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kevlar51

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  1. Prime contractors--especially the big ones--have their own purchasing rules and procedures that are often divorced from Gov't requirements (and more stringent, in order to shift risk to subs). Depending on the Buyer you're working with, they might want you to open your books to them regardless of prime or subcontract type, because that's what the procedure says and they aren't willing to negotiate. You'll need to move up the chain and speak to their management if you're hitting a wall there. Simply because the prime contract is a commercial item though, does not mean that each of its components (subcontracts) are necessarily commercial items as well. But that being said, the Government's interest in price ends at the prime contract for commercial items. Because the Government knows what its paying and that the price it's paying is fair and reasonable (theoretically). What happens down stream is between two commercial companies, and back to my first paragraph, many companies want to ensure they are also getting fair and reasonable pricing from their subs. It's no longer a "best interest of the taxpayer" situation anymore, but rather a "best interest of the shareholder" situation. So they can't use Government authority to look at your books or justify your pricing, but they can use their own authority as the company buying your goods. "You didn't have to, so I don't have to" is not a strong argument by itself, but it's a good starting point for why you should feel OK with pushing back and justifying why you shouldn't need to provide business-sensitive data.
  2. Unfortunately, you'll find this in many career fields. The folks who "know how to get things done" while everyone else mysteriously takes forever--those are the people who get all the accolades. And when they move on or get promoted, the employee who inherits the workload finds out the "superstar" broke/ignored every rule or procedure in the book, leaving quite the mess for the poor newcomer.
  3. If you're looking to continue focusing as the "customer" in the private sector with similar skillset, then Procurement/Supply Chain/Buyer is probably what you'd want. If you want to switch gears and be client-focused (where you're dealing with 1102s on the other side of the table), then Contracts (Administrator, Specialist, Representative, Manager) tend to be the titles used (though look at the job description to be sure). The tricky one is Subcontract Manager. I've seen that title used for either position, because some companies refer to Subcontracts as anything in their supply chain, and some companies refer to them as contracts where they themselves are a Sub to another Prime. Client-facing Contracts positions are more prevalent in the DOD/Intelligence industry. Beyond that, I've found most companies rely on a combination of sales team and in-house counsel to meet these needs.
  4. Right. The company will be wide open to the potential for defective pricing. Especially if a sweep takes a long time. Or even five days. By the time a sweep is done, it could be already be inaccurate with no way of knowing. But then you agree to price and sign the cert? Sweeping after the agreement on price allows the contractor to apply a firm cutoff date for the sweep. That way the contractor can legitimately say whether cost or pricing data existed that was not disclosed prior to the agreement on price. And if new data exists, the Government is entitled to re-open negotiations. That stinks from a schedule standpoint, but it happens. And since no cert has been signed yet, the contractor isn't open to a defective pricing action.
  5. There's unfortunately little incentive for the contractor to conduct multiple sweeps during the negotiation process, because no matter how many they perform during negotiation, they are still going to need to conduct a sweep after agreement on price and before certification. And if their sweep process is correct, it's not going to take any less time or be any less complete simply because they already performed sweeps along the way.
  6. I'm with Vern--this 5-day policy is based on flawed assumptions. Cost or pricing data that might pop up in a sweep are not limited to what might be included in a specific proposal or negotiation, nor roll into a specific estimating system. Perhaps that logic would have worked within Raytheon? No clue, but I do know all business systems are not created equal. I can think of several large mostly commercial item companies who have done non-commercial work for the Government. Sweeps take weeks because a nationwide review of pricing for similar offerings is required in order to certify. I'm not sure the Government quite understands the legwork that goes into a certificate of cost or pricing data. For the five-day window to have any merit, I think a better definition of what data requires disclosure is necessary. Otherwise you're still stuck with the contractor guessing what the Government might find useful in a negotiation. And now it all has to be completed in five days.
  7. A few years ago, when I first ran into "no G&A on travel" from a Gov't client, the CO's position was "JTR doesn't permit G&A on travel, and per Agency counsel opinion, we won't pay it." This was during contract negotiation. We pushed back. Of course JTR doesn't address contractor G&A--it wasn't written for contractors. We were met with dug-in heals. The CO had no issue negotiating hours and scope, but G&A travel was apparently the third rail. At the end of the day, it was an insignificant portion of the total contract value, so we made the business decision to let the issue drop, rather than spend more money to negotiate it than we'd actual recoup in G&A billings. But on principle, it was an annoying "loss."
  8. why not just a contract (for the quantity the agency can afford now) and an option (for the rest)?
  9. if only there were some sort of statute about truth in negotiation...
  10. GAO issued a report (07-599) on undefinitized contract actions in 2007 in part finding DOD wasn't doing this enough (i.e. factoring the lack of risk from completed performance into the profit analysis). For a negotiation position, you could look at the DOD weighted guidelines described at DFARS 215.404-70 and 215.404-71. Internally run through the analysis to figure out how little the Government thinks your effort is worth But the main takeaway is just to get a feel for what the Government is looking for in their profit analysis, and what levers they consider that you can spit back at them. I have no clue if your dealing with DOD, but this is good practice for dealing with any agency. In the end though, like Vern said, this is a negotiation. Come up with your best arguments for why you deserve what you deserve, and help them out with talking points for their negotiation memorandum so that they can show they made a proper effort (they've already started that part by reducing your fee due to decreased risk). [EDIT--removed commentary on UCAs since they aren't really relevant to the specific topic]
  11. Just make sure the "indirect" function isn't really a "direct" function that someone doesn't feel should be direct. This has been an area of surprisingly consistent frustration in my career. I'm not talking about areas where mischarging is clear (e.g. where an employee working exclusively on program A charges to program A work to program B), but rather when time for a direct-charge (per disclosure statement) contracts, finance, or program management employee is invoiced and a COR rejects the invoice because in the COR's view "back-office" employees should be indirect (and thus included in the rates). It's an issue that should be easily resolved by a quick review of the disclosure statement and proposal/negotiation (for good measure) that included funding for contracts/finance/PM. But it's rarely that easy thanks to under-trained CORs who feel that the only contractor employees who contribute to a contract are those who are visible on a day-to-day basis, coupled with overwhelmed COs who effectively abdicate responsibility to the COR.
  12. You might want to look into hiring a consultant. Government contractors who deal with Government property on a large scale basis have full time employees whose sole job is to manage Government and contractor property (to give you an idea of the complexities involved). Articles and books aren't necessarily going to teach you everything you'd want to know to establish an adequate procedure that gets Gov approval. EDIT: Just want to add that those large companies who have full time Gov property administrators still manage to screw up the handling of Gov property.
  13. Are they pairing oral presentations with discussions?
  14. That was my gut reaction when I started reading the OP's post. But how do you reconcile that with the DFARS clause 252.232-7012 that Joel quoted? Payments cannot exceed cost incurred (in this DOD contract, at least).
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