BEYOND CATEGORY MANAGEMENT: WHAT ELSE DOES ANNE RUNG WANT TO DO AT OFPP?
By now, everyone has heard of OFPP’s Category Management program. Like a radio “one hit wonder” people are asking “what else have you got?”. For Anne Rung, the “what else” are three issues. Some will have some definite support from industry, while others may encounter opposition. First up, Rung wants to use OMB’s review process to block the creation of one or more new IDIQ contracts. That’s welcome news for companies who spend a lot of time chasing “what if” vehicles instead of actual business. Next up, though, is promotion of “Buyers Club” programs in various agencies. HHS has a good club that is innovative and has been well-received by industry as it’s focused on more than just low price outcomes. While well-intended, it is unclear how OFPP’s promotion of “me too” buyer’s club solutions fits with the over-arching theme of streamlined solutions. The third priority may be somewhat more controversial with industry: buying direct from software manufacturers. Spurred by the passage of FITARA, which has similar language, Rung would like to eliminate software re-sellers from the acquisition process. The theory is that this will drive lower prices. The government already has the Smart Buy program, though, which seems to work well. Also, software manufacturers have previously resisted efforts to sell direct since that’s not how they’ve traditionally conducted commercial business. If they’re still opposed to direct sales, requiring them to set up new business methods just for the government may not drive hoped for savings.
All in all, however, Anne Rung is bringing positive energy and new ideas to OFPP. She’s open to listening to all points of view and has shown that she will work with invested stakeholders. Whether or not industry agrees with all of her ideas, it’s good to see someone with her drive trying to make federal acquisition better.