The Marine Corps gets straight to the point and you should too

For conferences, the Marine Corps Systems Command, Office of Small Business Programs hands out a small 16-page pamphlet. A small unassuming pamphlet entitled, Doing Business with the Marine Corps. The brochure has a page dedicated specifically to proposal writing titled, “Power up your proposal.” (Federal News Network August 2021)

Within the “Power up your proposal” page, you will find one of the most straightforward guides to proposal writing.

  1. “Read the solicitation in its entirety multiple times, read and understand the instructions to Offerors, and comply with all of them.”
  2. “Choose your competitions wisely. Target only those solicitations for products and services in your niche market so that you can increase your probability of success.”
  3. “Don’t submit quotes or proposals with teaming partners’ logos all over them.”
  4. “Do not use acronyms without spelling them out first! Do not assume that the proposal evaluators are familiar with a particular acronym unless the acronym was used within the solicitation. When in doubt, spell it out, and provide a definition and/or context for all acronyms.”
  5. “Constantly review your proposal for grammatical errors. Have different people from diverse backgrounds read your technical proposal for clarity, comprehension, consistency, and conciseness. It is important to submit a proposal that is completely free of errors.” (ibid)

All of the above may seem obvious, however, if overlooked, can mean the difference between having a proposal accepted or rejected.

Have questions or need assistance with your next response to a request for proposal? Give us a call.

 

MAS BPAs, are a good thing

When federal agencies need to place product or service orders, on a recurring basis, they often turn to Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA.).

A MAS BPA is an agreement established by an authorized ordering activity with a Schedule contractor to fill repeat demands for supplies or services, in accordance with FAR 8.405-3.  MAS BPAs and all succeeding orders have the same terms and conditions as the initial Schedule contract. MAS BPAs save the government time and money and give agencies control over their procurements. (GSA Interact August 18, 2021)

MAS BPA benefits:

  • Easier for agencies to fill recurrent needs
  • Efficient for agencies contracting for similar types of work
  • Savings in the form of volume discounts
  • Consistency within the terms and conditions of the BPA
  • Decreases in procurement costs, acquisition time, and administrative effort
  • Small business set-aside procedures assist the government in meeting socioeconomic goals (ibid)

MAS BPA features:

  • On-Ramps – allowing additional contractors as required or to refresh small business participation
  • Funding – funding is required only when an order is placed
  • Faster Ordering – more streamlined ordering process
  • Estimated Value – no minimums or caps
  • Agency Level Terms and Conditions – agencies may add terms and conditions as long as there is no conflict with the original MAS contract terms and conditions
  • Category Management – as outlined by the Office of Management and Budget, all MAS BPAs support category management (ibid)

As a mechanism for promoting fair competition, FAR 8.405.3(a)(3)(i) states a preference for multiple-award MAS BPAs. In addition, MAS BPAs may be extended past five years if necessary to meet program requirements. Some agencies have long-term MAS BPAs to meet agency missions. (ibid)

A single-award MAS BPA can not exceed one year, however, it may have four one-year options. The head of an agency approves all single-award BPAs exceeding $100M. In addition, Order Level Material (OLM) procedures are allowable at the BPA or order level to add contract support items, making MAS BPAs a win for government agencies and contractors. (ibid)

Questions about MAS BPAs or a GSA Schedule award? Give us a call.

 

Will the CARES Act become permanent?

In March of 2020, when the Coronovirus became a pandemic, Section 3610 of the CARES Act went into effect. This section of the CARES Act provides economic relief to contractors so that they can continue to pay their employees. Unless Congress extends Section 3610 of the CARES Act, it expires on September 30, 2021. (Washington Technology August 5, 2021)

The Professional Services Council (PSC) would like for Section 3610 to become permanent. PSC Executive Vice President David Broome feels Section 3610 should become permanent. He reasons this by looking at how several agencies have heavily relied on Section 3610 during the pandemic. GAO saw a combined $882.8 million in reimbursements from across the Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, and NASA. (ibid)

GAO staff interviewed 15 contractors and 12 agreed that Section 3610 “had a great or moderate effect on their ability to retain employees, in particular those with specialized skill or clearances.” (ibid)

According to Broome, “GAO makes the case for establishing a permanent stand-by authority that would be available when needed and in place when the next emergency happens – be it a pandemic, a cyberattack or natural disaster. Establishing this authority now would be a prudent step to implement one lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that the government and contractors are prepared for the next one.” (ibid)

Are you a contractor trying to take advantage of Section 3610 and not sure where to start? Give us a call.

 

With modernization comes small business opportunities

On July 29, the Senate passed the Promoting Rigorous and Innovative Cost Efficiencies for Federal Procurement and Acquisitions (PRICE) Act to modernize the federal acquisition process and expand contracting opportunities for small businesses. This legislation encourages the execution of innovative new systems and procedures while allowing small businesses to grow their businesses through federal contracts. (Federal Soup August 2, 2021)

The objective of the Price Act is to address long-standing obstacles facing small businesses attempting to contract with the federal government.  The Act goes so far as to require federal agencies to report on how they plan to improve mission outcomes and increase small business participation in government contracting. (ibid)

The PRICE Act passage directly follows a white house objective to direct $100 billion toward small disadvantaged businesses by expanding federal contracting opportunities. (ibid)

Are you a woman, minority, veteran-owned, or small disadvantaged business with contracting questions or experiencing hurdles that are hard to overcome? Give us a call.

 

 

Happy Birthday eBuy!

If you’ve not heard of eBuy it is the paperless request-for-quote (RFQ) system GSA put into place 20 years ago. It was set up to connect suppliers to the contracting process for various products and services. According to eBuy’s Senior Program Analyst Rich Carlson, “in 2001, this online program revolutionized how government connected buyers and sellers for contracting quotes. eBuy streamlined the process, allowing more suppliers, especially small businesses, to participate and connect in ways that they couldn’t before.”  (gsa.gov/blog June 25, 2021)

eBuy offers a single, user-friendly electronic platform with the appropriate supporting documentation and approved supplier oversight. eBuy provides the ability for federal clients, state and local governments to post RFQs, make changes in real-time, and connect buyers with suppliers to secure the best pricing and value for competitive quotes. Additionally, eBuy is available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (ibid)

eBuy gives clients the confidence that suppliers meet all FAR and acquisition regulations. Additionally, companies of all sizes find opportunities to bid on contracts, with these opportunities all on a centralized platform. Multiple types of RFQs have been added to eBuy such as blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), set-asides, and governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACS) for complex IT solutions. 2020 saw a complete redesign and refresh of functionality. (ibid)

When eBuy was created, 5 RFQs were launched on the site. 22 years later, more than $22 billion in awards have been contracted through eBuy with no slow down in sight. (ibid)

Questions about eBuy and how you can take advantage of it? Give us a call.