Posts tagged "Procurement"
Jun 17, 2016

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.

To know you is to love you

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:

  1. The ability to educate PAs and earn credibility during their due diligence process is vital to winning their business
  2. Most purchasing agents have formed their opinion about each vendor and have already determined their favorites prior to receiving their RFP
  3. If the PA team learns about your company for the first time while reading your response to their RFP, you’ve already lost

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

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May 7, 2015
WASHINGTON, May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Friday, May 8, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet will join cabinet officials and senior executives from the Departments of Labor, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Treasury, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the General Services Administration and the U.S. Social Security Administration to announce the results of the 2014 Small Business Federal Procurement Scorecard at the White House.
The annual Scorecard is an assessment tool that measures how well federal agencies reach their small business and socio-economic prime contracting and subcontracting goals and reports agency-specific progress. The prime and subcontracting component goals include goals for small businesses, small businesses owned by women (WOSBs), small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs), service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs), and small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones).
Every fiscal year, the SBA works with each agency to set their prime and subcontracting goals and their grades are based on the agreed upon goals. Each federal agency has a different small business prime contracting goal. SBA ensures that the sum total of all of the goals exceeds the 23 percent target established by law. Agency specific data from previous years can be found at:
WHAT: Press Conference on Small Business Federal Procurement Scorecard
WHO: SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet
Christopher Lu, Deputy Secretary, Department of Labor
Alfonso Lenhardt, Acting Administrator, U.S. Agency for
International Development
Adam Neufeld, Acting Deputy Administrator, General Services Administration
WHEN: Friday, May 8, 12:30-2 p.m.
WHERE: The White House
Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Room 430
HOW: Press must RSVP and provide their press credentials for the White House event to by noon, May 7.
Contact:  Tiffani S. Clements (202) 401-0035
Miguel Ayala (202) 205-6420
Internet Address:



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Mar 9, 2015
Brian Seipel on Friday, March 6, 2015

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:

  • Technology – This category includes spend on software, hardware, and the consultants and outsourced work needed to manage both. Security and telecommunications spend also make the list in terms of crucial tech spend.
  • Professional Services – The most varied of the categories developed, professionals services runs the gamut from business administration to marketing and PR to financial services.
  • Facilities and Construction – Considering it encompasses everything from construction materials and services and the purchase and lease of federal facilities, it is easy to see why this category ranks as number one in terms of spend, weighing in at $72.1 billion.

Read full article.


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Jun 7, 2013

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.

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May 9, 2013

As agencies deal with budget cuts, the government is missing an opportunity for innovation and leadership by establishing "lowest price, technically acceptable" as the default approach to the acquisition of IT assets.
The LPTA approach has its place and can work well for commoditized services with clearly defined, low-risk requirements — think facilities maintenance. But "technically acceptable" implies minimum performance expectations based on what we know has worked in the past and does little to keep up with new demands or evolving threats. In other words, LPTA encourages government and industry to settle for "good enough" just to hit a price point.
And when it comes to the acquisition of new technology solutions and services, the LPTA approach offers short-term savings at the expense of long-term mission effectiveness. It hurts the business of government because technically acceptable does not anticipate the needs and threats of tomorrow — or provide for the technology and systems to address them. As the fiscal pressures intensify, it is essential that we reach new levels of performance and efficiency for the short and long term alike.
The time is right to get more from our acquisition approach by changing from "lowest price, technically acceptable" to "lowest price, functionally better" (LPFB). Read Full Article.

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Sep 20, 2012

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!

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Aug 28, 2012

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.

Procurement leaders also bid more, submitting an average of 18.9 prime bids and 5.6 subcontracting bids over the past three years, which is 83 percent and 37 percent more than all active contractors. Though they bid more, procurement leaders appear to bid “smarter,” said survey research research advisor Julie Weeks. “The bidding activity did not go up as fast as the success rate did, so that shows you’re not getting more success by throwing more proposals,” Weeks said. Instead, procurement leaders often only bid when they believe they will be likely to succeed.
Though only a minority of businesses surveyed hired outside consultants to research and apply for contracts, those that did found it very helpful, Weeks said. Procurement leaders were more likely than the average contractor to be in the goods-producing, professional/scientific/technical services or information industries, and slightly more likely to be located in the D.C., Maryland or Virginia areas. But it was the manner in which they pursued contracts that tended to be the bigger predictor of contracting success rate than industry or location, Weeks said. When asked what tips they had for less experienced firms, procurement leaders often suggested getting on a General Services Administration schedule, which is a kind of preapproved bidders’ list. But there are other paths to success as well. Amber Peebles, president of Dumfries, Va.-based Athena Construction Group started pursuing federal construction contracts in 2008, but did not pursue the GSA schedule because she didn’t feel the schedule would be helpful for her industry, construction.
The former Marine sought contracts through government set-asides for women-owned businesses and businesses owned by the service-disabled veterans. Today, 90 percent of Athena’s revenue comes from federal contracts — instead of bidding through the GSA, Peebles has instead developed contacts in individual government agencies.
Prior to 2008, Athena was focused on residential construction. Peebles was anxious to move from commercial to federal construction because she found the commercial sector to be sexist, and it was “difficult for women to succeed” in residential construction. Though the procurement process can sometimes be stressful, she said she “felt like there was a more level playing field in the government.”
Peebles emphasized that procuring prime contracts — instead of only subcontracts — helps small businesses gain credibility, though initially subcontracting helped her company “get our foot through the door.”
But for Peebles, the most important factor in procuring a federal contract is persistence. “Keep calling, and keep trying,” she advised. The AmEx study was based on 740 small businesses between August and November of 2011. Reference Article.



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Nov 17, 2011

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.

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Sep 2, 2011

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:

Cooperative Purchasing
1122 Program
Disaster Recovery Purchasing
Public Health Emergencies

Date/Time: SEP 8, 2011 - 1:00pm EST

1. Simply click on 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 Click here to register online.


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Dec 8, 2010

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.


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Sep 3, 2010

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.

·         The protest will not ruin your relationship with the customer
·         You have consulted with a protest lawyer and there is a protest able flaw in the procurement
o   There is good chance the award will be overturned and you will be given the award
o   There is a good chance you will win the re-procurement
·         You are the incumbent
·         You are protesting a multiple award IDIQ contract where the task order customer is removed from the IDIQ decision makers
Do Not Protest
·         The protest may ruin your relationship with the customer
·         You have no money for the legal fees and it may cause you to spend too much money
·         You will only achieve a re-procurement
·         You can show your concerns in a positive way and then back away from a formal protest
·         You do not want to take the focus away from your company winning new business in the future
Make sure you have your facts straight before making any decisions about protesting. The best advice is to speak with a protest lawyer before talking with the customer or speaking publicly.
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