ACQUISITION EXECS EXPLAIN PAIN FROM SHUTDOWN, PREDICT FRENETIC YEAR-END
The Department of Homeland Security has committed less than 30% of the total dollars spent in FY’18 so far in FY’19, according to Deputy Chief Procurement Officer Nina Ferraro. If the agency, as expected, is to commit at least the same amount of money this year, substantial work remains to be done in just a little over one-quarter of the fiscal year. This is just one of the impacts of the partial government shut-down, according to a panel of acquisition officials speaking at the recent Coalition for Government Procurement Spring Conference. Phil Cristy of the Department of Veterans Affairs echoed Ferraro’s comments saying that the year-end should be a “bumper crop” for IT, healthcare, professional service and construction spending. While this is mostly good news for contractors, it does mean that the opportunities for newer market entries or others seeking to build relationships may have a tough time getting face time with federal customers. Acquisition officials from all agencies, but especially those that were closed earlier in the year, will have to work full-time to get projects out the door. Ironically, communication with industry was an issue that came up during the shutdown itself as CO’s weren’t always sure what they could or should tell contractors about on-going projects. The status of some changed during the shutdown, adding to the confusion. Any time opportunities for communication are missed the potential for a more difficult or protracted procurement increases. Contractors and their customers should ensure that, no matter how fast-paced the environment becomes, they don’t lose sight of the importance of at least a quick talk.