Coronavirus has been in the news a great deal the last few months and yesterday it was officially declared a global pandemic by the WHO (World Health Organization). So rather than ignore the 800bls gorilla in the room this week I am going to discuss what this could mean for various industries of federal contracting.
Medical Supplies and Other Goods
In Late February – The Domestic Strategic National Stockpile’s Office of Resource Management asks GSA Schedule Medical Supply Schedule Holders and other Federal Vendors of medical supplies how much protective gear they have in stock. The survey, which went out to government contractors on February 24, queries the companies about their current and projected inventory of “N95 Respirators, Surgical N95 Masks, Coveralls, Tyvek Suits or equivalent Coverall, Gowns, Non-Splash Goggles, and Face Shields” to assist with the outbreak. The responses are due on March 24.
I would expect the federal government to utilize these resources as needed and will likely result in mass purchases from these schedule holders if they are needed.
Information Technology and Management Consulting
In terms of other emergency preparedness there are 2.1 million federal employees. Twenty years ago a national emergency would be more challenging to deal with. However many of these employees now have the ability to telecommute. This provides greater flexibility for people in high risk areas, and allows federal workers who feel they might have an issue to self-quarantine themselves from their coworkers. Therefore the federal government should stay open for business and need to procure additional services as they juggle new challenges that come with such a large number of employees telecommuting.
Cleaning and Janitorial
It is likely that federal facilities will require additional sanitation and sterilization to thwart any outbreak at a federal facility. Therefore I would expect the potential doubling of these services.<!--
Going one step past registering with FEMA is obtaining a GSA Schedule Contract and Agreeing to be a Disaster Relief Participant. If you review how FEMA makes its post disaster purchases, a great deal/majority of its buying comes from the disaster relief arm of the GSA Schedules. This is because the pricing is already vetted and the schedules are a GWAC, meaning they are Government Wide so they cover all 50 states and US territories. FEMA is a large agency but does not have the capabilities to recreate the GSA Schedule Contracting System and therefore piggyback off the GSA Schedule System provides them with a great deal of utility as there mission is dealing with the unexpected.-->
The federal government is likely to increase headcount from security firms to deal with securing goods, warehousing and other services often carried out by federal personnel that have been reassigned to more important duties during the emergency.
Logistics companies always play an important role in any federal emergency. The ability to move people and supplies to zones will increase the federal use of logistics and transportation firms many fold.
We are all hoping the warmer weather and lower population density combined with some upfront information about the virus stops its spread in the United States.
Some medical experts in the press have thoughts the coronavirus could return in September like the annual flu.
Being a Part of the Solution
Working towards obtaining a GSA Schedule will allow federal agencies quick access to your products and services. In a worst case scenario we have seen with the “red tape cutting” that the firms inline for coronavirus test kits were given an FDA pass so that they could begin selling their test kits immediately to the federal government.
Hopefully this passes without and is quickly behind us but here are just some ways firms can help out during this emergency.