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    How do we engage with Ability One for this requirement? These uniform items were added to the procurement list. Only offices in our district are authorized to purchase these uniform items. Therefore adding these items to GSA does not seem to make sense. Entering into a contract is not practical as the quantities are unknown in advance. Furthermore, the BPA purchase directly from the AbilityOne provider as items are needed. Please provide a FAR reference(s) that prohibits the use of a BPA to acquire items on the Procurement List.


    Answer

    Pursuant to FAR 8.705-1(a), "ordering offices shall obtain supplies and services on the Procurement List from the central nonprofit agency or its designated AbilityOne participating nonprofit agencies, except that supplies identified on the Procurement List as available from DLA, GSA, or VA supply distribution facilities shall be obtained through DLA, GSA, or VA procedures."  I did a quick check of the procurement list and found several uniform items are available through DLA.  Purchasing on the internet would be the easiest option such as DoD's FedMall if that is an option.   DLA Troop Support is responsible for "clothing and textile items" for the military, and they should have information about how to purchase the needed item.  You can contact DLA Troop Support by calling (215) 737-8656.

    If for some reason your item is not available through DLA, AbilityOne.com is the "one-stop shop" for ordering AbilityOne products  that are found on the Procurement List.  For more information, you can send an e-mail to info@abilityone.gov or call the customer hotline at (800) 433-2304.  You can also contact Mike Jurkowski, Acting Director, Business Operations, U.S. AbilityOne Commission, at mjurkowski@abilityone.gov or (703) 785-6404. 

    In order to purchase directly from an AbillityOne vendor, you would need to follow the procedures in FAR 8.705-2.  FAR 8.705-2 states the "central nonprofit agencies may authorize ordering offices to transmit orders for specific supplies or services directly to an AbilityOne participating nonprofit agency. The written authorization remains valid until it is revoked by the central nonprofit agency or the Committee. The central nonprofit agency shall specify the normal delivery or performance lead time required by the nonprofit agency. The ordering office shall reflect this lead time in its orders."  DFARS PGI 208.705 permits the use of DD Form 1155, Order for Supplies or Services, to place orders with central nonprofit agencies. 

    You asked if a BPA can be established directly with an AbilityOne vendor rather than setting up one through an existing schedule contract by following the procedures at FAR 8.405-3.  In my research, I couldn’t find anything about establishing a BPA directly with an AbilityOne vendor.  All of the court and GAO cases that I found dealt mainly with BPAs established with FSS contractors (vendors) under FAR Subpart 8.4.  However, the AbilityOne.gov website did provide one clue.  It said that "certain NSNs will need to be purchased directly from the manufacturing nonprofit agency.  In those cases, minimum order quantities (MOQs) do apply."  Why is this important?  Unlike Indefinite delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts, BPAs do not allow for minimum order guarantees, which tells me that BPAs may not be the preferred option.  However, I did find court cases where BPAs were established to order items or services off of the Procurement List from FSS contractors under FAR Subpart 8.4. 

    Therefore, I don’t think it would be prohibited to establish a BPA directly with an AbilityOne contractor as long as it’s pre-coordinated with the appropriate central nonprofit agency (e.g. NIB OR NISH) and you get their “written authorization”.  Finally, I strongly recommend to first reach out to DLA Troop Support to get more information about availability of the needed item through them.   

      

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