Standards need to be established to for how buyers are completing their due diligence as it relates to verification of classifications. If the government worked to align its practices between systems, regulated/verified information submitted, and created a more holistic structure of classifications, the government would see better practices, overall increased compliance, and enhanced utilization of small businesses. ...more »
3. Small Business Participation
We welcome feedback on how to increase participation in Federal contracting.
Question 1: How can we make doing business with the government easier and less costly for small businesses, minority businesses, new entrants, and non-traditional government contractors?
Question 2: If you are a small business, minority owned business, or new entrant, what features of the federal acquisition system are most helpful and which are least helpful to you?
The government should identify as many opportunities to use platforms for open market competition as possible in order to increase participation in federal business from a more diverse community of suppliers. Many organizations are too entrenched in their relationships with huge corporations and the use of BPAs that many small- and minority-owned businesses are denied access to these opportunities where they may be able ...more »
Small business utilization guidelines should be simplified in an effort to increase compliance. For instance, when the Department of Veterans Affairs instituted a small business mandate in FY12, manufacturers were forced to change their distribution and sales strategy. This funneled sales to smaller businesses—many of them veteran-owned—and also increased the competitive environment for these contracts. Interestingly, ...more »
Government has been doing great things on setting up policies like "Cloud First". Same must be considered for "Small Business First" for each and every procurement and have those evaluation/findings report publish to small business so, businesses can improve on how decisions were made. This provides opportunity for small business to improve and extend services as expected.
Government can leverage the GSA evaluation process that is completed once and provide access to small business on opportunities on other similar vehicles as a default. This will increase competition and save taxpayer & small business dollars and effort on RFP responses and evaluations.
Example a GSA STARS-II industry partner must have access to Schedule IT-70 (atleast for the same NAICS Codes)
The current structure for agency reporting relevant to small business utilization goals is flawed, in that it allows agencies to grossly misinterpret the intent of the these goals. Agencies are required to report dollar volumes at this time. This is an accurate representation of whether or not the dollars are going to small businesses, but it is not an accurate representation of how many small businesses are receiving ...more »
SBA mandates that small subcontractors be paid quickly by primes when the government pays quickly. This would extend the same requirement to small businesses that are team members on Contractor Teaming Agreements under the GSA MAS program.
Mid-tier businesses have valuable government contracting experience and power the economy by subcontracting with small business concerns. Prohibiting these dollars from counting towards an agency’s socioeconomic goals artificially reduces the apparent government investment in such companies. As a result, SBA goals are treated with heightened importance, creating greater exclusion of sources in open competition and increasing ...more »
Agencies should have more flexibility and discretion in defining and using size standards by NAICS code and ownership category to solve the ‘mid-tier trap’ that limits participation and reduces the value created by the small business program. Some departments have recently recognized the value and challenges of mid-tier businesses, many of which are successful graduates of the small business program. When successful ...more »
Enable more agency flexibility and discretion in defining and using size standards by NAICS code and ownership category to solve the ‘mid-tier trap’ that limits participation and reduces the value created by the small business program. Some departments have recently recognized the value and challenges of mid-tier businesses, many of which are successful graduates of the small business program. When successful small businesses ...more »
I noticed there are not a lot of different opportunities available for WOSBs across various NAICS codes. I receive alerts from FBO for my NAICS codes. However, I haven't received many that are set aside for WOSBs. There needs to be more opportunities across different NAICS codes. I know there are many NAICS codes that are eligible for WOSB set aside, but I haven't seen many contracts advertised that fall under many of ...more »
Question 1: How can we make doing business with the government easier and less costly for small businesses, minority businesses, new entrants, and non-traditional government contractors? Answer 1: So far I have not encountered any costs with trying to start a business, because I am doing extension research first. I do see there are a lot of costs to get started. Question 2: If you are a small business, minority ...more »
Growing small businesses and diversifying the pool of federal contractors are important goals. However, recently, there have been several highly publicized examples of small business contractors who shortchanged workers on federal jobs. While small businesses may not be able to meet all the experiential criteria that are part of the responsibility determination, there needs to be a mechanism in place to ensure that ...more »
If a small business has a good service or product that the federal government can use then the first two major barriers must be addressed for more participation are: 1. Cash flow for 12 -36 months to cover G&A- Fringe & Over Head depending on industry needs to be easily accessible. If a company jumps through all the hoops to become a federal contractor then to survive long enough for repeated contract awards to provide ...more »
What about an organization that is dedicated to helping small companies navigate the contracting process? In our experience, once you have fought the battle to gain certification (FedRamp or ATO), there is a bigger and more expensive hurdle of getting on the GSA price list and/or finding an appropriate contracting vehicle. Most companies end up working with a contracting partner like Carasoft or mmix who take a big ...more »
I have been trying to get paid for a service I provided to the federal government awhile ago. Previously, I had an account on the CCR system. I have been trying to migrate it to the SAM system, without success. I have called the SAM help lines (there seem to be a few of them) many times. The main purpose of the representatives seems to be to upsell callers for a $599 service to facilitate the registration process. So, ...more »
The current system relies heavily on an assumption that everyone knows how to navigate the various technologies inherent in government contracting. The human element is inadequate.
If you really want to increase small biz participation, increase the use of Section 845 Other Transactions Agreements. It's a great way to encourage non-traditional small biz participation, eliminate a lot of DCAA accounting issues, and keep innovation flowing. The ones my company has been involved in have been very successful. Also, expand the OTA to allow for manufacturing as well as prototyping. Moving away from ...more »
We recommend that SBA increase the Personal Networth definition to $5 million, in addition remove the required Audited financials unless the organization has revenue of over $100 million.
We have been registered on CCR and now Sam for several years. Part of the registration requires a listing of services/products offered. However we have NEVE$R been alerted of an rfp by a CO using this system to notify qualified suppliers.
The present system requires a marketing effort broader and more intensive than is required to sell to non governmental operations.
I would like to recommend that the information offered by the SBA and similar organizations be streamlined to be more efficient, user-friendly and practical. At this time there are so many areas and so many emails when all the small business needs are some practical pointers to become effective within the short amount of time they can afford to spend on administrative matters. Please do not think that this means poor ...more »
One of the reasons there is so much set-aside money left is because the government makes it impossible for the average small business to grow. They give up before they even try. We need x number of contracts before we even become eligible to compete. How about the government being that entity that provides the first numbers of contracts? If private companies can take the risk to give the small business their first contracts, ...more »
To improve acquisition, we need to train and incentivize contract officers to take new approaches. As a CO, it is always easier to go with the safer, slower, more traditional approach. Also it aligns to their incentives (don't get protested or in trouble). We should align incentives for contract officers on: -Speed to deliver contracts -Cost savings they are able to delivery (in the end) -Bringing in new vendors -Leveraging ...more »
In section 866 of the 2011 NDAA, Congress authorized a pilot program for the acquisition of Military Purpose Nondevelopmental Items (MPNDI). This allows products developed entirely at private expense to be purchased using streamlined, commercial-like procedures. This gap-filler was carefully “designed to test whether the streamlined procedures similar to those available for commercial items can serve as an effective ...more »
FBO should list correct Product and Service Codes from the FPDS Manual found at http://www.acquisition.gov/PSC%20Manual%20-%20Final%20-%2011%20August%202011.pdf If the codes could be validated before posting, it would help small businesses locate appropriate opportunities. For example, it would be easier for a roofer to locate a roofing contract if the FBO announcement is coded with a 'Y' or 'Z' designation, instead ...more »
Issue: Intellectual property rights as currently set forth in GSA Schedule contracts are unclear, cumbersome and unduly burdensome for contractors. The End User License Agreement (EULA) requirements remain unclear in IT Schedule 70. As such, each license agreement must be reviewed by the contracting officer and legal counsel. Recommendation: A basic set of terms should be developed that identify the key requirements ...more »
It would be beneficial if the end users were cognizant of what they were asking vendors to bid on. There have been many "E-Buy" solicitations that we have passed on because tossed into the package of furniture is some oddball piece that locks the bid into a larger firm that will only work with their "preferred" dealers and effectively garnering the entire package. Making it mandatory for the requestor to select product ...more »
Issue: Restrictive experience requirements under the GSA Schedule program. For example, under IT Schedule 70 a company must have been in business for at least two years to be eligible for a contract. The GSA Schedule experience requirements limit access to new, innovation companies providing cutting edge technologies. It is an unnecessary barrier to entry to the federal market place. Recommendation: Eliminate the mandatory ...more »
Issue: The overly complex, burdensome ordering procedures for the establishment of Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) under the GSA Schedules program. Specifically the preference for multiple award BPAs over single award BPAs. The strong preference of multiple award BPAs undermines the ability of customer agencies to achieve best value outcomes using the GSA Schedules program. It essentially limits the tools in the tool ...more »
Issue: Reform the MAS Pricing Policies. Specifically, eliminate the Price Reduction Clause (PRC), GSAR Clause 552.238-75. The current MAS pricing policies do not reflect current practices in the commercial market place. The pricing policies are inconsistent with the statutory and regulatory mandates for competition at the order level. The increased transactional and contract administration costs for compliance with the ...more »
Issue: Extensive data collection requirements via the Federal Acquisition Regulation combined with an explosion in data reporting for agency specific procurement programs and the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI). These data reporting requirements are increasing costs and risks for contractors across the federal procurement enterprise. Costs that are ultimately borne by customer agencies through higher prices ...more »
Over the last decade, the number of laws, regulations and provisions that apply to commercial item have dramatically increased. For example, in 1996 under 52.212-5(b) there were 17 provisions of law or executive orders identified as applicable to commercial item contracts. In 2012, the number has climbed to 51. The resulting explosion of statutes and regulations applicable to commercial item contracting increases complexity, ...more »
The Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) should be on every small business federal contractor's list of issues to quickly be educated upon. The FSSI has been identified as a procurement vehicle which it is expected will be applied to over 90% of all Federal Government Spending. In a nutshell, FSSI awards contracts to a select few while leaving the vast majority at-risk of losing government business. For example, ...more »
Small Businesses operating in the federal marketplace often find themselves competing against Large Businesses who hold long term Multiple Award Contracts (MACs) that they obtained while they were a small business (SB). These large businesses may be able to compete as a SB in SB Set-Asides, even though they no longer qualify as a SB for the applicable NAICS code per SBA size determination regulation. For example, the ...more »
Many procurements recur every 3-5 years with small deviations in the requirements. FBO provides today's snapshot of opportunities while FPDS provides the historical view - GSA should consider ways to structure data in these systems to better connect today's opportunities with its historical predecessor(s). By understanding how a particular contract unfolded previously could help new entrants better position themselves ...more »
Contracting Officers/Specialists get comfortable processing set aside contracts of a particular type. Some are more comfortable with the WOSB program versus SDVOSB or HUBzone and naturally gravitate towards what they know. We continually face the comment of "if you bring me an 8(a), I can make this happen quickly but I can't give you an estimate for how long it may take otherwise" SBA has an incomplete set of practical ...more »
Acknowledging that the acquisition process is frustrating and cumbersome is a start, but to understand how to fix it starts with a willingness to look at the acquisition processes, technologies, and professionals from the perspective of a small business owner. Follow a small business owner's experience with the acquisition system - from the first sources sought to award of a contract - for a specific procurement and ...more »
Contracting specialist should be more forthcoming answering questions. It's very hard to have a productive dialogue before and after award.
Small businesses seeking to enter the federal space must apply through various programs. These include GSA for GSA Schedules, set-aside programs (e.g. HubZone, 8(a), veteran-owned), etc are required to deal with multiple organizations and submit similar information to each. Create a consolidated application for small businesses that would permit them to apply for the special programs through a single application process. ...more »
When we started our business as an 8a, even as former military acquisition professionals, we encountered so much "red-tape" in getting on the GSA Schedule that we eventually had to hire a company to assist us in the process. 8 months and $15K later, we finally got onto the IT Schedule 70. Instead of being easy for the small company, it was hard, and expensive. I have talked to other companies who did not have the time ...more »