Ahhhh, the request for proposal(RFP) — for many, giving birth to an elephant is a more appealing option than responding to an RFP.
And yet, while most despise answering an RFP, many professionals rely on them as a meaningful source for new business.
If you’re one of these people, I encourage you to start developing thought leadership as a means to endear yourself to the all-powerful, all-knowing purchasing agent.
Purchasing agents (PAs), who were once heavily reliant on and influenced by salespeople, now do a majority of their due diligence via the internet. This has effectively taken the salesperson out of the equation and leveled the playing field.
In fact, a recent Corporate Executive Board study found that nearly 60 percent of the purchasing decision is now completed before the agent ever has a conversation with a supplier.
Here’s what this means:
For most companies, PAs are asked to source a wide variety of products and services and thus, they tend to have a limited understanding of them. Today, it might be an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Tomorrow, it could be a supply chain management firm to handle the design and development of a new distribution center in Idaho.
When coupled with the complexity of all the decision-making criteria and the large number of people involved, PAs need to get educated quickly, and their go-to educational resource is the Internet. It is during the due diligence stage that the PAs are at their most receptive and impressionable.
Not coincidentally, this will be your best opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and secure your place on their “favorites” list. Read Full Article
The US government kicked the year off with plans to improve spend categorization in the federal marketplace. Leading high-spending agencies broke spend into 10 overarching categories to be led by subject experts. Procurement professionals in the private sector have long recognized the benefit of proper category management - but for any business that hasn't begun the process already, the federal spend categorization might make a good case study to follow.
A move towards private sector practices
Plenty in the private sector may do a double take at the idea of taking a cue from public sector strategies. However, the government's new initiative parallels private categorization in a number of ways. First and foremost is the reason categorization is so important. Anne Rung, Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and Tom Sharpe, Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, summed up the issue simply: “Far too often, our acquisition professionals are making these purchases with very little insight into what their counterparts across the government are buying, who they are buying it from, what they are paying, and how they are buying it. In general, there is very little coordination and sharing of information and best practices across government. In fact, there is no single place a government contracting officer can go to find out important details regarding existing contract vehicles for any particular commodity area.” If these sound like familiar issues, it is because all businesses face these procurement challenges – even if spend in our own organizations is a bit below the federal mark of $400 billion. The goal of this categorization is to bring clarity and coordination to a disparate set of buyers and suppliers, just as it is in the private sector.
Another similarity is in the categories the government selected as key priorities. Here are three of the finalized 10 categories:
DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement a uniform Procurement Instrument Identification (PIID) numbering system, which will require the use of Activity Address Codes (AACs) as the unique identifier for contracting offices and other offices, in order to standardize procurement transactions across the Federal Government. This proposed rule continues and strengthens efforts at standardization accomplished under a previous FAR case. Reference Article.
Are you going through GovPhases? Below are tips to help survive the mid-cycle crisis.
If you are a current government contractor, you may be experiencing the government procurement mid-cycle crisis. The key to successfully mitigating a crisis is to focus on each phase of the cycle…one phase at a time. The only medicine needed is patience and dedication.
Phase 1 – Pre-proposal. It is very important to know your market. Prior to proposal release, conduct thorough market research and competitive analysis. In addition, conduct an internal review of your companies pricing structure and technical strengths. Continually update your Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis to determine how to strategically bid and increase your PWIN.
Phase 2 – Pre-award. You have submitted a winning proposal, now what? Take some time and Prepare to Win. Review the performance work statement (PWS) and contract terms and conditions and create a compliance check matrix. Check off all the requirements that are in place and highlight the areas that need to be implemented. Create a timeline and conduct a pre-award kick-off meeting with your team. Take full advantage of the source selection phase by proactively preparing your company.
Phase 3. Award. Congratulations, you won! Now it’s time to perform. Revisit your timeline and add any crucial dates and milestones needed for contract execution. Schedule a kick-off meeting with the Contracting Officer, COTR and project team.
Phase 4. Post-Award. Continually monitor performance through quality control processes, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and project management. Conduct monthly meetings, reporting and feedback with the customer. Know your customer.
Phase 5. Contract Compliance and Customer Satisfaction. This phase is critical and must be monitored on a daily basis. Customer satisfaction may lead to more business through past performance evaluations and future opportunities with the customer and other agencies. Perform to expand.
Phase 6. Contract Closeout. Unfortunately, every contract comes to an end. If you are fortunate enough to win the recompete for an on-going effort, then this phase comes later. However, if your contract expires, you will need to process the contract closeout documents in a timely manner.
If you proactively plan for each phase and manage each process, the mid-cycle crisis can be avoided. Prepare to Win…Perform to Expand!
Small businesses that have been federal contractors for more than 10 years, or that have won more than $1 million in government contracts, tend to invest more time and money in seeking work, and submit more bids than their less active counterparts, a new survey shows.
The American Express OPEN survey found, on average, these so-called “procurement leaders” leaders spent $233,457 in preparing their bids for federal contracts in 2010, both in terms of staff time and direct expenditures. “Casual” contractors — those that have been contracting for less than three years and have won less than $1 million in federal contracts — only spent $31, 278 over the same period.
On 14 Nov 2011, OMB and SBA issued a memorandum to Procurement officials regarding the improvement of small business data. Quality and timely Federal procurement data are essential to increasing Federal small business contract awards and achieving the agencies small business contracting goals. Actions are being taken to improve the quality of procurement data on small business contract awards.
As a result of these changes separate processes related to small business data quality are being aligned to increase awareness and attention on small business contracting data. Integrating small business data quality reviews into routine agency processes and procedures is expected to reduce burden on the acquisition workforce, facilitate improved acquisition planning, and increase data accuracy of awards made to small businesses.
Accordingly, OMB and SBA asks all procurement officials to increase the attention given to small business data quality as part of their ongoing data validation efforts. Reference memorandum.
Want to learn more about GSA's State and Local programs? Join the webinar for a brief overview.
Webinar: Introduction to GSA State and Local Programs
Want to learn more about GSA's State and Local programs? Join the webinar to get a brief overview on:
Disaster Recovery Purchasing
Public Health Emergencies
Date/Time: SEP 8, 2011 - 1:00pm EST
1. Simply click on http://gsafas.adobeconnect.com/schedules to Join.
2. Turn up your computer speakers for sound, and chat in any questions you have.
3. OPTIONAL: You may Dial 1/877-783-3073, passcode 1967262 if you need to speak and do not have a computer microphone/headset.
If you have questions about the Webinar please email email@example.com. Click here to register online.
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is hosting a half day conference on January 12, 2011. focused on helping women and minority businesses understand certifications and procurement tactics that work for them. Hear from several procurement experts including:
-Sharon Jackson, MBE Compliance and Outreach Manager, GOMA
-Shirley Williams, Chief of MBE/WBE Opportunity Office, Mayor's Office
-Gloria Larkin, President, TargetGov
-Liz Cullen, WBENC.
Enjoy multiple breakout sessions and a Lunch Panel with success stories and networking.
Location: Sheraton Columbia, 10207 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, MD 21044
Price: $50 NAWBO members/ $65 non-members
To learn more and register click here.
There is a rising trend in the number of protested federal contracts. Is this trend due to confusing statistics or just causes? Let’s take a closer look.