We are excited about our new partnership as we bring your Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) products and services to our Federal customers worldwide via the Internet! With millions of products now on-line, the GSA Advantage online shopping service is the most widely used shopping site in government. We invite you to join the thousands of schedule vendors already online!
This Start-up Kit explains how to get your products and services online as well as how to maintain your information. Your participation is extremely important to us as we have accepted the challenge to employ electronic commerce and to simplify the acquisition process for the Federal Government.
We have also included guidance for those vendors wishing to submit their catalog using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). If you need assistance, we have also provided points of contact.
We hope you are as excited as we are about making your products and services available to Federal agencies worldwide through GSA Advantage - “where government shops!”
What is GSA Advantage? GSA Advantage (http://www.GSAadvantage.gov) is the Federal Government’s premier on-line catalog, information, and ordering system which gives Federal customers the ability to quickly search, compare and order those products and services which best meet their needs. Agencies may also submit request for quotes using the GSA Advantage “eBuy” RFQ system which is a service of GSA Advantage.
Inclusion of your products and services on GSA Advantage provides greater market exposure and increases potential for greater sales to Federal agencies and activities worldwide!
Quick Start - Getting your catalog on GSA Advantage
How GSA identifies a product: GSA uniquely identifies each product
using a combination of your contract number plus the manufacturer part number.
Each product you submit must have a unique manufacturer part number - even
if two or more manufacturers carry the exact same part number. This may require
a part number modification on your part. Note: we will soon require UPC on
many products so you may wish to include UPC's with your submission.
Can I submit photos with my products? Yes. Photos provide the best shopping experience for customers and give you an edge when it comes down to the customer's final purchase decision. Customers using GSA Advantage can also limit their search results to only those products with photos. Photos may be submitted via SIP or EDI. Please note the following:
The Schedules Input Program (SIP) software can be downloaded from the GSA Vendor Support Center. SIP is a client-side application that allows you to import/input then upload all your contract and product data for inclusion on GSA Advantage.
SIP system requirements: The SIP is a Windows based program which operates in a Windows 98 environment or greater. The minimum hardware requirement is a Pentium class PC with at least 64 MB RAM. SIP can be installed on a stand-alone PC or multi-user LAN environment.
SIP online and context sensitive help: SIP includes an online help function that can be used to assist you in the preparation of your electronic catalogs. Online help is available for each input field by simply pressing the F1 key.
Can I import my catalog data into SIP? Yes. When you install the SIP program, an Import Program is also installed which allows you to import either standard ASCII text, DBF files (versions 3.0 or greater), or MS Excel files (MS office 97 version or greater) into the SIP. Call the VSC for further information and assistance. Online help is also available within the Import Program including instructions and templates.
SIP catalog submission and Response File processing: Once you have prepared your file using SIP, you must upload it to GSA. First, click on the Communications|Create Catalog Files option. Once the create catalog process is complete, click on the Communications|Send Catalog Files option to automatically upload the file. Please note that if you later wish to replace all information you must create a replacement catalog using the Communications|Create Replacement File option.
Once your file is uploaded, it will be forwarded to the appropriate GSA/VA contracting officer (CO) for review. Once the CO has reviewed the catalog, they will send you an e-mail (or FAX, phone) stating whether the file was approved or rejected and the reasons for rejection, if applicable. A SIP “response file” will also be generated after the CO has reviewed your file. You must process your response file using SIP before you can send the next catalog update (you can prepare the next submission in SIP but you cannot send it until the response file has been received and processed).
The purpose of the response file is to inform you as to whether your file was approved or rejected, and to update your SIP software ensuring that both the SIP and GSA Advantage databases remain in sync. SIP will prompt you when a response file needs to be processed and will automatically retrieve and process the file. Once your response file is processed, you are free to submit further updates.
Rejected files: If your catalog file is rejected and your GSA/VA CO has not contacted you via e-mail, FAX, or phone by the time you have received your response file, please contact your CO for details as to why the file was rejected. Rejected catalogs must be resubmitted within 30 calendar days.
Temporary price reductions: Files containing temporary price reductions will be immediately loaded to GSA Advantage without contracting officer approval.
Can I submit my MAS products or services as text? Certain schedules and SINs have been designated as either allowing or requiring a text file instead of a detailed data file. The SIP program will prompt you when this option is allowed. Please note that products and services submitted in a document cannot be ordered online but can only be viewed! Products should be submitted in a data format wherever possible.
You may send text files in .pdf, .doc, .xls, or .htm formats. Please note that the filename must not contain spaces and must reside in SIP’s “text file” subdirectory. See SIP online help for further instructions including what should be included in your text file.
Vendor Support Center: The purpose of the VSC (https://vsc.gsa.gov) is to provide assistance to vendors in the preparation and submission of their electronic catalog files. The VSC maintains a staff of personnel ready to assist you. The VSC also maintains a web site, which provides the latest versions of the SIP software, and more.
Personnel at the VSC may be reached at 877-495-4849 (M-F 7:30-5:30 PM EST), or e-mail email@example.com.
What is EDI and is it for me? Electronic Data Interchange or EDI, is the computer-to-computer exchange of business information using a public standard. You have several different options when it comes to using EDI to submit your catalog file. In addition to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) packages, there are also third parties and Value Added Networks (VANs) who can assist you. If you are interested in learning more about EDI, call our EDI Help Desk at 703-605-9444.
EDI catalog submission process: Catalog data submitted to GSA via EDI transaction set 832 is first checked for EDI syntactical accuracy and then checked for data content. It is then provided to your GSA/VA contracting officer for review and approval. Once approved, vendors are notified via e-mail or FAX and catalog data is placed on-line for customer ordering via GSA Advantage. GSA will use the 824 transaction set to specify data content errors in your catalog file should your file be rejected. The 824 is sent to vendors electronically or it may be E-mailed or Faxed to those vendors unable to accept an 824 electronically. Rejected catalogs must be resubmitted within 30 calendar days.
EDI 832 samples: Sample 832 Price/Sales Catalog transaction sets can
be downloaded from the Vendor Support Center at https://vsc.gsa.gov. These samples are
compliant with the Federal Implementation Convention (IC). The 832 samples
should be given to your software provider and/or Value Added Network (VAN)
so that they will be able to furnish a transaction in accordance with the
Federal IC’s. Also included with the 832 samples is a table of expected
data elements that will be edited prior to GSA/VA contracting officer review
of your catalog.
Other EDI samples: You may also download samples of the 850 Purchase Order and 824 Application Advice. Additionally, the 997, Functional Acknowledgment, should be used in all appropriate cases.
Look-up tables: Look-Up Tables have been developed to assist you in the preparation of EDI transactions. These tables, which are maintained by GSA, provide valid schedule numbers, country codes, etc., and can also be downloaded from the VSC. These tables are updated as required.
How to submit your 832 Price/Sales Catalog: There are three ways in which a vendor may send in their EDI data:
Contract modifications: All contract modifications and/or changes must be approved by your GSA/VA contracting officer before submitting for inclusion in GSA Advantage. Please include your modification number with your submission.
Submitting changes: Changes can be sent by line item or as an entire catalog replacement. Files containing temporary price reductions will be immediately loaded without contracting officer approval.
EDI help desk: For more information or for any questions regarding EDI, please call 703-605-9444.
Can I submit my MAS products or services as text? Certain schedules and SINs have been designated as either allowing or requiring a text file instead of a detailed data file. EDI vendors must download the Schedule/SIN/MO Table from the Vendor Support Center at https://vsc.gsa.gov to determine which schedules or SINs allow or require a text file. Please note that products and services submitted in a text file cannot be ordered online but can only be viewed! Products should be submitted in a data format wherever possible.
Text documents submitted by EDI vendors must be created in .pdf, .doc, .xls, or .htm format and uploaded to GSA via sftp to their established sftp mailbox or by using the VSC web site. Use the Text File Upload Tool if uploading via the VSC web site. The text filename must include your contract number and the name of the file. The filename may not contain spaces. Format the filename as follows: “GS-07F-1234A_filename.xxx”, where xxx is one of the formats allowed above. The document filename should be placed in the REF segment C03 using the “TN” qualifier in the REF01 and the actual filename in the REF02.
Submitting photos: See “Can I submit photos with my product?” above for photo format and size requirements. For EDI vendors, the photo filename must be included in the 832 catalog file submission using the REF segment (2/040) with the “51” qualifier in the REF01. In order to accommodate up to an 80 character filename, use REF02 (up to 30) and then the remaining in REF03 or preferable put all of it in REF03 (80). You may repeat the REF segment up to 4 times if you wish to submit more than one photo for an item.
In order to delete a photo from Advantage, simply exclude the REF segment from the 832 catalog submission. EDI vendors will sftp their zipped photo files to their established sftp mailbox, using the naming structure ‘contractnumber_photos.zip’. The .zip file will also contain an ‘email.txt’ file containing ONLY the email address of the person submitting the photo file. Any validation errors will be emailed back to the email address provided in the .txt file.
More information can be found at photos.doc
Common EDI problems to avoid:
Vendor Support Center: The purpose of the VSC (https://vsc.gsa.gov) is to provide assistance
to vendors in the preparation and submission of their electronic catalog files.
Although the primary focus of the VSC is support of non-EDI vendors using
the Schedule Input Program, it is also an important resource for EDI vendors.
The VSC also maintains a web site containing downloadable look-up tables,
EDI transaction set samples, etc.
Personnel at the VSC may be reached at 877-495-4849 (M-F 7:30-5:30 PM EST), or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information or for any questions regarding EDI, please call 703-605-9444.