MAIL BAG: THE TIME TO PLAN FOR THE RECOMPETE IS EARLIER THAN YOU THINK:
Alert reader T. Woods of Florida writes, “I’ve been focusing on re-competing lately. Some of my colleagues insist that I am planning too far out on a project we have that doesn’t expire for over a year. I think that waiting till the last two months doesn’t give us enough time. Who’s right?” Great question, T. You, indeed, are absolutely right. Way too often incumbent contractors get a sense of complacency and assume that they will win a re-competed project. As such, they do little work with current customers to ensure satisfaction, or even check on the acquisition strategy that will be used for the new project. This can lead to a rude surprise if the CO decides to make the project a set-aside and you’re not small. Planning at least one year out is a definite best practice. Initiate discussions with both the end user and acquisition staff. What are their thoughts? Is the customer truly happy with your performance, or are there things you need to improve upon in the coming months to better your chances of staying on? Companies should also suggest scope and acquisition strategies that make sense given the current and anticipated needs of the customer. Waiting until the RFQ is scheduled gives you no time to react to unpleasant surprises. Make sure you work with your customer early to master any transition.