5 things contractors need to know about ‘category management’

If you missed BGOV’s April 22, 2015 conversation with Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Administrator Anne Rung, you’ll have to wait to hear the punchline from her story about her first television appearance.

OFPPFor now you’ll have to make do with five key takeaways from the event at BGOV’s Washington office:

  • what buyers and sellers in the federal marketplace need to know about Rung’s new “category management” initiative,
  • her push for more pricing information from vendors, and
  • her plan to form innovative buyers’ clubs around government.

Keep reading this article at: http://about.bgov.com/nextedge/5-things-contractors-need-to-know-about-category-management/

Here are the Georgia businesses who won federal contracts in June 2015

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 Georgia federal contract award winners for June 2015 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – JUNE 2015

Georgia contract award winners who won federal contracts in the first three months of 2015 are listed below:

To see award winners in Calendar Year 2014, see: http://gtpac.org/2015/01/here-are-the-georgia-companies-who-won-federal-contracts-in-2014 

The procurement method that actually puts the incumbent at a disadvantage

Over the last year, particularly on federal contracts, I’ve been seeing the rise of a very disturbing procurement process. It’s “Brooks Act” compatible. It is a safe method for procurement professionals to use. And it actually puts the incumbent at a disadvantage. What is it?

The Air Force describes appropriate use of the LPTA acquisition method in this training slide.
The Air Force describes appropriate use of the LPTA acquisition method in this training slide.

It is called Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA for short).

Wait a minute, hasn’t this been around forever? Yes, it has. But, based on what I’m seeing, reading and hearing, the use of this procurement method has dramatically increased since 2013. And it’s now being used to procure everything from construction management, design, consulting, and even training services.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.helpeverybodyeveryday.com/proposal-development/2724-lowest-price-technically-acceptable

Read the Dept. of Defense memorandum on appropriate use of LPTA at: http://bbp.dau.mil/docs/Appropriate_Use_of_Lowest_Priced_Technically_Acceptable_Source_Selec_Process_Assoc_Con_Type.pdf

When government’s failure to issue final decision on a certified claim is a deemed denial

A recent decision from the United States Court of Federal Claims (COFC) sets forth the standard for when the government’s failure to make a decision on a certified claim will be considered a deemed denial. InRudolph and Sletten, Inc. v. U.S., the COFC clarified the Contract Disputes Act (CDA) timing requirement for the government to issue a decision on a certified claim.

Certification of a Contract ClaimIn Rudolph and Sletten, the contractor, Rudolph and Sletten (R&S), submitted a certified claim seeking a time extension and additional costs related to a contract for the construction of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center Replacement Headquarters and Laboratory in La Jolla, California. R&S originally submitted its certified claim on August 20, 2013. On October 21, 2013, the contracting officer advised R&S that, given the complexity of the claim, he would need additional time to issue a decision and advised that a decision would be made within nine months. R&S then requested that the contracting officer provide an explanation or work plan detailing the reason for the nine-month extension. The contracting officer provided R&S the explanation and stated that a decision would be made by July 15, 2014. On July 8, 2014, however, the contracting officer informed R&S that he would not reach a final decision on R&S’s first claim by July 15, 2014 as originally estimated, and that, instead, a final decision would be forthcoming on March 15, 2015. R&S then filed an action in the COFC on July 23, 2014. The government sought to dismiss the case before the COFC on the basis that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case, because no final decision had been issued by the contracting officer as required by the CDA. R&S argued that the contracting officer’s failure to issue a decision within the required time constituted a deemed denial.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=402296

Doing business with the government? What you should know about cybersecurity

Government contractors are in a difficult position when it comes to cybersecurity. Not only do they need to worry about cybersecurity issues that affect almost every company, but they also often house sensitive government data that can carry additional obligations.

cyber securityFurther, the very fact that they have access to this information, and their relationship to the U.S. government, makes them an attractive target for malicious efforts. Escalating these concerns, not only are contractors with sensitive information prime targets for standard hackers trying to prove their worth, but they are also in the cross-hairs for attacks sponsored by countries hostile to the United States or interested in obtaining technology otherwise prohibited to them.

The U.S. government recognizes this threat and has responded in two major ways. The first is to impose additional cybersecurity responsibilities on contractors who have access to sensitive data. While the goal of these additional obligations is to harden security to protect data, their parameters are not always apparent and can be easily misunderstood. Just identifying what a contractor is expected to do can be a challenge. The second element of the government’s approach is to assist in combating cyber attacks by offering to work with companies, including contractors, who find themselves victims. This help can be invaluable, especially for sophisticated and persistent state-sponsored cyber threats. It also raises additional issues, however, and many companies are justifiably suspicious of opening their information technology systems to the government.

In this Commentary, we highlight the aligned and competing priorities of the government and companies in this space. We discuss some of the main requirements imposed on contractors that go above and beyond those required of standard companies. We also delve into practical considerations for government contractors in this area and developing trends.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=402096

Make your teaming strategy central to your capture process

The questions thrown about the conference rooms and offices of government contractors around the Beltway and across the country are the same: What’s our proposal strategy? Our pricing strategy? What’s our staffing plan?

teamworkThese are the critical questions that small and large contractors should be asking themselves before the solicitation is even issued. Thinking about these questions before the solicitation is issued is the hallmark of effective capture and increases the company’s probability of winning the work.

But there’s one question that receives far too little attention given its complexity and centrality to business strategy for those in the government contracting market:

What’s our teaming strategy?

Keep reading this article at: http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2015/05/27/insights-skypek-new-teaming-partners.aspx

Ecolabeling could be a way to reach ‘green’ consumers

To differentiate your product or service as environmentally sound, you may want to obtain certification from an independent, third-party so that you can include their logo or “ecolabel” on your product’s label and other marketing materials. Ecolabeling is important way to market your product to green consumers.

"Ecolabels" identify overall, proven environmental preference of a product or service within a specific product/service category.  In contrast to "green" symbols, or claim statements developed by manufacturers and service providers, the most credible labels are based on life cycle considerations; they are awarded by an impartial third-party in relation to certain products or services that are independently determined to meet transparent environmental leadership criteria.
“Ecolabels” identify overall, proven environmental preference of a product or service within a specific product/service category. In contrast to “green” symbols, or claim statements developed by manufacturers and service providers, the most credible ecolabels are based on life-cycle considerations.  They are awarded by an impartial third-party in relation to certain products or services that are independently determined to meet transparent environmental leadership criteria.

Federal Ecolabeling and Certification Programs

  • USDA Organic: Organic certification verifies that your farm or handling facility complies with the USDA organic regulations and allows you to sell, label, and represent your products as organic.
  • USDA Biopreferred: This label is for biobased products. Biobased products are commercial or industrial products (other than food or feed) that are composed in whole, or in significant part, of biological products, renewable agricultural materials or forestry materials.
  • Energy Star: Products can earn the Energy Star label by meeting the energy efficiency requirements set forth in Energy Star product specifications.
  • Design for the Environment: The Design for the Environment label means that EPA scientists have evaluated every ingredient in the product to ensure it meets stringent criteria.
  • WaterSense: The WaterSense label allows consumers to recognize products and programs that save water without sacrificing performance or quality.
  • EPEAT: EPEAT uses comprehensive criteria for design, production, energy use and recycling. EPEAT currently covers computers and displays; imaging equipment and television standards are currently being implemented and server standard development will continue in 2013.
  • Other Federal Green Product Programs

Non-Governmental Ecolabeling Programs

Non-governmental ecolabeling programs vary widely in their scope and stringency. Before applying to a specific ecolabel program, research the label and ensure that you understand the terminology involved.

Source: https://www.sba.gov/content/green-certification-and-ecolabeling 

Alert: Government does not use social media or phone calls to solicit, review, or make awards

Recently the The General Service Administration’s Federal Service Desk has been receiving reports from the public that they have been contacted by persons representing themselves to be government officials claiming that in order to qualify for federal grant money they must first send the purported agent either personal information or money or both.

The imposters claim to be with the Community for Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) or a similarly named organization, and not the federally-run Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).

The government’s CFDA does not use social media or direct phone contact to solicit, review, or make awards.

If you are contacted this way, you are advised to pass all information to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (www.ic3.gov) and your local law enforcement authorities.  This can also be reported to the GSA Inspector General’s Fraud Line (800-424-5210), via e-mail fraudnet@gsaig.gov, or using the web form  at http://www.gsaig.gov/index.cfm/hotline/-hotline-form.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a full listing of all Federal programs available to State and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi- public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides a full listing of all Federal programs available to State and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi- public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.

The CFDA homepage now shows the following FAQ:

Q – “What should I do if I receive unsolicited contact from someone claiming to be a CFDA representative?”

A – “The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) program does not use social media or contact individuals by phone to solicit, review, or make awards. Additionally, no government staff will call or message you requesting money in order to be eligible for an award. Please report any information and documentation that you have related to this incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (www.ic3.gov) and your local law enforcement authorities.”

Here are the Georgia businesses who won federal contracts in May 2015

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 Georgia federal contract award winners for May 2015 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – MAY 2015

Georgia contract award winners who won federal contracts in the first three months of 2015 are listed below:

To see award winners in Calendar Year 2014, see: http://gtpac.org/2015/01/here-are-the-georgia-companies-who-won-federal-contracts-in-2014 

What are your odds of getting a security clearance?

Is it easy to get a security clearance? It depends on who you ask.

Among the uncleared population there sometimes is a misperception that anyone can get a clearance, based on the millions of clearance-holders out there. In 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper criticized the size of the cleared workforce in a memo that called for reducing the number of individuals with access to intelligence. Recently released figures show a 12 percent decline in the size of the cleared workforce.

Those who have gone through the security clearance process understand the significant headaches involved in both the initial background investigation as well as periodic reinvestigations. Obtaining a security clearance is no easy task, and not everyone who applies will be granted access.

To see a full-size infographic on the value of a security clearance, visit: http://www.clearancejobs.com/files/infographic.html.
To see a full-size infographic on the value of a security clearance, visit: http://www.clearancejobs.com/files/infographic.html.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2015/05/what-are-your-odds-getting-security-clearance/113362/