January 14, 2014 by cs
[Note: This article was written by Terry Verigan, vice president of CompuCure.]
Hurricane Katrina nearly killed CompuCure. In the wake of the storm, just three of us remained by Oct. 1, 2005, and the weeks ahead promised to be grim for our New Orleans-based IT services firm — what was left of it anyway. But we weren’t going to let that damn storm chase us away from our city.
By September 2013, eight long years after Katrina wiped out so many lives and businesses, CompuCure had rebounded sufficiently to make Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest growing businesses in America. With a talented staff of 30 delivering projects that had achieved national recognition for quality and value, it was tempting to think we’d made it to some sort of safe high ground, economically speaking. But by late September, our president and owner, Angelina Parker, faced another storm, this one political. The federal shutdown nearly took down the business again.
While we had become accustomed to the disruptions that stemmed from continuing resolutions — the stop-gap budgets lawmakers typically adopted while they continued to disagree over larger spending questions — those rarely impacted our work at federal sites. Employees would clock in while budgets were frozen and eventually CompuCure would be reimbursed. Our line of credit was more than sufficient to carry on. Interest charges eat away at profitability, but we could keep going, knowing that our people and their families felt secure. Our most valuable resources, our employees, would still be on the job.
But the shutdown was different. It meant lost revenue to CompuCure, not just a delay in getting invoices paid. Disturbing questions emerged, notably: How would we keep our talented employees from moving to other companies less dependent on federal contracts?
November 15, 2013 by cs
You didn’t hear much about them during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but DARPA, small businesses, and universities were the people who most impressed retired Gen. Hoss Cartwright when he was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as he and the services scrambled to find weapons to give American troops a combat edge.
“DARPA was incredible to our ability to gain advantage. Small businesses and universities were hotbeds of innovation for us,” Cartwright said during a panel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on lessons learned from the last dozen years of war. He made no mention of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, or BAE Systems — or any of the other large defense companies.
What made them special? “Their willingness to take risks… made a huge difference and saved countless lives on the battlefield,” Cartwright said. And he said that in Afghanistan and (previously) Iraq, “[the] battlefield is not driven by platforms” — tanks, ships, planes — which take so long to design, build, and deploy.
Another avenue of innovation at the Pentagon sprang from the acquisition processes of Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which has the right to just buy things in small quantities if it really needs them.
Keep reading this article at: http://breakingdefense.com/2013/11/dod-acquisition-heroes-during-iraq-afghanistan-small-biz-and-darpa/
September 16, 2013 by cs
A new crop of solicitations has been posted in the past few weeks to the government’s startup website for simplified government contracting RFP-EZ.
There were 15 solicitations on RFP-EZ Monday afternoon, including one for a new mobile application to help the U.S. Marine Corps communicate with marines and recruits and one for a new health promotion Web tool for the Health and Human Services Department.
That’s more than double the six solicitations posted to the site early this year in a first-round beta test.
January 15, 2013 by cs
The Obama administration plans to help small businesses access new markets quicker by giving them better access to technology developed in federal laboratories, as well as by expanding grant programs.
As part of its recently updated small business cross agency priority framework, the administration says it wants agencies to take steps to streamline the process for private-public research partnerships so that startups can access research and development grants 50 percent faster.
Keep reading this article at: White House to expand small business access to federal innovation, grants – FierceGovernment http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/white-house-expands-small-business-access-federal-innovation-grants/2013-01-08#ixzz2Hb2FbXP6
December 3, 2012 by cs
May 24, 2012 by cs
The Obama administration still holds out hope of avoiding the across-the-board budget cuts required under the 2011 Budget Control Act, but it is nonetheless instructing federal agencies to begin preparing their fiscal 2014 budget requests assuming a 5 percent cut in discretionary spending.
Acting Budget Director Jeffrey Zients in a memo to agency heads on Friday said the coming spending plan will build on the Budget Control Act and the fiscal 2013 document’s framework, and hence “must continue to cut lower-priority spending in order to create room for the most effective investments in areas critical to economic growth and job creation, including education, innovation, infrastructure, and research and development.”
Keep reading this article at http://www.govexec.com//management/2012/05/agencies-told-assume-worst-budget-requests/55865/?oref=govexec_today_nl.
May 22, 2012 by cs
The Georgia Institute of Technology is presenting a one-day workshop on the development of a sustainable domestic industrial base for lightweight, energy-efficient systems. The workshop will bring together acquisition leaders from the U.S. Government, academia, and industry that have common interests in supply chain analysis and advancing the availability of domestic sources for lightweight material solutions for Government systems.
Senior leadership and staff representing the interagency Defense Production Act Committee (DPAC) have been invited to participate. The DPAC is a Congressionally-established body comprised of 17 Department and Agency heads who advise the President on ensuring the U.S. industrial base can meet essential government needs. Proceedings of the workshop will help advance the analysis of a new DPAC effort dedicated to lightweight materials.
The availability of advanced lightweight materials is a cross-cutting requirement that is crucial to improving the performance of many systems in areas such as energy-efficiency and performance. This technology has applications to current systems, such as automotive and aircraft light-weighting, while also acting as an enabler for innovative platforms, such as alternative energy sources. However, some of the resources for stronger, lighter, and more energy efficient materials, originate outside of the U.S. The long-term robustness of those resources currently produced in the U.S. have not been systematically examined across the entire spectrum of the Federal programs. Should any of these suppliers fail to deliver key goods, the U.S. becomes strategically vulnerable.
The workshop’s primary goal is to ensure closer alignment and coordination among all stakeholders – Federal agencies, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s), suppliers, trade associations, technical societies, and academia – to achieve a robust industrial base for lightweight, energy-efficient materials. The following topics will be discussed:
1. The current limitations of conventional materials and the need for
2. Define the supply chain requirements for meeting lightweight,
high-performance, energy-efficient targets within Federal programs;
3. Identify underdeveloped industrial bases and examine why these
gaps/deficiencies exist; and
4. Advise DPAC on a way forward for the development of domestic
The conference will commence with keynote and guest speakers, followed by a panel comprised of representatives from academia, Government, and industry who will discuss the need for domestic sources of lightweight materials. Two breakout discussion sessions (in the morning and the afternoon) will occur:
1.) Technology Development & Transition
2.) Workforce Development
3.) Supply Chain Vulnerabilities
4.) Policy Gaps
4.) Emerging Materials
The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, June 5, from 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. in Georgia Tech’s Global Learning Center. A networking lunch will be served at 12:15 p.m. Poster sessions will also be held throughout the day.
Fees and Registration
Registration is $80.00 per person – Registration deadline: Thursday, May 31, 2012. The registration fee includes all workshop materials, conference presentations, refreshments, and the Luncheon on June 5. Workshop seating is limited to 125 participants, so please register early!
For more information and to register, please visit: www.marc.gatech.edu/events/dpac
April 6, 2012 by cs
Austerity is here, it’s real and it will be the rule of the road for several years. The president’s fiscal 2013 budget request for defense will likely be about $260 billion less, over the next five years, than the top line projections of just one year ago. The civilian agencies, many of which have been facing fiscal quagmires for several years as a result of a non-stop diet of continuing resolutions, also face real pressures today and further reductions for fiscal 2013, likely in the 3 percent to 5 percent range.
And if sequestration happens, the challenges will be that much more significant. What is not yet clear is what all of this means for both the effective functioning of government and, of course, for the industry that plays such a critical role in supporting it.
Recently, the Professional Services Council, along with the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Defense Industrial Association, submitted to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other top DOD leaders a report on the anticipated impacts of the defense spending reductions. They included job losses, reductions in company-funded research and development, investments in people, and the potential loss of key suppliers.
In addition, it is clear that, dosuring the next few years, an already highly competitive market will become even more competitive. With fewer contract opportunities, the number and range of competitors vying for those opportunities will be even greater than they are today.
While the fiscal environment is an unavoidable reality, there are a number of actions companies can and should take to help ameliorate at least some of those impacts. Indeed, these strategies and actions were prominent in discussions with the secretary of defense, the deputy secretary, and the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, following submission of our industrial base impacts report. These strategies also have applicability across the government.
Key among them is an intensified focus on performance—at all levels. This includes not only programmatic performance, which should always be the principal objective, but also a renewed focus on the financial side, such as fostering a proactive dialogue to help customers identify areas for cost savings—even if those savings might impact company revenue—and tightening company overhead as much as reasonably possible.
At the same time, the government customer must also think and act differently. Despite the budget reductions, the government will nonetheless be spending a huge amount of money through contracts for goods and services. To ensure that those expenditures deliver optimal benefits in both the short and long runs, it is crucial that the government, as the DOD and Office of Management and Budget leaders have said, focus on value and other meaningful value discriminators in the acquisition process. Indeed, DOD leadership has said that given the times, they will be focusing more intently than ever on those discriminators.
Unfortunately, the No. 1 issue identified by our member companies in our report was the government’s growing propensity to do just the opposite, even when buying complex services, including those that generate the kinds of innovation that lead to performance improvements and sustainable efficiencies.
Likewise, government teams must be open to eliminating non-value or limited-value contractual burdens. And the government must get away from its habit of using margins—too often arbitrarily set at unreasonably low levels—as a key cost savings tool. Margins should be linked to the complexity and risk associated with the work being done. Here too, a disconnect between the leadership’s objectives and the field’s implementation is clear and must be addressed.
For every company in the federal market, this must be a time of internal and external reassessment. The same is true for our government colleagues. There are some things that are well beyond either’s control. The key is to focus on those things that we can control and to turn an era of challenge into an era of innovation and opportunity.
About the Author: Stan Soloway is president and chief executive officer of the Professional Services Council. This article was published on Feb. 27, 2012 by Washington Technology at http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2012/01/30/insights-soloway.aspx.
March 22, 2012 by cs
Join Georgia Tech for the annual Lean Consortium event and learn about the evolution of lean from the factory floor to human development. This year’s seminar focuses on becoming more competitive by incorporating the Harada method into your organization through linking the development of people to your organization’s success.
Lean Consortium Event Details:
Respect for People
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (registration begins at 9:00 a.m.)
Location: Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway
Keynote Speaker: Norman Bodek
*If you have 5 or more from the same company, the group rate is $240 per seat. Contact Tim Israel to secure multiple seats at this rate.
The Harada Method: strengthening leaders to inspire employees to develop success goals and work out the detail plans necessary for attaining them
Understanding and Incorporating the human side of Lean
Turning managers into active coaches to build a winning team
Benefits of Attending:
Understand ways to grow employees to make your company more competitive
Learn to empower and involve employees in the improvement process
Discover ways to enhance communication throughout the organization
After 18 years working with Data Processing companies, Norman Bodek founded the publishing, consulting, and training firm PCS Press Inc., where he is working to broaden the implementation of lean from the production floor to the entire enterprise. He is an author of over 100 Japanese management books on tools for continuous improvement. Norman is an accomplished presenter, having led numerous seminars, conference sessions, and training events on many continuous improvement subjects. He is also co-founder of the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence.
January 11, 2012 by cs
- People: The skills and experience of the people involved in creating proposals.
- Business acquisition process: Business acquisition maturity covering the five stages of business acquisition lifecycle.
- Tools: Proposal infrastructure and personal and productivity tools.
- Management decision-making: Qualification and bid decisions.
- Solution competitiveness: Competitive solution with good features and customer benefits.
- Proposal quality: Quality proposals that are always compliant, responsive and compelling.
- Winning culture: Winning culture with good work/life balance.