In tough times, contractors turn to creative marketing campaigns

September 17, 2014 by

In the best of times, selling to the government is not an easy task. In the worst of times, it’s even harder.

As federal budgets shrink and competition intensifies, contractors are battling it out not only for dollars, but also for the attention of their government customers.

That’s sparked a slew of creative marketing campaigns over the past couple of years, featuring virtual conferences, 3-D animation, apps, e-books and the increased use of social media. These are not necessarily groundbreaking ideas in the Internet age, but for the world of government contracting, they mark a shift from the old way of doing business.

Traditionally, contractors set up booths at trade shows to interact with government officials and keep them in the loop about new products or technologies. In fact, that was the dominant method of communication between industry and government up until a few years ago.

But as budget constraints have drastically cut down the number of events that federal workers attend, companies have had to come up with alternate ways to reach them, marketing professionals said.

The share of federal workers who didn’t go to a single trade show, conference or industry event has risen every year for the past four years,according to a study by Chantilly-based research firm Market Connections.  Fifty-two percent of workers surveyed said they didn’t physically attend any events in 2013, up from 38 percent in 2011.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-business/wp/2014/08/30/in-tough-times-contractors-turn-to-creative-marketing-campaigns/

Defense department’s ‘sources sought’ for IT services underscores importance of an effective capabilities statement

September 16, 2014 by

Market research undertaken last week by a unit of the Department of Defense places significant importance on small businesses having a written capabilities statement.

In fact, as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) puts it, It is vitally important that Small Businesses responding to this Sources Sought Notice do so with highly effective Capability Statements.”

The call for submittal of capabilities statements comes in DISA’s posting of a sources sought notice on FedBizOpps on September 11, 2014.  The purpose of the sources sought is to determine the availability and technical capability of small businesses to provide a wide range of information technology services to the U.S. Cyber Command, including assistance for offensive and defensive cyber operations.

The sources sought notice is a precursor to an anticipated indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity IT contract which will be open only to small businesses.  Small businesses are being sought to provide support for cyber planning, training knowledge, records management, science and technology research and development, and more than 30 cyber exercises a year.

The small businesses that DISA is seeking to identify include Small Disadvantaged Businesses, HUBZone Firms; Certified 8(a), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, and Woman Owned Small Business.

The primary place of performance will be at USCYBERCOM Government facilities within the Ft. George G. Meade, MD local area. Local area is any facility within a 50 mile radius of Ft. Meade, Maryland.

Responses to the sources sough are due not later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on September 29, 2014.

DISA’s sources sought notice may be seen at: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=63a08d1386b0426debf21c53cd8572db&tab=core&_cview=0.

For background information on the “sources sought” process, read: http://gtpac.org/2010/09/what-is-a-sources-sought-heres-the-answer

For general information on putting together a capabilities statement, read: http://gtpac.org/2010/05/what-is-a-capabilities-statement-and-why-should-i-have-one/

Clients of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center may ask their assigned counselor for a sample capabilities statement as well as for a review of their capabilities statement before submitting it in response to any sources sought notice.

 

The complications of cost and pricing

September 9, 2014 by

One of the most controversial areas in government contracting surrounds cost and pricing: the means by which a contracting officer makes a “fair and reasonable” price determination. This can be expensive to bidders, especially if they are required to provide “certified cost and pricing data” and respond to Defense Contract Audit Agency or contracting officer questions. Recent inspector general reports have highlighted the problem.

Commercial companies don’t have similar requirements and aren’t structured for it. They maintain that creating such cost-accounting compliance would incur extra overhead costs, drive up prices, and hurt them competitively. Contractor concerns involve onerous government requirements, inapplicability, and potentially abandoning the government market.

Perhaps the biggest difference between government and commercial buying practices is symbolized in the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA). Its main intent is to ensure accuracy of a contractor’s costs before negotiating with the government and includes providing government access to all cost or pricing data the contractor used to develop its offer. If the cost rises and the bidder is found to have withheld any data, the government can get back the added costs.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140826/BLG06/308260017/The-complications-cost-pricing

A faster way for contractors to recover on claims

September 4, 2014 by

Filing claims against the government is not contractors’ preferred method of resolving problems on a federal project, but often contractors are left with little choice with federal procurement officials spread thin. For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not moved on a significant number of pending changes and refused to pay the contract balance because the Corps has assessed an equal amount in liquidated damages for delay. The delay was caused by a differing site condition, for which the contractor submitted a claim for time and money. After waiting 60 days, the Corps responded by stating that it will issue the contracting officer’s final decision in seven months. Meanwhile, the contractor continues to spend money trying to close out the project. 

How can contractors speed up the claims process, recover on favorable terms, and avoid throwing good money after bad on a multiyear dispute resolution process?   The answer: Unbundle your claims and file as many under $50,000 or $100,000 as possible to take advantage of the various board of contract appeals’ expedited or accelerated procedures. Then consolidate all expedited appeals and push aggressively toward a fast and cost-effective global resolution.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.foxrothschild.com/newspubs/newspubsArticle.aspx?id=15032395091

Here are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in August 2014

September 3, 2014 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?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) 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 August 2014 right here:  FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – AUGUST 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

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

Don’t get burned by this summer’s OFCCP enforcement

August 27, 2014 by

While federal contractors may have been looking forward to having a summer break from new affirmative action regulations and related enforcement activities, President Obama and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) have had other ideas.

Indeed, President Obama and the OFCCP have turned up the heat on federal contractors this summer by: (1) issuing a slew of new executive orders and other regulations that exponentially increase their compliance obligations, and (2) sending out a second wave of corporate scheduling announcement letters advising of future compliance audits.

Keep reading this article at: http://californiaemploymentlaw.foxrothschild.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2014/08/OFCCP_article.pdf

Get a contracting plan in place early

August 19, 2014 by

When contracting fails, there are several common reasons offered: the source selection and bid protest requirements; onerous acquisition regulations; an understaffed, poorly trained workforce. However, many contracting officers can relate to significant delays during the planning phase, particularly to difficulties obtaining an acquisition plan (AP).

Often it’s developed well after the contracting request for action. When this occurs, it places contract managers in the unenviable position of delaying RFP release, thus risking agency funding, but more importantly, jeopardizing mission success. The alternative is to jump into a contracting process with ambiguous goals or results. Thus, for all the debate about the effectiveness of government contracting, the success or failure of programs involving government contracting is actually determined very early, often unfortunately before the contracting officer’s involvement—that is, during acquisition planning.

Eyes glaze over when someone references the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and many are on record as wanting to modify, reduce, or even abolish it. However, the FAR’s Part 7 acquisition planning guidance provides a great roadmap to all the many considerations necessary before satisfying a government need via contract. The program office must take non-delegable responsibility to figure out what, why, when, where, and how they will obtain acquired resources to support their goals. This shouldn’t be another paperwork drill, completed by support contractors or the contracting officer and subsequently filed away. However, that sometimes is the case.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140814/BLG06/308140006/Get-contracting-plan-place-early

Contracting officer’s death didn’t waive claim requirement

August 12, 2014 by

A Contracting Officer’s death did not waive the requirement that a contractor file a claim with the agency before bringing its claim to federal court.

In a recent decision, the Court of Federal Claims held that a contractor was not entitled to forego the claim requirement because of the Contracting Officer’s death–even though the agency did not appoint a replacement.

The Court’s decision in Delaware Cornerstone Builders, Inc. v. United States, No. 10-588C (Fed. Cl. 2014) involved a contract between Delaware Cornerstone Builders, Inc. and the VA.  Under the contract, DCB was to replace a VA health care facility in Maryland.

The project reached substantial completion in June 2004.  In 2004, DCB and the Contracting Officer began discussions about additional payments DBC believed to be due and owing.  The parties never reached a resolution, and communications apparently ceased for a period of years.  In September 2006, the Contracting Officer died.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/claims-and-appeals/contracting-officers-death-didnt-waive-claim-requirement/

Large business’s unmet subcontracting goals result In “marginal” score

August 11, 2014 by

A large business was appropriately awarded a “Marginal” score for small business participation based on the large business’s history of failing to meet its small business subcontracting goals.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the procuring agency properly assigned the large business a low score based on the large business’s history of unmet subcontracting goals, even though the large business apparently pledged to subcontract a significant amount of work to small businesses under the solicitation in question.

The GAO’s decision in Cajun Constructors, Inc., B-409685 (July 15, 2014) involved an Army Corps of Engineers solicitation for the construction of a concrete-covered canal in Louisiana.  The solicitation was issued in an unrestricted basis.  Award was to be made to the offeror presenting the best value to the government, considering price and four non-price factors: past performance, technical approach, key personnel and project management plan, and small business participation plan.

Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/large-businesss-unmet-subcontracting-goals-result-in-marginal-score/ 

These are the Georgia firms who won federal contracts in July 2014

August 1, 2014 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?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) 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 July 2014 right here:  FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – JULY 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

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