“…as CM has transitioned from what began as a management technique into a procurement policy, there have been negative consequences for the supplier base and for the marketplace,” according to testimony last week from Alan Chvotkin of the Professional Services Council.  Chvotkin’s comments were part of a House Small Business hearing highlighting the negative impact on small businesses of OMB’s Category Management initiative.  While hearing witnesses said that the goal of reduced government spending is laudable, the concern is that the small business supplier base is being harmed.  Fewer contract vehicles mean fewer opportunities for small businesses to be prime contractors.  The impact is especially large given the fact that small firms typically do better when competing for business when on an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract than when selling against larger businesses on open market procurements.  Witnesses echoed industry concerns that Best-In-Class policies also hurt small firms.  “In its current form, the Best-in-Class acquisition process picks winners and losers without assuring full and fair competition, thereby locking out thousands of small businesses…” said Beth Laurie Strum testifying on behalf of the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce.  As we’ve said before, promoting best practices is one thing, but making specific vehicles mandatory often backfires.  The small business backlash is just example of this.  OMB would do well to remember this piece of classic (rock) poetry:  “Just hold on loosely/But don’t let go/If you cling too tightly/You’re gonna lose control.”