A panel composed of the director of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, a Vice President and General Manager from Computer Sciences Corporation, and a Founder and CEO of a telecommunications company held a discussion early in November at the Tysons Tower Club.
When speaking about how his agency determines the specifications of upcoming solicitations, Kevin Boshears, Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization said that his agency “looked at all the tools that we have in the toolbox in order to craft the solicitation, based on the market research results that we receive." It's very important for small companies to respond to Sources Sought notices, as they allow government agencies to get a better understanding of what products and services are available in the market place, as well as what sort of businesses are capable of providing such services. For example, if enough Veteran owned or woman-owned firms respond to the Sources Sought notice, it's possible that the solicitation may mark the solicitation as a Set-Aside for that particular business.
From a large prime contractor's standpoint, Patrick Schambach, Vice President and General Manager of Computer Sciences Corporation’s DHS Division, advised that small businesses that want to become subcontractors to a contract should approach Prime Contractors "as a prime". By that, he means that small businesses should initiate conversation with a specific deal and agenda in mean. That means identifying the capabilities that you have as an organization, as well as doing research on the Prime Contractor and their requirements prior to coming in and making a pitch. More specifically, potential subcontractors should establish an intimacy with the client, have a proven past performance with the services being provided, and understanding your organization and how it fits into the big picture.
Meanwhile, Joe Fergus, the Founder and CEO of Communications Technologies, Inc., advised that small businesses must be able to bring a value proposition to the table. Mr. Fergus advised that relationship building was the key to get the ball moving. Subcontracting is a means through which a small business can participate and get their foot through the door on a contract. Constructive dialogue is a must when seeking to participate on a contract with a prime as a subcontractor.
What happens once you become a subcontractor?
Mr. Schambach notes that one of the major keys to continuing work participation is by continuing to build the relationship between the Prime and the subcontractor. As a subcontractor, you must continue to excel in performing according to the contract requirements.
In terms of protecting yourself as a subcontractor, and that you receive the amount of work that was promised to you, Mr. Schambach advised that you should hold a kickoff meeting with the senior team involved with the contract. In this meeting, both the subcontractor and the prime have an eyeball-to-eyeball discussion, and they should make sure that they hold the person who agreed to the amount of work guaranteed to the subcontractor accountable.
Other methods of acquiring government contracts.
It should be noted that the opportunities that are released on FedBizOpps.gov only comprise 20-25% of all business opportunities within the government. The rest of that government business is being conducted on a task order basis.
Task orders are a way of acquiring government business. A small business that is in the process of acquiring such business should ask themselves, “is our organization in a position to prime one of these task orders?” or “how do we get ourselves on a team that would allow us to get into one of these task orders?”
Four contractors will compete for $389 million in task orders over five years to support the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communication.
Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., General Dynamics Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and SRA International were picked to compete against one another for tasks to enhance and maintain the National Communications System, according to a July 10 award notice on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.
Under the contracts, the companies will provide scientific, engineering and technical assistance. The scope of work also includes project planning and program management support.
NCS is the cornerstone of the country’s ability to provide key communications services to support government functions during emergencies. The system comprises the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service and Wireless Priority Service, which give authorized users top priority on congested networks during national emergencies. Reference Article tr.im/sBVl
Department taps 35 small businesses to provide professional services. The Homeland Security Department has named 35 winners of its $1.5 billion small-business set-aside contract for professional services that was announced a year ago. Competition was limited to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.
The Program Management, Administrative, Clerical and Technical Services (PACTS) contract is designed to provide a broad range of professional support services, except information technology services. The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract has a maximum value of $1.5 billion.
Future task orders under the PACTS contract might be among the first to be subjected to the mandatory reviews announced May 28 by Secretary Janet Napolitano, said Jeremy Potter, a senior analyst at Input Inc., a market research firm in Reston, Va.
Napolitano said officials will review all new professional services contracts worth $1 million or more to determine if the work was inherently governmental or involved core functions that government employees should perform. PACTS is one of the largest professional services contracts expected to generate task orders in the coming months, Potter said.
On June 19, DHS published a list of “apparently successful” offerers that responded to a solicitation issued in June 2008. The 35 winners include eight companies in Functional Category 1-Program Management, 10 companies in Functional Category 2-Administrative, seven companies in Functional Category 3-Clerical and 10 companies in Functional Category 4-Technical Services.
The winning companies in the four categories are:
Category 1-Program Management
Category 4-Technical Services
Original article via WashingtonTechnology.com: DHS Awards PACTS Contract
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