Scheduling and planning for public school openings is often a herculean effort in the best of times. But when the third largest school district in the country was given three weeks to prepare for a COVID-safe return of thousands of teachers, students and administrators at more than 650 schools, an unsung purchasing service of the federal government and a trusted nationwide service provider were able to lighten the load.
One of the ways Chicago Public Schools (CPS) prepared their buildings and classrooms for pandemic-era operations was to ensure social distancing, traffic patterns, and expectations for behavior were clearly communicated with signs and decals. ARC had a full-suite of such graphics, and CPS was ready to implement, but as a public school that receives funding from state and federal governments, they were required to bid out such purchases, a process that would take significantly more time to execute than their entire re-opening plan.
Enter the GSA, otherwise known as the Government Services Administration.
Known most commonly for providing GSA Schedules – government-wide contracts for products and services with pre-negotiated pricing from pre-qualified vendors –eligible GSA buyers can streamline procurement and move very quickly as conditions demand.
The GSA has made all GSA Schedules available to state and local government including K-12 school districts, colleges, and universities. As a GSA-approved vendor for a wide variety of products and services, ARC provided federal supplier pricing levels to mitigate the need to go to bid, and suddenly an impossible deadline began to look like it might be met.
Thanks to the streamlined procurement process of the GSA, ARC’s good standing within the GSA Advantage! platform – the agency’s online purchasing portal – and a clear plan of execution from the team at Chicago Public Schools, in just three weeks, ARC produced nearly a million graphics, decals and signs, and educated facility managers from all over Chicago on how to place and install them.
Curious about how to access the GSA Schedules for your agency? Your local ARC team can help by sharing the GSA’s access authorization for state and local agencies, GSA procurement tools, and how Chicago Public Schools used GSA Schedules to meet their deadlines.
Three-Part Partners: ARC, GSA & You
Keeping communication clear, visible and eye-catching are the keys to effective health and safety messages amid the pandemic, but ARC offers a variety of products and services that can help you manage better during the pandemic and other related emergencies. We can also help you make the best use of GSA contracts, purchasing tools, and authorizations to make critical purchasing easy and hassle-free.
GSA Approved Services and Products from ARC
- Social distancing signage and floor graphics
- Cube mates mobile desk screens
- Scanning to drive digital transformation, automation, info access and productivity
- Digitizing facilities plans for building maintenance
- Printing engineering and standard size documents on-site and off-site
Is ARC a GSA Contract Holder? Yes. That means you can [use ARC’s Special Item Numbers (SINs) to find a wide variety of products and services with government approved pricing.
Do I have to go out to bid on ARC products and services? No. When purchasing through a GSA contract/GSA-approved vendor, bidding isn’t necessary because the federal government has already approved pricing.
Does ARC makes its products available on GSA Advantage? Yes. In addition to ARC products and services, the GSA’s online shopping and ordering system provides access to thousands of contractors and millions of supplies (products) and services to serve your needs.
How long has ARC has been serving Federal, State and Local Government Agencies? Decades. We know what you need and can advise you on how best to procure it.
What makes ARC a SAM.GOV Disaster Response Provider? You can find us as part of the Disaster Response Registry, a voluntary registry of contractors who are willing to perform disaster or emergency relief activities.