Why suppliers ‘No Bid’

November 13, 2013 by

The competitive bidding process is essential to ensure that products and services purchased by public procurement professionals on behalf of their agencies offer the best value and quality. But not all Requests for Proposal (RFPs) and/or Invitations for Bid (IFBs) are created equal. In theory, the bidding process is designed to result in responses from many potential suppliers. However, what if an RFP/IFB does not result in several qualified responses? If leading suppliers in the marketplace choose not to respond, what does that mean?

It’s unlikely suppliers didn’t know about the RFP/IFB or that they were “too busy” to respond. There’s a possibility some small local suppliers may not have the resources to know about potential bidding opportunities, but most regional, national and international companies monitor these opportunities closely.

Let’s look at some potential reasons why a supplier might opt to “No Bid.” The insights can help an agency strengthen its RFP/IFB practices and realize true best-value solutions.

Avoiding the Pitfalls

Here are some potential pitfalls of the RFP/IFB process that can cause a supplier to decide not to bid:

Keep reading this article at: http://americancityandcounty.com/government-procurement/why-suppliers-no-bid?

SAM.gov registration is free, and help with SAM is free, too

November 11, 2013 by

Businesses interested in Federal contracting must, as an initial step, register in the Government’s vendor database known as System for Award Management (SAM).   Registration at the official SAM web site — www.sam.gov – is free.

The good news is that SAM registration is something that any vendor can take care of by themselves.  And if any vendor needs instruction, help is readily available at no charge.

Here are three important tips:

    1. Don’t be confused by look-alike web sites.  There is only one SAM database, and it’s a secure web site operated by the Federal Government.  It’s located at https://www.sam.gov.  You also can navigate to SAM by simply typing sam.gov or www.sam.gov in your web browser.  Either of these variations will redirect to SAM’s secure web site.  The key thing to know is that the official Federal SAM website is a “.gov” website, not a commercial website, so SAM.com is not an option if you’re trying to navigate to a Government web site.
    2. There are helpful videos now available on-line to help you with the SAM registration process.  If your business previously had a file set-up in Central Contractor Registration (CCR), you’ll need to migrate your old vendor record over to SAM; for instruction on how to do this, view the instructional video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuFGM9H0gPI&feature=c4-overview&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.    If your business was never registered in CCR, then your starting point is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VPGVYPvch4&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.
    3. If you need advice on how to organize your records in order to register in SAM — or you need help with the SAM registration process itself – expert assistance is available free of charge to all vendors, small and large.  Just contact the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) nearest you.  PTACs have produced a SAM instructional video, too, and it’s available here:  https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=APTAC&WebCode=SAM.  A complete list of all PTACs across the nation is available at http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php.    In Georgia, you can contact any of the nine PTAC offices located across the state — all contact information can be found at: http://gtpac.org/team-directory.

Remember, SAM registration is necessary if you want to do business with Federal agencies.  Remember, too, SAM registration is something you can tackle yourself.  There is never a charge to register at sam.gov, and help with the SAM registration process is readily available, at no charge, from your nearest PTAC.

New reports reveal top federal contracts and small business set-asides

November 6, 2013 by

At the beginning of each federal fiscal year, Deltek, Inc. identifies and assesses the top federal contract opportunities for the coming year as well as the top contracts slated to be set-aside for small businesses.  Deltek is an enterprise software and information solutions provider for professional services firms, government contractors, and government agencies.

Deltek’s latest analysis reveals 20 high profile procurements with the following characteristics:

  • Defense Department contracts account for 73% of the total dollar value of the top 20 contracts.
  • New opportunities (six new programs) account for 19% of total contract value.
  • Professional Services contracts make-up $73.2 billion in contract value, but IT opportunities are larger, on average.

In addition, Deltek’s FY14 Top 10 Set-Aside Opportunities list exceeds $6.9 billion in total ceiling value available as prime contracting opportunities for small businesses.  Findings include:

  • Defense opportunities dominate the set-aside list with 71% of the total contract value, with Navy contract value the highest at $3.5 billion.
  • Contracts for professional services are the focus of almost half of the top FY 2014 set-asides, followed by IT, architecture, engineering and construction.

Download the complete reports by clicking on the following links:

Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2014

Top 10 Federal Set-Aside Opportunities for FY 2014

Also, see this related report from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/deltek-new-small-business-contracts-expected-in-early-2014/2013/10/18/5e7986b4-3285-11e3-9c68-1cf643210300_story.html

 

Here are the Georgia firms who won federal contracts in October 2013

November 4, 2013 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?

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 the award winners for October 2013 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – OCT. 2013

Copies of earlier reports are listed below:

VA sole decider in SDVOSB status protest decisions, rule says

October 21, 2013 by

The Veterans Affairs Department will decide status protests for all  service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and veteran-owned small  businesses and not cede that authority to the Small Business Administration, a  Sept. 31 interim rule says.

The rule doesn’t change the fact of self-certification for SDVOSB status by  companies bidding on contracts at agencies other than the VA.

The VA’s director of the Center for Veterans Enterprise will initially  adjudicate all SDVOSB and VOSB status protests, but those businesses can appeal  to the VA’s executive director of small and disadvantaged business utilization,  the rule says.

The VA says it considered reaching an interagency agreement with the SBA for it  to review and decide status protests, but determined that SDVOSB and VOSB status  protest adjudication should remain within VA.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/va-sole-decider-sdvosb-status-protest-decisions-rule-says/2013-10-16

See the new interim rule at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-30/html/2013-23759.htm

7 apps for government contractors

October 15, 2013 by

It is widely accepted that smartphones and tablets are vital business tools.   But are there any apps built just for Government contractors?   The answer is yes, and below you will find the best apps for companies active in Federal contracts.  The title of each app is hyperlinked to the place on the Internet where you can download it.

Hord

Quickly understanding the competitive world of federal contracting is hard.  Too much information in too many places makes for a frustrating and overwhelming experience.  Not anymore.  hōrd by GovTribe lets you easily subscribe to, or hōrd, the things you care about.  The combined activity of these things is delivered to your iPhone in real time, letting you quickly evaluate opportunities, competitors, COs, and more.

GovConTrack

GovConTrack provides the ability to easily search for government contracts and grants from your iPhone or iPad device. Data can be pulled directly from the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS-NG) using public data feeds, or from USASpending.gov. Network connection (WiFi, 3G, or Edge) required.

iFar

Now the entire Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) can be in the palm of your hand ready to email or reference. Completely searchable and indexed.

GovExec

Read what government executives read.  This mobile resource  features all the updates and tools to help you understand how Government works.

USA.gov

USA.gov is government made easy. USA.gov — the U.S. government’s official web portal — is now available as a free app for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. It allows you to search tens of millions of web pages from federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments and to contact your government by phone or email.

Per Diem

This app allows travelers to look up Federal government per diem rates by city/state and ZIP code in locations throughout the United States and its territories. (Per diem is the daily allowance for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses. These rates are established by the General Services Administration for destinations in the lower 48 contiguous United States, and by the U.S. Department of Defense for locations in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. territories. The U.S. Department of State sets rates for foreign travel locations.)

GSA Focus

This web app keeps you up-to-date on the General Services Administration, with news topics, compliance, and other information. There are YouTube videos and descriptions of GSA’s programs and services.

SAM.gov registration is free, and SAM help is available at no charge, too

October 8, 2013 by

Businesses interested in Federal contracting must, as an initial step, register in the Government’s database known as System for Award Management (SAM).   Registration at the official SAM site — www.sam.gov — is free.

SAM replaced another database — Central Contractor Registration (CCR) — with which many people inside and outside of Government were familiar.  SAM is a better technology solution because it actually consolidates what once were several stove-pipe, stand-alone databases.  Because of the migration of records from CCR to SAM last year, all vendors now must re-validate and update their records.  And vendors new to the Government sector must establish a vendor record in SAM for the first time.

The good news is that SAM registration is something that any vendor can master by themselves.  And if any vendor needs instruction, help is readily available free of charge.  Here are three important tips:

    1. Don’t be confused by look-alike websites.  There is only one SAM database, and it’s a secure website operated by the Federal Government.  It’s located at https://www.sam.gov.  You also can navigate to SAM by simply typing sam.gov or www.sam.gov in your web browser.  Either of these variations will redirect to the secure site.  The key thing to know is that the official Federal SAM website is a “.gov” website, not a commercial website, so SAM.com is not an option if you’re trying to navigate to a Government website.
    2. There are helpful videos now available on-line to help you with the SAM registration process.  If you need to migrate an old CCR record over to SAM, you can view the instructional video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuFGM9H0gPI&feature=c4-overview&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.    If your business was never registered in CCR, then your starting point is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VPGVYPvch4&list=UUGYKiouhiBpijT51CplQZ-w.
    3. If you need advice on how to organize your records in order to register in SAM — or you need help with the SAM registration process itself — expert assistance is available free of charge to all vendors, small and large.  Just contact the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) nearest you.  PTACs have produced a SAM instructional video, too, and it’s available here:  https://netforum.avectra.com/eWeb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=APTAC&WebCode=SAM.  A complete list of all PTACs across the nation is available at http://www.aptac-us.org/new/Govt_Contracting/find.php.    In Georgia, you can contact any of the nine PTAC offices located across the state — all contact information can be found at: http://gtpac.org/team-directory.

Remember, SAM registration is necessary if you want to do business with Federal agencies.  Remember, too, SAM registration is something you can tackle yourself.  There is never a charge to register at sam.gov, and help with the SAM registration process is readily available, at no charge, from your nearest PTAC.

‘10,000 Small Businesses’ program now offered nationwide

October 7, 2013 by

Goldman Sachs has announced that its 10,000 Small Businesses initiative will now be offered to small businesses nationally, enabling small business owners from across the country to participate in the program. Small business owners in all 50 states can now apply to 10,000 Small Businesses, and accepted small business owners will receive intensive training and advice from business experts and peers at Babson College in Massachusetts.  To date, the program had been open to businesses in 15 markets across the United States.

10,000 Small Businesses offers qualified business owners:

  • The opportunity to create a customized growth plan that includes financial management, people management, negotiations and marketing.
  • One-on-one business counseling and a network of support from other small business owners as well as leaders in the business world.

The national program will be delivered through two, four-day sessions held at Babson College, the leading entrepreneurial school in the country for the last 17 years according to U.S. News and World Report, and 8 hours of coursework and interactive sessions per week delivered online for a total of 10 weeks. The costs will be covered by 10,000 Small Businesses.

“When you give small businesses owners the tools they need to grow their businesses, they create jobs and strengthen both the local and national economy,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. “We are pleased to be able to expand the reach of this program to help small businesses grow in every community in the country.”

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million program that aims to unlock the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, financial capital and business support services. The program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to this combination of education, capital and support services best addresses barriers to growth for small businesses.  10,000 Small Businesses is guided by an Advisory Council co-chaired by Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, Warren Buffett, and Dr. Michael Porter of Harvard Business School. The National Urban League, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Babson College are also represented on the Advisory Council, among other groups.

“Babson is proud to extend the innovative entrepreneurship curriculum we designed for 10,000 Small Businesses to small businesses across the country,” said Babson President Kerry Healey. “The model we have created brings together Babson’s unique methodology, our experience working around the world with people growing businesses and our knowledge of how best to deliver effective blended learning programs. This educational experience is tailor-made for small businesses seeking to grow and create much needed jobs.”

The program is designed for small business owners with limited resources who have a business poised for growth. Business owners interested in applying must demonstrate a commitment to growing their business and creating jobs in their community. Businesses must be in operation for at least two years, have revenues of at least $150,000 in the most recent fiscal year and have a minimum of four employees.

Across the United States, initial results have seen that just six months after graduation approximately 63% of participants reported an increase in revenues, 47% have reported creating net new jobs and 76% are doing business with each other. The program also has a 99% completion rate.

Identification and selection of qualified businesses is led by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC).

“The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program provides the training, tools, and relationships to help local entrepreneurs and their businesses grow and create a self-reinforcing cycle of economic opportunity,” said Michael E. Porter, founder of ICIC and Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School.

The program currently offers education and capital in nine sites including Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Business owners based in, or near, one of these cities may be referred to the local program. Capital is also provided by local nonprofit lenders to businesses in six additional sites: Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

Applications to participate in 10,000 Small Businesses at Babson College are due October 18, 2013 and can be found at http://www.10ksbapply.com/.

Here are the Georgia firms who won federal contracts in September 2013

October 2, 2013 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?

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 the award winners for September 2013 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA -SEPT. 2013

Copies of earlier reports are listed below:

How to manage a Federal contract during the Government shutdown

October 2, 2013 by

In the wake of the Government’s October 1, 2013 shutdown, clients of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) have been asking our counselors a lot of questions about the implications.  Here is a summary of the advice we are giving:

  • Generally, if you are competing for a Federal contract, everything is on hold.  Watch FedBizOpps (www.fbo.gov) where a majority of Federal solicitations are posted to see updates on the status of anything you are bidding on, or have bid on recently.  Don’t expect up-to-the-minute information since so many Federal employees are on furlough, but that’s the best place to check on the status of most Federal procurements.  If you discover that the procurement official assigned to managing the solicitation in which you are interested is not on furlough, an inquiry by email is permissible.  Be patient in waiting for a reply — remember that literally hundreds of thousands of Federal employees are on furlough status at the moment.
  • Some procurements, related to essential Government functions, are proceeding with minimal disruption, but expect delays.
  • If you have an active Federal contract, it is imperative that you comply with all contractual terms and conditions, and that accurate records of shutdown-related impacts be maintained.  Knowing the terms and conditions of your contract inside-out will pay-off right now.  Be sure to read the rest of this article for tips on managing an active Federal contract.

Specific contractual actions to protect your company’s interest will vary by contract type and contract terms.  All have to do with the specific provisions contained in your contract.   Some things to consider include:

Cost-Type/Fixed Price-Type (incrementally funded) Contracts

  • Ensure compliance with the notification requirements of the “Limitation of Cost” or “Limitation of Funds” provision of the contract (cost-type contracts).
  • Develop plans to minimize the impact to the customer (the end-user within the Government) and your firm (i.e., curtail non-essential program elements to stretch program funding) and request a Stop Work be issued by the Government’s Procurement Contracting Officer (PCO or just CO) for the non-essential elements.
  • If a Stop Work is not issued, notify the PCO/CO of potential delays under “Government Delay” and/or “Excusable Delay” provisions. (fixed price-type contracts).
  • Provide direction to your supplier base consistent with the PCO/CO’s direction.
  • Ensure Government payments reflect any adjustments due you under “Prompt Payment” provisions.
  • Segregate costs as documentation for a potential delay and disruption under the Request for Equitable Adjustment (REA) provision of your contact.

Fixed-Price Type Contracts (fully funded)

  • The Government shutdown does not have an immediate impact on contract performance but, over time, the unavailability of Government inspectors or support could lead to delays and disruptions and should be documented for future Request for Equitable Adjustment (REA) consideration.
  • Ensure Government payments reflect any adjustments due you under “Prompt Payment” provisions.

Other Items to Consider

  • Proposals and unexercised options could expire during an extended shutdown period.  If it is in the best interest of your firm, a non-solicited proposal extension/option exercise date extension could be provided to the Government.
  • The Government may not be able to provide inspectors (e.g., Defense Contract Management Agency) under a shutdown and delay, so disruption impacts should be captured and documented for a future Request for Equitable Adjustment (REA).
  • The Anti-Deficiency Act (ADA) does not allow the government to spend money that is not obligated, therefore and firms should be leery of      non-warranted individuals requesting you to work and get paid later; e.g., contracting officer representatives (CORs) or other Government officials.  Only COs and PCOs can make binding commitments.
  • Be mindful of mission creep, where the Government requests you to perform additional contract tasks due to Government personnel unavailability.
  • The Government shutdown potentially impacts to your rates and long-range plans based on prolonged funding gaps and/or stop work orders, so alert your accounting staff to document all impacts of the shutdown.

As always, feel free to contact a GTPAC procurement counselor if you have questions or need guidance.  All contact information is posted at: http://gtpac.org/team-directory.