GSA Issues RFI For Solution to Tackle Counterfeit IT Products in Federal Supply Chain

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The U.S. General Services Administration announced early last week it looking for a supply chain solution as part of a pilot program aimed at helping federal procurement professionals authenticate IT and communication products in the government’s supply chain. The independent organization that supports federal agencies issued an RFI May 9 to gather information about the development of a supply chain solution and interface that would prevent counterfeit IT components from entering the federal supply chain.

The intent is to strengthen the compliance and security of the supply chain and thwart tampering, counterfeiting and grey market offerings,” the GSA said in its RFI issued May 9. “In order to prove this concept, the solution would need to be able to track and authenticate information and communication technology (ICT) products.”

Grey markets are where a product may be bought or sold outside authorized trading channels. These distribution channels may be legal, but are not the intended ones by the original manufacturer. The GSA defines grey market goods as, “products that are intended for sale in foreign countries, and enter the United States without the permission of the trademark owner. Grey market goods are often formulated for different consumer preferences, do not comply with United States standards and labeling laws and lack a valid U.S. warranty.”

The GSA said the ideal supply chain solution and interface to avoid this sort of supply chain activity would be able to track all changes in ownership of an ICT product starting at the time the product is manufactured and its movement through the supply chain to when it is bought by a consumer and held or resold. Such a solution would be “an integrated and portable tool set,” that the federal government could monitor performance metrics through, the GSA said in its RFI.

The solution would track ITC products including recycled components and obsolete parts and components that are sold as new as well as test rejects and sub-standard components sold in the market as high quality. Such a solution would be part of the GSA’s Supply Chain Risk Management Provenance Pilot Program.

The GSA’s RFI asks providers to share information on their current supply chain solutions and capabilities, such as if the solution has the ability to validate, track and authenticate commercial IT offerings in the federal government’s supply chain and if the solution can track changes of a product throughout the supply chain. The full RFI is on the GSA’s website.

The GSA is asking for RFI responses by May 31.

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