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REA'n Maker

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Everything posted by REA'n Maker

  1. I base my opinion more on anecdotes and experience, some of it direct, and some of it current.... I heard an SBA trainer mention it in a WOSB presentation as well. In regard to this discussion, I don't distinguish between 8(a) and SB's in general because the ostensible goals of both programs are the same. Fair point; construction has always been a special animal in the procurement world. Just out of curiosity, what percentage of the average federal construction project goes to small business, in your experience? Your post also brings an obvious question to mind: would SB programs be more effective if they were more focused on sectors like construction? I think your comment kind of supports what I said - efficacy isn't really the SB metric, it's the fact that these businesses exist in large numbers, and even if a small percentage succeed, it's hard to justify not spending procurement dollars to help further that success. The alternative is basically to enrich shareholders and the investor class. Do you think it's a coincidence that all the successes you cite appear to be in the construction sector?
  2. I think the question of SB's contribution to the economy, etc., is irrelevant to the issue of Part 19 and socioeconomic contracting programs in general. This belief is based on the fact that federal contracting is not, and never has been, solely about obtaining the lowest price, which is the implication behind saying LB's are more efficient, innovative, etc. If efficiency was the metric for who receives Federal contracts, there would be exactly 3 contractors receiving all Federal procurement dollars (gotta' get your 3 prices after all). The issue is the equitable distribution of taxpayer funds. The fact is that regardless of their objective merit, SB's exist in large numbers in this country, and there is no justification for them not receiving some of the public monies spent in the commercial marketplace. Hence the 'socio' prefix before 'economic'. Do SB programs in general achieve their stated goal of growing SB's into stable, successful, going business concerns? Probably not, because as we all know, they tend to rely on their SB status until they graduate, at which point they wander around the open-market contracting wilderness, threadbare and clueless, until they stumble off a cliff. But when has effectiveness ever mattered in government?
  3. REA'n Maker

    Negotiation Skills and Tactics

    It's quite simple, really: deception is only acceptable to those who approach a negotiation as a transaction, rather than part and parcel of a professional business relationship. You only get to deceive once, because once you do it, you have destroyed the relationship, and therefore, any potential for future equitable negotiations between the parties is gone. Deception is short-sighted, destructive to your reputation, and not in the government's best interests because it demonstrates bad faith. synonyms: deceit, deceitfulness, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, cheating, trickery, chicanery, deviousness, lying, pretense, treachery; informal crookedness, Yes, Virginia, there is a difference between a used car lot and a government contract negotiation. (For REA'n Maker's small-brained old yellow coots only: If my grandmother has wheels, does that make her a bicycle? 😋)
  4. REA'n Maker

    Contractural Threshold

    I believe the $ threshold you mention is related to small business set-asides, as described in 19.508(e). I've always read it to be limited to each individual order/call/contract, but I know that's been debated with regard to options on those vehicles. Is this another way of asking "at what point can a prime contract become a complete pass-through"?
  5. REA'n Maker

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    I think I finally understand the context of the negotiation Pepe The Frog is describing, where deception plays a major, positive role in the outcome: In this context, Pepe is 100% on the mark. I stand corrected. 😄
  6. REA'n Maker

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    My response is devoid of any emotional or moral precepts. It's simply a fact that deception is not a sound business strategy. There is no recovery after your deception is exposed. Your effectiveness as a negotiator after that point is zero. Simple as that.
  7. REA'n Maker

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    de·cep·tion dəˈsepSH(ə)n/ noun synonyms: deceit, deceitfulness, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, cheating, trickery, chicanery, deviousness, slyness, wiliness, guile, bluff, lying, pretense, treachery The downside of course being that you only get to employ that tactic once, because your credibility and integrity is totally shot thereafter.
  8. And the number two problem is the lack of responsible and accountable leadership. After all, somebody is signing that crap that goes out the door. Hence, my Two Golden Rules of Government Consulting: 1. Management never believes it's their fault, and; 2. It's always management's fault (see first sentence above).
  9. As one who helped DLA set up the contracting system component of the ERP which formed the basis of this automation, I can tell you that DLA is fairly unique in its high volume/low dollar/low complexity business model. In fact, much like the Obamacare website, things didn't go well upon go-live because PD2 choked on the volume of orders and line items. DLA also has a system of Prime Vendors who hold long term ordering vehicles that facilitate this automated model, and the agency is organized around firmly segregated and predictable lines of business (e.g., land, maritime, air). It's also worth noting that DLA built a manual-assist process from the get-go, which kicked out a significant # of nominally simple procurements which were too complex for automated processing (which were identified by a separate PIID schema). So even the automated process for a commodity-focused procurement system was built with the expectation that everything couldn't be automated
  10. Here's why it would be a good idea: It would spread the wealth to the entire country, not just DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Look at the last recession and note how the DC area was relatively untouched; Telecommuting makes physical location of the workforce much less important. Travel costs are irrelevant, as every dollar spent on travel to DC would be offset by reduced travel from DC; It would increase the diversity of the work force, politically and otherwise; It would make the federal government less of a remote and detached entity from its citizens, literally and figuratively; It would help address the Agency Problem by placing Agents geographically and culturally closer to their Principals. (Dept. of Interior for example). I have participated in and conducted numerous studies commissioned by DC leadership in both Defense and Civilian agencies. The one consistent theme was that not only was leadership not cognizant of what was going on with the constituents outside DC who relied on their services (USCIS for example), they weren't even cognizant of what was going on outside DC in regard to the workings of their own agencies. (For the record, I have worked with and for 20+ agencies in every branch of government inside the DC beltway for the last 25 years, in addition to living here)
  11. REA'n Maker

    Commercial Product Definition

    Any idea of the problem allegedly being solved here? The Discussion Draft is chock full of so many inanities, it's hard to figure out what he thinks his point may be.
  12. REA'n Maker

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    Fair point. But a contractor has no incentive to delay receiving revenue, whereas the Government does have an incentive to delay expending revenue. Plus, this is the Government we're talking about here...😀 In all honesty, when I used to do this stuff for the Navy, there was oftentimes a little devil sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear that if I just dragged my feet for a month or two, the negotiation would be much easier because it would simply be a matter of reviewing actuals at that point.
  13. REA'n Maker

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    I would say 'yes', as doing otherwise would not result in a fair and reasonable outcome. A false assumption may also indicate an ambiguity in the requirements.
  14. REA'n Maker

    Fee on Negotiated Changes

    There is a certain perverse logic in play here - Government delays the negotiation, and in so doing achieves a lower fee ! I'm assuming at this point you are asking for actual costs plus fee/profit? As suggested, if I were you, I would focus the negotiation on the portion of fee that is supposed to compensate for that risk component. Yes, 'pepe' is incorrect. Good negotiators don't have to lie, and good negotiators don't let their emotions sway their judgement (think of LCDR Data. He was incapable of lying, because lying is an emotion-based response to avoid embrrassment, consequence, etc.). As a practical matter, I simply don't know how you could even have a strategy based on misrepresentation. How would that work in the PNM? Would you actually add a 'misrepresentation' cost element, which detailed the upper and lower bounds of what you are going to misrepresent? The negotiator's job isn't to get the Best Price in The History Of The World; it's to achieve a fair and reasonable price. Ralph Nash sums it up nicely in his writings on Good Faith and Fair Dealing on the part of the Government. Those F-35s ain't going to build themselves after all.
  15. Yes. My experience from working on a CPFF science-support contract was that the cost of DBA insurance was impossible to predict, because it depended on things like the season; in my case, the 'winter-over' crew and the 'summer' crew had very different rates. Now; if someone would care to explain why it's called "Defense Base Act" when it applies to ALL contracts outside the US, I'd be much obliged.
  16. REA'n Maker

    How can we speed up the source selection process?

    In this context, "not owing fealty to any specific program or organizational unit", i.e., independent professionals who are focused on the mission.
  17. Didn't you answer your own question when you said: ???
  18. REA'n Maker

    How can we speed up the source selection process?

    Not sure if this counts as "changing the regs", but how about an organizationally agnostic team whose only job is solicitation and source selection? I would envision a multi-functional "Source Selection Division" in a procurement organization, whose span of responsibility begins with a defined set of requirements and ends at award. From my experience, much time and effort is spent resolving differing interpretations, understandings, roles, and responsibilities amongst the team members. Having a validated process and associated expertise firmly in place at the start of the SS process would greatly increase efficiency, and might also help foster objectivity and consistency.
  19. REA'n Maker

    Sig Sauer Sidearm - Continued

    Poor technique on the part of the shooter(s)? When learning to shoot, my wife had a tendency to rest her thumb on the slide of the Glock 19, which resulted in numerous jams. So even the most reliable gear can be rendered unreliable by poor technique. Also it seems the main problem with the Sig Sauer is associated with using the 115 grain cartridge. Throwing the actual gun at your target would be more lethal...
  20. REA'n Maker

    Evaluation criteria very vague

    That's what they want you to tell them: "what is the best way to deal with this problem we have presented"? Avoid boilerplate nonsense provided by the Marketing department. Fill in knowledge gaps with your previous experience. Provide solutions they clearly hadn't considered. Explain why accepting your offer is in their best interests. Above all, show them that you understand what they are trying to achieve. The nice thing about "vagueness" is that it allows the Government to pick the guy who clearly knows more about how to define and address the problem than they do.
  21. REA'n Maker

    Task Order PoP Extension

    How about the IDV "base"?
  22. REA'n Maker

    Multiple Award Schedule

    At the risk of being pedantic....it's amazing how many Contracting PMRs/IV&Vs I've conducted where the IDV Ordering clause is not book-ended by the Performance/Delivery Clauses (52.216-20/-21/-22), or where the last Performance/Delivery date is coincident with the expiration of the IDV. I've also seen several where neither clause is included in the IDV. It's almost as if people don't understand their proper usage.
  23. The biggest problem is that PALT is typically designed, implemented, and managed by those with the least procurement knowledge or ability, as evidenced by the above "definition". Just provide a funds cite and the magic happens. And to think I wasted years learning this stuff.
  24. REA'n Maker

    Real Contracting Pros

    Well, that goes without saying, dunnit? As a NAVAIR 2.4.1 alumnus, my experience was that we didn't rely on leadership to get rid of poor performers, we did it ourselves. If you were a slacker, or a poseur, your colleagues would make your life so miserable that you couldn't wait to get out of there. OWN IT!
  25. Yes; you would need to come to an agreement that reflects a subcontractor labor mix which totals roughly $2M. As a practical matter, prior to every contract period, you probably want to sit down with your prime and work out the exact numbers. Then sign the binding agreement for the hours you are expected to deliver for each LCAT. Make sure you manage your people accordingly! Also don't forget that at least until our robot overlords take over, you will have to deal with the uncertainty surrounding "people": people quitting, people's tasks changing, fickle client people, i.e., ongoing tweaks to your subcontract.