Archives for July 14

Jul 14, 2014

Of the many thousands of procurements solicited by the federal government each year, some receive more protests — disputes against the terms of a solicitation, proposed award or award of a contract — than others.
The top six opportunities with the most Government Accountability Office bid protests in fiscal 2014 were all partially or fully set aside for small businesses. They were also all task orders and valued at least $1 billion.  Read Full Article.

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Jul 15, 2014

Others (particularly the method of evaluation) are either unique to RFP procurement or of a greater order of magnitude in relation to an RFP.
One of the most important distinctions between an RFP and a tender relates to the kind of submissions that bidders are expected to make.
In a tender, the bidder completes a relatively simple form which requires price and other basic information. It may also be expected to provide a few additional documents (i.e., a bonding commitment) to confirm that it will be able to carry out the contract if awarded. Since this kind of information is usually readily available to any commercial supplier, or contractor, from the bidders perspective, a tender actually represents a relatively simplified and low cost method of seeking business, in comparison to the lengthy wooing efforts that are usually employed in private sector procurement.
With an RFP, there is a manifold increase in the burden imposed upon the supplier, and contractor in order to prepare and submit a proposal and thereby participate in the contract competition. For example, in relation to an RFP issued by the City of Kyle, Tex., in 2007, for the design and construction of a recreation facility, the bidders were required to submit proposals that satisfied specific content requirements. This proposal was required to include a conceptual site plan, study models, perspective sketches, electronic modeling or combinations of these media, touching upon relevant aspects of the City of Kyle Parks Master Plan, recommendations by staff, and citizen surveys as part of the overall layout and conceptual design of the facility, and assessing staff usage, operation and space relationship at the facility.
Any drawings prepared were required to be provided in AutoCad format as well as jpeg and PowerPoint. After the RFP submission deadline, and the evaluation of those proposals by the city, the RFP contemplated that a short-list of proponents would be selected and invited firms to participate in an interview by the city’s park board. Selected candidates would be expected to make a 15 to 30 minute presentation regarding their proposal and answer related questions, so that each interview would last approximately one hour.
Requirements of this kind are far from unusual in Canada. It is self evident that in order to accommodate the complex kinds of proposals that are submitted in response to an RFP, it is necessary to move a considerable distance from the rules that govern an ordinary request for tender.
In part because the RFP process is so demanding on suppliers, and contractors, and because it is no less demanding on municipal staff, one option that is often considered is to engage in some sort of pre-qualification exercise, in which a short-list of prospective suppliers is identified before the detailed work begins.
In such cases, the municipality’s bylaw needs to deal with whether the list of prospective suppliers should be limited to those who have pre-registered or pre-qualified; when (if ever) should pre-qualification be mandatory; how should the pre-qualification process be conducted; and what considerations are relevant.
Over the years pre-qualification is becoming more common with municipalities over a certain dollar amount. As I see it, contractors are finding it harder than ever to first pre-qualify for a large construction project, and then win the bid by having the best, or most qualified RFP response.
One small mistake and you are disqualified after spending so much time preparing the bid. Municipalities should try to make it easier, not harder for contractors to understand what the municipalities are looking for the in RFP scoring process. Reference Article.

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Jul 16, 2014

Wiehle-Reston East Ceremony and Open House on July 19 

One week before trains travel down the tracks on Metro's Silver Line, Fairfax County will host a ceremony and open house for the new Wiehle-Reston East transportation center.   
The public is invited to celebrate and explore this multi-modal facility on Saturday July 19 at 10 a.m. On the 19th, the garage at Wiehle-Reston East, which is located at 11389 Reston Station Boulevard, will be open for free parking if attending the ceremony, starting at 9 a.m. Enter from Wiehle Avenue to Reston Station Boulevard.
Following the ceremony, visitors may tour the facility and talk to representatives from Fairfax Connector, Metro, Dulles Rail Project, Loudoun County Transit, and others. The open house runs until 3 p.m.
Wiehle-Reston East is the only onsite parking garage at the five new Metro stations in Phase 1 of the Silver Line. It offers:
  • 2,300 public parking spaces
  • 45 "Kiss and Ride" spaces
  • 10 bus bays on the north side, 5 on the south
  • A secure locker room for over 200 bicycles.
It officially opens on July 26, the same day the Silver Line starts operating service from the Wiehle-Reston East rail station, located in the median of the Dulles Toll Road adjacent to the site.
The county owns the commuter garage, and Metro will collect parking fees. The same as other Metro garages in the county, the fees are:
The bike room is the first of its kind for Fairfax County. It can accommodate over 200 bikes, with both vertical and regular parking, and room for over-sized bikes or bikes with trailers. It features two fully-equipped "fix-it" stations with pumps and tools, and a work bench where bike repairs can be made. Additional bike parking is also available for non-members.  
The bus station at Wiehle-Reston East features 10 bus bays on the north side of the Toll Road, and five bus bays on the south side of the Toll Road.   In addition to Fairfax Connector service, Washington Flyer will operate its Silver Line Express from the north side, and Loudoun County Transit will operate bus service from the south side.  A Connector Store is located on the north side bus platform, where passengers can purchase fare media, speak to a customer service representative, and find maps, timetables and information.  
Because Wiehle-Reston East will open on July 26, the Sunset Hills Interim Park and Ride will permanently close at midnight, July 25, 2014.  The 600-space lot, located at the intersection of Sunset Hills Road and Town Center Parkway, offered temporary parking while Wiehle was under construction.
Starting July 26, Fairfax Connector will dramatically change its bus routes in order to serve the Silver Line. Connector will:
  • Launch 16 new routes
  • Change 28 existing routes
  • Eliminate five routes
These are the most significant changes in 20 years. Currently, there are 34 bus routes operating in the Dulles Corridor, carrying 18,000 passengers per weekday.
For more information about the ceremony, members of the media only may contact Beth Francis at 703-877-5602, TTY 711. Source: MWAA Newsletter

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Jul 24, 2014

conference is free and open to business leaders
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Congressman Bill Posey will host a Federal Contracting Conference at Florida Tech’s Denius Student Center in Melbourne August 4 - 5.
The event is a chance for government contractors to have one-on-one meetings with procurement representatives from Atlanta and Central Florida to explore new contracting opportunities. Read Full Article.

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Jul 24, 2014

Do federal strategic sourcing initiatives put price ahead of good business relationships -- and hurt both small businesses and the agencies seeking their services in the process?

"The strategic sourcing that Wal-Mart does builds long-term relationships with suppliers," said Emily Murphy, senior counsel of the House Committee on Small Business. The federal government's brand of strategic sourcing, however, has become "more about leveraging buying and limiting the number of companies that might be able to compete."
That emphasis on pricing in the government's growing strategic sourcing efforts can work to squeeze small businesses out of the running for government contracts, she said. Unclear regulations from the Small Business Administration concerning how smaller businesses can partner with larger ones to vie for large contracts add to the pressure.
"We need industry to point out that there could be long-term harm," Murphy said. Although strategic sourcing can produce savings as competitors vie for an initial contract, "those savings won't continue" as the initial incentive to get the lowest price tends to fade as contracts are locked in. Full Article.


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Jul 25, 2014
Perhaps it’s because the federal fiscal year wraps at the end of September, kicking off budget talks. Or perhaps it’s that they’re sick of talking about Iraq. Either way, defense officials are resounding the sequestration warning bells, pointing to everything from military readiness to the space race as vulnerable.
The two-year budget deal that essentially pushed off sequestration cuts until 2016 has led to a noticeable lull in conversation about the measure. It’s also caused some to regard the initial panic over sequestration to be much ado about nothing — even as agencies did report that they experienced some pain from it in 2013.  Reference Article.


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