Government contractors spend considerable
funds on market research to determine how much government agencies buy of what
they sell, who buys it, and how they buy it.
This is a standard commercial market practice and one that can help contractors
be more efficient in their business development efforts. Unfortunately, the area of discerning
government spending in many areas is much more “art” than “science”. The most frequently used database, the
Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), will provide one set of results, while
private sector organizations based on that information will provide
others. Run a comparison of GSA Schedule
sales via their Schedule Sales Query and match that against FPDS numbers for
the same search parameters and you’ll get different numbers as well. Despite federal efforts at improving
spend analysis, the fact is that there is no exact data on many items and
services that the government buys. Some of this is the result of the “human
factor” where contracting officers must log in acquisition information to a
FPDS or a specific agency system. CO’s
are not known for having a lack of work to do and its easy for them, as it is
for anyone else, to make errors or skip over some data fields. This can cause frustration among
contractors. Many experienced
companies have, in fact, developed their own programs for analyzing and
determining government spend in the market segments in which they do business. These numbers may be the most accurate
as there is a strong business motive to be as specific and detailed as
possible. Not all businesses, though,
can afford to create their own data.
Until technology catches up with acquisition, many companies will have
to make do with what’s publicly available.
This can be difficult for senior corporate management to understand, but
to use one of our favorite quotes, “this is the business we’ve chosen”.
Alert reader A. Grande of Petoskey, MI writes, “During our company’s
recent move, I found a document titled, “GSA Schedule Compliance Manual –
1998”. I’d never seen it before, even
though we’ve had a Schedule for years.
Should I update it, or just buy it a drink since its over 21?” Very funny, A., but outdated compliance
manuals are no laughing matter. Indeed,
any auditor would take it as a sign that your company isn’t serious about
following the terms and conditions of your contract. Compliance manuals and processes only work if
they’re followed, trained to, and maintained.
Both rules and your workforce change over time. Training needs to be consistent, part of the
on-boarding process for every new hire and annually for your team. Many contractors also have an annual review
process in place to catch potential issues before they become problems and
update any written policies that need it.
Current compliance manuals and training aren’t a 100% guarantee that
your company won’t run into a compliance issue.
Like a flu shot, though, they do reduce the chances that you will get
sick and, if you do, that the case will be milder. Not getting a shot, or keeping your
compliance program up to date, can make you sicker and cost your company plenty
in terms of fines and lost productivity.
Whether a good compliance program will make you feel like the “King of
Staten Island” is problematic, but it is definitely a best practice to reduce
risk and cost.
Allen Federal has experience with all of
these virtual meeting formats – and more! We can train your virtual workforce no matter
where they are. While the
government has relaxed requirements in some areas, compliance isn’t one of them,
so its important that your team get its annual training hours in. Better still: Reduced rates are available since we don’t
have to physically travel to your location!
Contact us today to see what we can do for your team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Federal agencies spent more on products
and services in FY’19 than in any other year in the past five, according to
data sited by the Federal News Network. Multiple award contracts continued to be an
important channel through which that spending was conducted. Bloomberg Government reports that nearly one
in four dollars were spent that way.
While that number is not a statistical increase over previous years, the
number of dollars increased proportionally, indicating that MAC’s are an
important part of nearly any government contractor’s portfolio. This is especially true when selling to the
Department of Defense. The Pentagon
spent $84 billion through MAC’s last year, up from $61 billion in 2016. The two largest spend areas, nearly equal in
size, were IT and professional services. Firm, fixed price and cost-plus contracts
were the most popular. The Government
Accountability Office, however, criticized DOD for not hitting competition
goals. Only a little over half of DOD
acquisitions were competed among multiple companies, according to GAO. That number, however, doesn’t completely
match recent anecdotal evidence from contractors, suggesting that the GAO
definition of “competition” may not truly reflect the amount of pre-RFP or RFQ
competitive analyses nearly every contractor does when deciding whether or not
to bid on a specific project. Contractors
can expect strong business again this summer, though much of it may be
to continue projects already underway.
The gradual re-opening of government agencies, coupled with over
COVID-19 distractions, may not result in numbers as high as last year, but it
could be close. See the story
here for more: https://federalnewsnetwork.com/reporters-notebook-jason-miller/2020/06/federal-procurement-spending-up-120b-since-2015/
The Department of Defense expects contractors to have Cybersecurity
Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) in place for procurements that will happen
in 2020. The standards on how to asses a
company’s status are just being rolled out now, though, and no company has yet
gone through the actual process. More
than one observer has said “what’s the rush?”.
Indeed, while the idea behind CMMC, to ensure the cybersecurity of DOD
contractors, is a good one, the short time frame between when assessments
can actually take place and procurements requiring certification role out
almost guarantees that there will be problems and logjams. “It’s not clear there will be time to iron
out the wrinkles,” said Bill Solms, the general manager and president for
government solutions at QOMPLX in a recent Federal News Network
article. While DOD officials have said
there will be “pathfinders” to test the new assessment protocols, guidance from
the agency on how many companies will qualify has been uneven. DOD is also intentionally limiting the number
of assessment organizations until they get a better handle on how the
accreditation process actually functions.
All of this can leave contractors caught between a compliance rock
and a hard place. While not all
DOD procurements will contain CMMC requirements right off the bat, several
larger projects will. If FedRAMP
cloud accreditation experience is any guide, what projects are covered and the
security level needed to compete will be at least somewhat subjective. DOD
promises that the situation will become clearer once accreditation standards
are announced. That still does not
ensure that accreditation of individual companies will take place in a timely
manner, especially in time to ensure competition on important acquisitions. DOD officials should consider postponing the
implementation of CMMC to avoid a mess that may make navigating the Capital
Beltway look as easy as one of John Denver’s country roads. See the article here for more: https://federalnewsnetwork.com/reporters-notebook-jason-miller/2020/05/cmmc-accreditation-body-close-to-releasing-assessor-training-requirements/