule:
- Multiple Award Schedules (MAS), which provide for the supply of usually unlimited quantities over an indefinite period of time; and
- Single Award Schedules (SAS), which cover contracts made with one supplier for a specific product at a stated price for delivery to a geographical area defined in the schedule.
The main advantage of GSA schedules is that they forestall the need to go through complex U.S. federal procurement procedures, because the GSA has in effect certified that is the best value item for its purpose. Effectively, employees of the Federal Government can simply buy GSA scheduled items without needing to obtain bids. Obviously for manufacturers of high technology, particularly software, obtaining a listing on an MAS schedule is hugely advantageous. MAS Schedules will typically cover a wide range of software, small computers and workstations, peripherals, etc.