Federal Manager's Daily Report

OMB has issued new guidance on use of category management, requiring agencies to, in its words, “carry out a set of tailored management actions and provide updates on these management actions to evaluate their progress in bringing common spending under management.”

“The expected result is more effectively managed contract spending through a balance of government-wide, agency-wide, and local contracts; reduced unnecessary contract duplication and cost avoidance; and continued achievement of small business goals and other socioeconomic requirements,” OMB memo M-19-13 says. “OMB also expects that this memorandum will help agencies shift time, effort, and funding currently spent performing repetitive administrative tasks toward accomplishing mission outcomes.”


The memo replaces guidance from 2011 and 2012 under the Obama administration, which started category management to coordinate purchasing of common goods and services such as software, mobile devices and professional services. The Trump administration in turn incorporated it into its Presidents Management Agenda.

The memo says that the government now spends $325 billion annually on such goods and services but that a continued “lack of mechanisms to support agency collaboration on common contract solutions has resulted in billions of dollars in lost cost avoidance, inappropriate contract duplication, and missed opportunities to adopt government and industry best practices.”

Under the lengthy instructions in the memo and numerous attachments, agencies in sum are to: annually establish plans to reduce unaligned spend and increase the use of best in class solutions for common goods and services; develop effective vendor management strategies to improve communications with contractors, especially those that support mission-critical functions; implement demand management strategies to eliminate inefficient purchasing and consumption behaviors; share data across the federal government to differentiate quality and value of products and services in making buying decisions; and train and develop the workforce in category management principles and practices.