Page 2 of 2
3. Requirements definition: After researching the market, the acquisition team checks available options, defines the requirements the procurement must meet, and determines how quotes or offers will be evaluated (FAR Part 11).
This is where the real selling occurs. If requirements haven't been set, you have an opportunity to provide information explaining why you offer the best value along with language about the kind of requirements you can meet -- that perhaps your competitors can't.
4. Funding: In doing market research and defining requirements, the program people request quotes from the private sector to understand how much it will cost to fulfill the need (FAR Part 31). Program managers continually make funding requests and compile accounting data. Once there are sufficient funds for a particular procurement estimate, a fund certifying official signs the funding document, and the contracting office can get to work on the procurement.
At this point, the contracting shop takes over the procurement and stays in control through contract award.
5. Solicitation release: The solicitation explains the contracting method and type to be used for the planned contract action -- typically an invitation for bid (IFB), a request for proposal (RFP), or a request for quotation (RFQ). The contracting shop prepares the solicitation and the contracting officer named in the solicitation takes over the process.
The solicitation formalizes everything defined in the acquisition plan. To get ahead of any potential problems on large procurements, draft solicitations are often available for comment before the final solicitation is issued.
6. Source selection: The source selection team carefully follows the solicitation requirements and evaluation criteria to avoid the possibility of protest. This is why the requirements and evaluation criteria setting steps are so important. Communication between the government and participating companies is highly controlled -- typically reduced to writing -- to ensure a level, competitive playing field.
7. Award or order: The contract award occurs when the government declares a winner and signs the cover sheet of the original solicitation. Under the RFP and IFB process, the contractor is legally bound to deliver what was proposed or bid. In the case of an RFQ, the government extends an offer to buy when it issues an order. An order recipient does have the right to reject an order within a few days.
If you are not awarded the business, ask for a debrief in writing within three days. You also have the right to file a protest, if you believe the source selection process was flawed.
8. Post-award: In this phase, performance is tracked and reported in governmental databases. This also is the time to look for additional opportunities.
This is a cyclical process, after all. Leverage information you gain during delivery and implementation to anticipate new needs or requirements for another turn around the acquisition and procurement wheel. Building a federal client base means continuous relationship building, even after the contract is signed.
The preceding information was adapted and digested from the book “The Inside Guide to the Federal IT Market,” published by Management Concepts Press. For more information, visit www.insideguidetofederalit.com
Steve Charles is a co-founder of immixGroup, which helps technology companies do business with government. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on technology and the federal procurement process. He can be reached at Steve_Charles@immixGroup.com.
<< Previous | 1 | 2