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About contractor100

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  • Birthday 01/19/1910

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    bethesda maryland

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  1. page limitations on proposals

    "Offerors, not sure what agencies were looking for, resorted to what I call "recon by fire," an old infantry tactic. They wrote as much as they could about everything they could, hoping to score enough points to get into discussions, ..." This is so right. Happy to see more OASIS-style procurements.
  2. page limitations on proposals

    Napolik/Socrates - Honestly, in cases where ten pages are, truly, insufficient to address a long and complex statement of work, I am not sure what their purpose is! In a competition open to all comers, I'd say it was to eliminate clearly insane responses--kind of like establishing a technical range. Is that necessary though? You'd have to think most schedule contractors can write something reasonably germane - and there should be a lot fewer responses, especially where the RFQ only went to three bidders. I have submitted at least 350 responses to GSA RFQs and been awarded a task order in maybe a third? I have never, not once, had any discussions with a CO or anyone else about a solution/technical approach. Maybe in ten percent of cases I've had the opportunity to revise the price - without revising the technical. Don, we are offering the solution after we have been awarded the contract. So how was a "technical approach" evaluated - made the basis of a decision? Desperado you are totally right. Sometimes ten pages is enough. But, sometimes, it is only enough to say "we will comply with the specifications" in various fancy ways. Any bidder can do that! Where's the evaluation?
  3. page limitations on proposals

    Hey Kevlar51, thanks for that DKW case. Hilarious! Note that GAO said it was just fine to: includ[e] large tables that address substantive matters, using a 10-point font size. People do this! A lot! I would prohibit it if I were writing an RFP.
  4. page limitations on proposals

    Okay, Napolik, it does not. Because it is an RFQ. I have submitted at least 350 responses to GSA RFQs. I have never, not once, had any post submission discussions or whatever they are called on GSA procurements. Has anyone else? I've had plenty post award! Where we actually determined what work we would do.
  5. page limitations on proposals

    Thanks for the case, policyguy - but I think most contractors understand that they can be thrown out for not following directions. Would love to see a protest that page limitations made it impossible to meaningfully evaluate offers - that's the issue, really. And, per Napolik, make it impossible for the government and the contractor to enter into a contract under which the contractor has an obligation to offer a specific solution, see 2. above. yes, the responses are RFQs, not RFPs. that is just an odd artefact of the GSA schedules. Commercial or not, contractors should have to offer some specific solution! Of course, this complaint is very fact specific. Yes, there are plenty of solicitations where ten pages is quite enough, despite the length of the SOW. Believe me, shorter proposals save us money. Even cutting and pasting reams of boilerplate has costs to contractors. Ten pages is cheaper, even where we have to put some thought (!!) into writing them. But there are solicitations where ten pages just isn't enough and we really fail to see how the government can get the information it needs to compare offers or to enter into a contract under which the government can get what it needs without a ton of mods. So, dark suspicions of the government's "real" goal in limiting the proposal, and yes, jewettr, of course people constantly speculate that page limitations mean the RFP's aimed at a particular contractor.
  6. page limitations on proposals

    Agree with you on some of these points, Desperado, but not all. First, none of these were LPTA solicitations! They were best value, with the technical approach weighted most heavily. "...all we really need to know is that your company has a sound technical approach" The "specs" to which I refer are an SOW, listing 50 pages worth of outcomes the government wants from certain professional services. The issue is: If the government's technical requirements ("specs") take 50 pages, how can contractors explain how they will meet those requirements in 10 pages? Many people feel that is impossible, hence the cynicism of some of the theories proposed. "Remove the fluff and tell us how you're going to do this task order." Can we, in only 10 pages? That is the issue. Yes, there is a lot of horrible gasbag writing in proposals and I am sorry for anyone that has to read it. But the 10-page limit is kind of a blunt instrument to solve the problem. How about marking people down for bloviating instead? "I would think that perhaps they do have an idea of what they want and how they want it done, within the variance as defined by the technical approach of the offerors." Well that's the point. Can they determine which, if any, contractor can give them what they want, how they want it, with these extreme page limitations?
  7. Solicitation questions and answers

    Or the risk of a pre-award protest. Contractors have to protest “alleged improprieties in a solicitation that are apparent prior to the closing time for receipt to proposals" before the proposal due date - so if a contracting officer will not clarify an RFP, contractors have a strong incentive to protest.
  8. Everyone was sitting around chatting about the most recent RFQ to cross our desks which: Stated it was "best value" solicitation, with technical the most important of the factors Had a 50+ page SOW, with fairly elaborate specifications Limited the technical approach to 10 pages, 12 point type, one inch margins, double space, "graphics may contain 10 point type" Fixed price quote. Stated "may award without discussions." We have seen at last 15 such RFQs this year, from quite a few different agencies and contracting shops. All RFQs have been task orders on GSA schedules. Some were on ebuy, some were directed to a specific group of contractors. Anyone care to share opinions on why such RFPs are released? Proposals from my colleagues: 1. So what if the specs are five times longer than the pages allowed to address them? There is no connection between detail in specifications and number of words in the technical approach. We should be able to explain how we will do this work at a general, high level in ten pages, and there is no reason that is not sufficient to make an award. 2. This is an RFQ. Our proposal will not be incorporated into the contract. The government does not understand what it wants to buy and does not want to get tied down to a specific solution. They are trying to avoid contractors' getting too specific, so that they can determine what they actually want to buy after an award has been made. Any problems with the pricing can be cured with modifications. This is "commercial practice." 3. Because we are on GSA schedule, they already know we know how to do the work, so we should not need to explain how to do the work in this specific instance. 4. The government actually wants to run an LPTA competition, but people complain about LPTA competitions. People make jokes about John Glenn/Alan Shepard and rockets built from lowest priced parts. So by making contractors' technical approaches meaningless and therefore impossible to compare, the contract can be awarded on price -- without calling it LPTA. 5. The contracting office is sick of reading corporate proposal boilerplate. 10 pages, 50 pages, 100 pages - it's all equally useless and unpleasant to read. They are just trying to cut down on time and human suffering. 6. The contracting office is only kidding: let's just put all of our text into boxes with ten point type, make the text double column, and fix the leading so we can get twice as many words on the page!
  9. No kidding on the white papers! I had no idea. Thanks for the response.
  10. Wasn't questioning whether VA is required to give first priority to the named groups in the order listed in the statute. Of course they do. Was questioning whether this statute is specific authorization to use a cascading procurement, per the SBA reg. Perhaps 8127 only means that the preferences must be applied in order to select which category to set aside a procurement for.
  11. Sorry, our emails crossed. Still don't see how that's an authorization. I don't see an explicit authorization in the VA supplement, not like the one in the DFARS. 215.203-70 Requests for proposals – tiered evaluation of offers. (a) The tiered or cascading order of precedence used for tiered evaluation of offers shall be consistent with FAR Part 19. (b) Consideration shall be given to the tiers of small businesses (e.g., 8(a), HUBZone small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, small business) before evaluating offers from other than small business concerns. (c) The contracting officer is prohibited from issuing a solicitation with a tiered evaluation of offers unless— (1) The contracting officer conducts market research, in accordance with FAR Part 10 and Part 210, to determine— (i) Whether the criteria in FAR Part 19 are met for setting aside the acquisition for small business; or (ii) For a task or delivery order, whether there are a sufficient number of qualified small business concerns available to justify limiting competition under the terms of the contract; and (2) If the contracting officer cannot determine whether the criteria in paragraph (c)(1) of this section are met, the contracting officer includes a written explanation in the contract file as to why such a determination could not be made (Section 816 of Pub. L. 109-163).
  12. The cascading order matches exactly what's in 38 U.S. Code § 8127 (the statute at issue in Kingdomware) by putting SDVOSBs first, but I don't see where that statute says they explicitly do a cascading procurement but I am prob. wrong
  13. VA establishing a MAC. Award of the contract will be made using a "tiered evaluation," in which Tier 1 is evaluated first, if not enough awards can be made in Tier 1, evaluation will move to Tier 2 and so on. The task orders under the contract will be awarded using the same scheme. Tier 1 - SDVOSBs that team/subcontract exclusively with SDVOSBs and VOSBs Tier 2 - SDVOSBs that team/subcontract with Small Businesses (Other than SDVOSBs and VOSBs), Joint Ventures that include Small Businesses Tier 3 - SDVOSBs that team/subcontract with Large Businesses, Joint Ventures that include Large Businesses Does VA have to have statutory authority to do this? Do they? Maybe here? 38 U.S. Code § 8127 (i)Priority for Contracting Preferences.—Preferences for awarding contracts to small business concerns shall be applied in the following order of priority: (1) Contracts awarded pursuant to subsection (b), (c), or (d) to small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans with service-connected disabilities. (2) Contracts awarded pursuant to subsection (b), (c), or (d) to small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans that are not covered by paragraph (1). (3)Contracts awarded pursuant to— (A) section 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(a)); or (B) section 31 of such Act (15 U.S.C. 657a). (4) Contracts awarded pursuant to any other small business contracting preference. thanks for any thoughts.
  14. Just want to add, I frequently (at least 50 percent of the time) see SSNs saying things like "An organization that is not considered a small business under the applicable NAICS code should not submit a response to this notice." Does that mean this particular CO does not want to read anything that will not help her with the rule of two analysis? Does that mean that if a CO has NOT written such a commentary, he wants to read marketing materials - carefully crafted and tailored of course- - from large businesses?
  15. So, Jamaal and Pepe, you are saying that CO's actually read responses from large businesses to SSNs - but how is that helpful to the large businesses? Do they get on any kind of "short list" for the opportunity if it comes out large? How does the CO's presumably favorable opinion of them transfer into an advantage in a subsequent open competition? (This is assuming as I say that the large cannot offer some new solution, to sway the competition.) If two qualified small businesses respond, how could the CO not set it aside, no matter what the large business wrote in their white paper? Would the large business say, you know, that the small businesses that are liable to respond are not responsible? Thanks so much to all, for your experience and advice!