I am an endless advocate for small business, always have been and always will be. It is within my core. The question I want to look at is why should small business manufacturers matter to the industry and to GSA?

With experience working for small business manufacturers earlier in my career, I now dedicate my efforts to supporting them through Catalyst. Additionally, I take pride in being a woman-owned small business myself. Through this lens, let’s look at the importance of small business manufacturers to the furniture industry and GSA.

It’s important to understand that Small Business Manufacturers play an important role in the Federal Government’s socio-economic goals.

Small Business Spend = 23%

  • 5% 8(a)
  • 5% Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB)
  • 3% Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone)
  • 3% Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)

These goals have been in place for many years, but recent changes to the Packaged Office (POC) program and to the SBA program have made the use of small business manufacturers mandated in certain situations. It is no longer allowed for the bid responder / 8(a) dealer / POC holder to be a small business and fulfill the requirements of an RFP that is a small business set aside with 100% large manufacturers.

The majority of the manufacturers in the furniture manufacturing industry use one of the manufacturing NAICS codes that defines a small business as less than 1000 employees. To confirm if a specific manufacturer is small I would check in e-library (https://www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/ElibMain/home.do) or on the System for Acquisition Management (www.SAM.gov)

Now that we know all of this GSA-rich information, what are some of the other benefits of working with a small business furniture manufacturer?

  1. Unique and customizable products
  2. Personalized relationships at higher levels
  3. You may be a big fish in a small pond
  4. Faster Response Times
  5. Design support is provided at no charge with a lot of small business manufacturers
  6. Competitive Pricing

Small business furniture manufacturers bring diversity, innovation, customization, and a personal touch to the industry. They provide a valuable opportunity for dealers to differentiate themselves in the market, cater to specific customer needs, and offer a wide range of high-quality, unique, and sustainable products. Additionally, working with small business manufacturers contributes to local economies. Creating jobs. Supporting local communities.

Ultimately, the choice between a small business manufacturer and a large manufacturer depends on the specific business strategy, target market, and priorities. I believe there is a lot to be said for the unique offerings, personalized service and potential higher profitability that small business partners can offer and I would encourage everyone, especially those selling on GSA, to have a small business manufacturer plan in place.