Defense agency faulted for wrongful challenge to contractor

January 14, 2015 by

The Defense Contract Audit Agency’s decision to reject $6.6 million in a contractor’s claimed costs in fiscal 2008 did not comply with generally accepted government auditing standards, the Defense Department’s watchdog found.

The probe of a complaint received over the inspector general’s hotline substantiated a challenge to methods used by auditors in DCAA’s Central Region.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/12/defense-agency-faulted-wrongful-challenge-contractor/102063/

More free government contracting seminars and webinars planned for 2015

January 14, 2015 by

The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) has plenty of plans already made that are designed to assist Georgia businesses in the pursuit of winning government contracts.

For example, GTPAC has scheduled seven different webinars in the first few months of 2015 to help businesses understand topics as diverse as:

  • Understanding the GSA Schedule Process (Jan. 13th)
  • Introduction to Government Contracting (Feb. 11th)
  • Preparing Successful Bids and Proposals (Feb. 20th and April 9th)
  • The Woman Owned Small Business Program (Mar. 10th)
  • Subcontracting with Large Prime Contractors (Mar. 27th)
  • Selling to the Military (Apr. 24th)

In addition to webinars, GTPAC has scheduled 22 in-classroom seminars in the first quarter of 2015.  These sessions are being held in Atlanta, Warner Robins, Carrollton, Savannah, and Albany.

A complete list of seminar topics, locations, and dates can be found at: http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/Conferences.action.

Additional webinars and seminars are added to GTPAC’s training calendar frequently, so if you don’t see what interests you right now, be sure to check the calendar on a regular basis.

All GTPAC seminars are free of charge, but advance registration is required.  Simply hit the “Sign Up” button for the seminars of your choosing at http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/Conferences.action.

GTPAC-hosted Jan. 22 event to aid Georgia small businesses

January 13, 2015 by

On Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) will play host to six federal agencies holding an industry day forum directed at small businesses in Georgia.  NOTE: As of Jan. 16, 2015, this event is booked to capacity, and no further registrations are being accepted.

NCMA logoThe event is being sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) and the regional office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The event, billed as “Building Partnerships and Collaborating for Success, a Small Business Industry Day and Matchmaking Event,” is open to all businesses in the region who wish to learn more about doing business with  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the General Services Administration (GSA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

In addition to federal agencies, representatives of major prime contractors also are expected to be present, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, ICF International, RTI International, WYLE, Westat, Deloitte, and DB Consulting Group, Inc.

Businesses interested in participating in this event must preregister at: http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/ConferenceDetail.action?ID=7954.

More than 200 vendors are expected to attend.  Matchmaking events will be scheduled by vendors based on NAICS code requirements of government agencies and prime contractors. Details for the matchmaking aspect of the event will be promulgated separately to confirmed registrants.

All vendors participating in this event are expected to have the following completed prior to attending:  SAM and DSBS registration, business cards, an elevator speech, and a capability statement. See web link above for more information.

What you need to know about changes to the National Defense Authorization Act

January 13, 2015 by

President Obama recently signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2015, which provides new provisions that impact women-owned businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also proposed to amend regulations implementing provisions of the NDAA Act that will impact small business contractors.

Bottom line: If you’re a women-owned small business or a small business doing business with the government, the NDAA includes a number of provisions that impact you.

Highlights of the proposed revisions to the NDAA include:

  1. Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program:  Section 825 of the NDAA authorizes federal agencies to award sole-source contracts to women-owned small businesses eligible for SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Program, providing parity in the federal contracting marketplace to other small business categories.  For more on the proposed rules, see SBA’s recent press release.
  2. Subcontracting:  Section 1651 changes the way that performance is calculated on small and socioeconomic set-aside contracts, and authorizes similarly situated subcontractors to count towards the performance requirements. 
  3. Joint Ventures:  Section 1651 makes the performance requirements consistent, regardless of whether or not a small business chooses to joint venture or perform in a prime or subcontractor relationship.
  4. Non-Manufacturer Rule:  Section 1651 changes SBA’s non-manufacturer rule and affiliation rules, including the elimination of waiver requests for procurements below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) of $150,000.  The non-manufacturer rule allows a small business to offer a product, that it did not manufacture, under a small business set-aside if SBA has offered a waiver.  SBA defines affiliation as the ability to control. When the ability to control exists, even if it is not exercised, affiliation exists.

For updates on these proposed changes, visit the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov.

SBA proposed rule would let small businesses join together for single contract

January 12, 2015 by

The Small Business Administration issued a proposed rule that would let two or more small businesses join together to bid on single small business contracts, a Dec. 29, 2014 Federal Register notice says.

The proposed rule comes as part of an update in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that changed some provisions in the Small Business Act.

“SBA proposes to remove the restriction on the type of contract for which small businesses may joint venture without being affiliated for size determination purposes,” the proposed rule says.

SBA says it’s proposing the change because it would encourage more small business joint venturing and would help agencies meet goals for small business participation in federal contracting.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/sba-proposed-rule-would-let-small-businesses-join-together-single-contract/2015-01-08

Businesses, Pentagon agree this program doesn’t work — Congress saved it anyway

January 9, 2015 by

Over the past quarter century, the Defense Department has been testing a contracting program that was intended to help small businesses obtain a larger share of federal work. However, Pentagon officials and small business leaders say the initiative has not only failed to help small contractors, it’s actually hurt them.

In other words, neither those running the program nor those it was supposedly intended to help believe the program works. Thus, many expected the experiment to come to an end when its most recent congressional approval expires on Wednesday.

But that’s not happening.

In what critics are calling another victory for Washington’s massive contracting darlings at the expense of small businesses, Congress has approved legislation extending the contracting initiative, called the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP), for another three years. It’s the eighth time the program has been revived.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/businesses-pentagon-agree-this-program-doesnt-work-congress-saved-it-anyway/2014/12/30/80d72aa0-9066-11e4-ba53-a477d66580ed_story.html

For government contractors, 2015 is in full swing

January 8, 2015 by

Contractors with their eyes on hot-button issues such as cybersecurity legislation, information technology (IT) acquisition reform, and strategic sourcing policy have plenty to consider in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and a recent policy memorandum issued by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Administrator Anne Rung. Some key items to consider:

  • Cybersecurity: In 2015, the Department of Defense must issue rules requiring “operationally critical contractors” to report cyber incidents in their network and information systems.
  • IT Acquisition Reform: Under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), Chief Information Officers in Federal agencies will take key roles in the acquisition process, which could affect the nature of IT-related acquisitions for years to come.  FITARA also sharpens the Government’s FOCUS on strategic sourcing.
  • Strategic Sourcing and Category Management: In an initiative that complements strategic sourcing, OMB has established “category management” as a key Federal acquisition strategy, which will foster Government-wide purchasing of items, such as IT hardware and software, by one source instead of through multiple agencies.

For a broad array of contractors, those “operationally critical contractors” working with the DoD, providers of IT-related supplies and services, and those supplying “categories” of supplies throughout the Federal government, these changes will affect their daily operations and how they market and sell to their Federal customers in 2015 and beyond.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=362362

Here’s how to decide whether a GSA Schedule is right for you

January 6, 2015 by

As a business person pursuing government contracts, you may have heard about the benefits of having a GSA Schedule.  But you may not know what a Schedule contract involves — or whether it’s worth your while to pursue one.  This article presents you with the facts about a GSA Schedule, how to qualify, and the decisions you need to make.

 

Consider the Facts

Here are some facts to help make an informed decision.

First of all, “GSA” stands for the General Services Administration, a federal agency which awards, each year, about $50 billion in blanket contracts (known as “Schedules”) to hundreds of companies.  Eighty percent (80%) of Schedule contractors are small businesses who are successful at winning 36% of those sales.

The process to win a GSA Schedule contract begins with your preparation of a proposal.  This is a demanding task that can take several months to prepare.  Many businesses choose to hire a consultant to prepare their proposal, even though proposal preparation is actually something that just about anyone can do — if you are willing and able to follow detailed proposal preparation instructions.

Qualifying for a Schedule

Not every business qualifies for a GSA Schedule, so before preparing a proposal, you first should determine your eligibility. Here are the major requirements:

  • Your company must have at least two years’ experience in successful sale of the products and/or services you offer.
  • Your company and its corporate officers must have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.
  • You must make sure all your NAICS codes are accurate and reflect the type of services that you plan to offer on your GSA Schedule.
  • Your registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) must be active and up-to-date.
  • You must be willing to obtain a “digital certificate” (at a cost of about $119) so that GSA can authenticate your electronic signature and allow you to upload and access your proposal documents.
  • Your company must have adequate financial resources to perform a federal contract, or you must have the ability to obtain them.
Your Options

If you meet the requirements listed above, then it’s appropriate to chart a course of action.  Here are some things to consider:

  • If you decide to hire a consultant to help you navigate the proposal process, please proceed with caution.  You should be aware of the fact that no consultant can do 100 percent of the work for you.  In fact, it’s desirable that someone from your company actively participates in the GSA Schedule proposal process.  Your company representative will need to compile a lot of information to be included in the proposal and also needs to carve-out enough time to learn the process, develop a relationship with GSA’s contracting officials, and make strategic decisions about how and to which government agencies the eventual contract will be marketed.  A consultant can play a valuable role but, before hiring one, make sure you investigate their experience, ask about their track-record, and have a clear understanding of exactly what they will do for you and at what price.
  • Attending a GSA training session can help you better understand the GSA Schedule process.  The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) regularly offers a free webinar entitled “Understanding the GSA Schedule Process.”  Visit GTPAC’s training calendar at http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/Conferences.action to register for the next session.  GTPAC also has compiled a group of resources for companies seeking help with the Schedule process.  You can find these resources at: http://gtpac.org/gsa-schedule-resources.

Feel free to discuss your GSA Schedule needs and options with any GTPAC Counselor.  You can find our contact information at: http://gtpac.org/team-directory.

 

SBA announces new HUBZone designations effective Jan. 1, 2015

January 5, 2015 by

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced changes to the geographic HUBZone designations, effective January 1, 2015.

The SBA says the changes reflect several new data sources. These data sources include:

  • American Community Survey 2009-2013 five year estimates,
  • 2013 OMB metropolitan area delineations, and
  • 2015 lists of Difficult Development Areas and Qualified Census Tracts, released by HUD in October 2014.

The changes reflect:

  • eight newly qualified counties,
  • 47 counties that have been re-designated until January 2018,
  • 1,479 newly qualified census tracts, and
  • 1,319 census tracts that have been re-designated until January 2018.

All current HUBZone designated areas can be found by downloading this document: HUBZone Designations – effective 01.01.2015

Please note that these new changes have not been incorporated into SBA’s interactive HUBZone map yet.  SBA says it will make another announcement about revisions to the map when it is updated.

For more information about the HUBZone program, please see: https://www.sba.gov/content/understanding-hubzone-program

Here are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in 2014

January 2, 2015 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Federal Contract Award Winners in GeorgiaEach month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) compiles and publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download details on the award winners for December 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – DEC. 2014

A month-by-month breakdown of winners of federal contracts throughout 2014 may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses who won federal contracts in 2013, click here.