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Everything posted by jayandstacey

  1. Made in America on GSA

    Setting aside the TAA/BAA applicability, two concerns I'd have. These are just possibilities: 1. When the offeror does not have a connection to the manufacturer, they may (in my experience) just list the item as US origin on their GSA Schedule. The reason is that they do not know where it will be coming from (since they are not buying from the original manufacturer), as they will not actually buy the item until an end-user steps and purchases. Note that GSA for the most part does not indicate or distinguish the offeror's relationship with the manufacturer, nor does it seek this information with new offers... so offers for item X may appear side-by-side, one from a company buying from the manufacturer (and knowing the actual country of origin) and the other not. As a buyer you may (or may not, some product types are regulated) may be permitted to buy used / refurbished / not from the OEM equipment - but as a practical matter you should know when this is happening. A blanket "made in USA" that doesn't match reality raises this question. 2. As mentioned above, TAA relies on a substantial transformation test. The product may have shipped from Taiwan but was previously substantially transformed in the US (or a qualifying country.). This may make it technically compliant. But you have to ask...what was it doing in Taiwan? Does this pass the sniff test for various other regulations, like security or other procurement regulations? We live in global economy but...to make a $50K product in a qualifying country, then to ship it to a non-qualifying country to sell it back to the U.S....that might be worthy of further investigation as to why the product is moving so far and who's touching it. At a minimum, upon receipt I'd contact the manufacturer and, to the degree possible, ensure you have clean title to the machine, any software licenses it may include and rights to whatever warranties it should include. I might also check to see what they say about where it was made. I might withhold acceptance until I'm confident of these things.
  2. Blind competitions?

    Piling on: It is sometimes possible to identify the offeror by the color palate of the proposal, the nomenclature of the figures, the writing style, the paper chosen, even the page formatting. This is purposeful, and it is possible that having "blind" competitions may inadvertently disadvantage a lesser known offeror.
  3. This is what is wrong with government contracting.

    Agreed I've always thought of this as akin to driving through a mountain tunnel. It took enormous effort to dig the tunnel - effort that far, far outweighs the value of any single trip through it. As we drive through the tunnel, we barely see the walls or even think of what it took to make it viable. We just have familiarity with tunnels and our experience guides our effortless passage. Today, the tunnel requires some maintenance that is relatively small relative to the sum of the trips through. If it isn't apparent, the tunnel is procurement regulations and processes. Each drive through is a procurement. Absolutely agreed that 40+ pages (plus references) for a furniture procurement is over the top - but so is the effort expended to blast open a mountain so I can have a Sunday joyride, right? I'd say the good news is that (presumably) the office issuing the solicitation didn't take too much effort to do so, using boilerplate and such - nor does the bidder spend much time on it. We've all been through tunnels before and we look for special warning signs...but so long as the circumstances are the typical ones we've seen before, we sail right through without hardly slowing down. To extend the analogy though: Is tunneling the best way to get from A to B? Maybe a better path is due. Maybe 40+ pages for a small procurement is still inefficient by its nature, even if it seemed OK as we drove through.
  4. I suspect GAO made a caculated decision to take their chances with that. Latvian Connection (LC) would have to appeal to the right place (probable), in the right way (seems unlikely) or have someone else do it on their behalf (like an ACLU type, which also seems unlikely.) In the short term GAO can toss LC protests aside without review. In the long term GAO might invite an intervention which might result in some negotiated bounds on protestor "time wasting". So yes, it is outside the rule book but the rule book never anticipated the specific LC behavior, and it is highly doubtful that the GAO budget might expand to have more resources to address LC behavior within the current rules. The absolute worst case for GAO seems that they are ordered to going back to processing LC protests case-by-case. I would imagine GAO is following other slower paths to address this too, so this buys them time while other wheels turn. Seems a reasonable and calculated move given the extraordinary circumstances. I'm no expert at what happens when agencies step outside the box: is there practical downside for GAO here, given the circumstance? (Edit: traffic laws say 'no running the stop sign' yet very, very rarely there may circumstances that are not exceptions in the law, yet, when told to a judge, would result in leniency. I'm not saying this is traffic court but...seems GAO is willing to make that bet)
  5. IDIQ Unit Pricing for 5 Years - Why?

    Posted in error - please delete. Sorry!
  6. Commercial IT exception

    To the OP - I've heard the argument whispered but never put to the test - or even attempted. The tide of practice seems heavily (100%) against it, both inside and outside GSA. The OP's argument is simple logic: GSA requires TAA compliant productsTAA is an exemption (subset, if you will) of BAA.IT products are exempt from BAATherefore...Any IT product should be allowed on GSA regardless of origin. Methinks the Government would say that they don't care about TAA's origin, they are extracting the TAA singularly and applying it.
  7. Hi all, new here so go easy on me. I'm seeking a NAICS choice interpretation. An upcoming solicitation will be for brand-named extended warranty and support, to consist exclusively of the manufacturer's part numbers. It will likely be a set-aside. 13 CFR 121.402.B says "Procurements for supplies must be classified under the appropriate manufacturing NAICS code" yet this isn't really supplies (is it? I can't find a definition of supplies) The solicitation is however for IT, and NAICS 541519 suggests (in note 18 of the SBA size standards) that unless the reseller is performing at least 15% of the work for the contract, the solicitation should be let under a manufacturer NAICS. The reseller won't be adding/selling any of their own work here - just reselling the OEM maintenance/support and adding their markup. If it were products with no reseller services included, I'd go right to the manufacturer NAICS. I believe I should here too but what seem to be the relevant passages aren't clear. Any suggestions?
  8. manufacturing NAICS...or not?

    Yes, thanks for the reply - the manufacturer is providing the service. Software upgrades, help desk calls, repair visits - it all comes from the manufacturer, the reseller will have no role in the fulfillment except to track when it begins and ends. However, the manufacturer only sells through their reseller partners - so no sole source to the manufacturer.
  9. manufacturing NAICS...or not?

    Thanks - does a definition in the FAR apply to a clause in the CFR? The agency buy looks like this: base year: qty X - "Brand Y" 1 year extended warranty on already-Agency-owned IT gear; (extended warranty includes maintenance, software upgrades, access to technical support and return/replacement rights.) = Brand X part number ABC123. indicate FFP offer. . options: Four 1-year options to renew at the same FFP The FAR 2.101 definition of "supplies" “Supplies” means all property except land or interest in land. It includes (but is not limited to) public works, buildings, and facilities; ships, floating equipment, and vessels of every character, type, and description, together with parts and accessories; aircraft and aircraft parts, accessories, and equipment; machine tools; and the alteration or installation of any of the foregoing. Where I'm struggling is that this is not real property - although maybe this comes under 'supplies' as the alteration or installation piece...seems a stretch. Yet, the reseller is not actually preforming any service here other than tracking the Agency rights under the contract. That part won't be separately billed, it'll be baked into the reseller markup. Out on FBO now I see other examples of precisely the same procurement by other agencies and they are under the manufacturing NAICS. But I've got agency folks saying thats not right, that a computer reseller NAICS is more appropriate.
  10. Yes, and that;s the balancing act a manufacturer must play - so things like 'deal registration' are an advantage but not a blow-out deal-killer advantage, and must be fairly and appropriately applied. And such pricing is given under NDA so as not to dissuade other bidders, and the manufacturer should never speak to things like "does someone have registration? Is this the best price anyone is getting?" etc. . I'm not a lawyer either. But I do have the interwebs
  11. So this is my first post here... to the OP - 1. Although the links posted above talk about pricing going to resellers - you may not have been 'similar' enough to the contractor that got the deeper discount. Those pricing laws speak mainly to fairness; that you're afforded an opportunity to reach the same advantage...but did you achieve the advantage with Alpha Electronics as much as the other guy? ALL of the available advantage? There are a number of ways you may not have: - The other company may have "worked" the deal prior to the solicitation and done things like invested in demos, marketed, etc. Alpha was named in the solicitation and SOMEONE made that happen - it may not have been Alpha themselves. Many companies have "deal registration" programs that help finders become keepers. - The other company may have some other broader investment in Alpha, such as technical expertise (they're a 'platinum partner') or a different status (say, distributor vs regular reseller) that gives them an advantage most everytime. - The other company may have bid Alpha services on the deal or done some other bundling that got them a better price for the products in question. You mentioned you bid the services from your own shop - maybe Alpha has offerings that you didn't avail yourself of, thus didn't get the best pricing. - The other company may simply have come with a better offer, say...to allow Alpha to be included in meetings with the customer...or that they'd buy the project's worth of products on day 1 vs. on the Government's schedule. - Lastly, if multiple of these factors are in play, they can 'stack' up against you and result in a significant advantage for the other guy. 2. Your evidence is hearsay. It may not be perfectly true. 3. The fact that Alpha was named in the solicitation but gave away discount is evidence that in fact they owed it in some fashion, as per above. The key is that the laws (anti-trust and the others) ensure you have the chance at the same pricing, but don't guarantee you'll get it if you don't earn it. The trick is to go to Alpha and have a conversation about what programs / incentives / registrations and such are available and at what cost to you. Maybe next time you're the guy with the advantage, having earned it.