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Found 9 results

  1. Blind competitions?

    My supervisory CO has asked me to research how to do a "blind competition," which I understand is a process whereby companies interested in submitting offers do not use their own identity in their technical (and cost?) proposals. The purpose of the blind competition is to establish a true(r) objectivity on behalf of the technical evaluation committee. I have searched the wifcon pages and done a general online search, but have not found any guidance on how to set up a blind competition. I am looking for best ways to set-up/structure a blind competition, e.g. does it work better if offerors are instructed to write their technical proposals in such a way so as to not identify themselves or we ask them to register and then assign a number or other name to them? What are other lessons learned, best practices, guidance, pitfalls, etc.? Thanks in advance for any inputs!
  2. Does sending an email to three vendors satisy the FAR posting requirements for a Task order that is between $15,000 and $25,000? The FAR Part states the following, " (2) For proposed contract actions expected to exceed $15,000, but not expected to exceed $25,000, by displaying in a public place, or by any appropriate electronic means, an unclassified notice of the solicitation or a copy of the solicitation satisfying the requirements of 5.207(c). " The FAR does not define "appropriate electronic means" in this Subpart nor does it define electronic means in FAR 2.1. Would email constitute as an "appropriate electronic means"? I looked up this term in a dictionary and the best definition I could find for electronic means is "computer". Thank You.
  3. Below is a scenario- just soliciting opinions here. Question: You have a prime IDIQ contract to Company XYZ. (T&M). (Established LCATs and Pricing) They have a Task Order doing some services scope of work They have a need to onboard small businesses to meet their subcontracting goal over the next 24 months. You want to add a small business. Their rates for all LCATs are BELOW your contract pricing. Can you claim their prices are fair and reasonable since they are below the competed contract LCAT price levels?
  4. Bending the Cost Curve: "A targeted initiative that can be accomplished within current Air Force budget programs" and "different than past initiatives in that the Air Force is looking at very specific, albeit large, programs": http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123974. Excerpts: 1. The initiative aims to improve dialogue with industry, “so we can better understand how processes, procedures, and some of the choices we make can inadvertently contribute to rising costs, the stifling of innovation and slow processes." 2. "We think that by gathering data from a range of sources, it should be possible to identify instances where small changes in capability have large impact on cost." 3. “Under our new PlugFest Plus approach, we will put in place a mechanism whereby a vendor could walk away with a contract just a few weeks after an event." 4. “What we’re really after here is a data-driven approach to spending.”
  5. My office intends to award a contract on a limited sources basis using FAR 6.302 2 Unusual and Compelling Urgency. There is no question as to whether the requirement meets the Unusual and Compelling Urgency standard, which will allow us to limit sources. However, I am unsure as to how much latitude FAR 6.302 2 affords contracting officers in how we actually go about restricting sources and precluding firms from participating in acquisitions. We currently have a shortlist of ten companies that were identified as viable sources. Each of these sources was selected to compete based on our initial assessments of their capabilities and expertise. However, these assessments were anecdotal in their nature and based more on conjecture rather than substantive evidence. The assessments also presume that the ten firms possess the capabilities and expertise that are superior to that of the other precluded firms, which may or may not be true. We advertised a request for information, but we didn’t notify industry that we would potentially use the findings of that request to restrict competition based on capabilities. One could almost argue that we conducted a pseudo-technical evaluation that unfairly prejudiced contractors that did not respond to the request and or were unaware of the Government’s intentions. However, we are also considering an alternative approach focused more on practicality with consideration to the urgent need for these services. In our market research, we have identified one firm that is uniquely situated to provide the services. However, that is questionable also. One could make a reasonable argument that other firms may also be uniquely suited to address the requirement in their own way. However, under this approach, we wouldn’t have actually precluded other sources under the presumption of not being qualified. Instead, this approach is based more on promoting the reasonable economy and efficiency warranted by the unusual and compelling urgency of the requirement. The need is of such compelling urgency that we could not justify competing the effort when we have a proven source that is postured to immediately engage the requirement. In this situation, one could also make the argument that our determination appears to be arbitrary or capricious in its nature. (Bear in mind that there is minimal performance risk for the requirement and the price reasonableness/best value standard can easily be met for either approach.) Question: How much latitude does the Government have in choosing either of these approaches? One perspective assumes that we are protected by the 6.302-2 standard and the manner in which we restrict competition is irrelevant as long as we promote competition to the maximum extent practicable (very subjective standard). This implies that either approach is viable. Is there any GAO case law or standard beyond those discussed in the FAR that might help bring some clarity to this situation?
  6. Funny Quote at http://fcw.com/Articles/2014/05/27/Deltek-contractor-survey.aspx?Page=2. If growth is velocity (speed), then "shrinking growth" would be de-accelerating (slowing down). But what if growth is actually acceleration on the velocity/speed of the federal budget (with distance being the size of the national debt), how do you "de-accelerate" your acceleration (i.e. slow down your speeding up)? Does anyone want to draw a vector diagram? The article concludes on a hopeful note for federal budgets that "growth" will stop shrinking and start growing. But how does this help companies and agencies be "smarter" about decisions? Who defines the concept of smart? Is it relative? If the whole system one day crashes and burns, who will be smart enough to determine the cause of the crash?
  7. Does the multiple award preference at FAR 16.504 apply to sole source awards pursuant to FAR Subpart 19.8? My contracting office has been requested to issue a solicitation sole source to an 8(a) firm for a single award IDIQ services contract. I know that authority for sole source contracts is found at FAR 6.302-5(b )(4) and FAR Subpart 19.8. However, my reading is that for IDIQ contracts, FAR 16.504 still applies. Hence the multiple award preference described FAR 16.504( c) would still apply and as such, in order to pursue a single award IDIQ, the Contracting Officer would have to document the file with a determination that a single award is most appropriate, giving consideration to the content provided at FAR 16.504( c)(1)(ii). The requirements are not for manufacturing, will not exceed $4M total, and are not for advisory and assistance services. My inclination is to push for a competitive procurement, perhaps an 8(a) or other small business set-aside if the market research supports it.
  8. 1. Background: Government issues ID/IQ MAC contract for fixed price COTS equipment. The government specifies by performance criteria the types, quantities of equipment, and incidental support services, if any. Equipment descriptions are in terms of performance based specifications, brand name or equal, or brand name only requirements. The contract does not contain an OCI clause. · Deal Registration. Based on an Industry practice called “deal registration,” awardees on this ID/IQ MAC can "lock in" lowest pricing with a vendor before RFQ release as/if they gain knowledge of the requirement. The registration by its nature is very specific and is registered pre-RFQ. It guarantees the lowest price for that RFQ regardless of any existing agreement (e.g., reseller agreement). Information on the internet abounds on this industry practice. Provided below is one general description found at: http://searchitchannel.techtarget.com/definition/deal-registration "Deal registration is a feature of some vendors' channel programs in which a channel partner, often a VAR (value-added reseller) or SI (systems integrator), informs the vendor about a lead and is given priority for it. Once a lead is registered with a vendor, the partner usually has a set period of time to close the deal. During this time other channel members, or even the vendor's own sales team, are not allowed to negotiate a similar deal with that lead. Not all vendors offer deal registration, and some vendors offer it only to certain channel partners. Deal registration is usually put in place to lower the chance of channel conflict -- a situation in which channel partners have to compete against one another or the vendor's internal sales department. With a deal registration program in place, partners can work with a client without having to worry about another company trying to offer the same product at a lower price. Some vendors also offer to help partners in the selling cycle, and deal registration lowers the chance of the vendor stealing the lead once the partner has brought them into the discussion." Dell’s published deal registration criteria includes the following: "Deal Registration criteria for Dell includes the following: The deal is not the subject of an RFP, or similar tender process, that has been published; provided, however, that before such RFP, or similar tender process, has been published, the Partner shall be eligible to register the deal." http://partnerdirect.dell.com/sites/channel/Documents/DealRegistrationOfficialGuidelines.pdf · Scenario 1. Government issues RFQ for 100 quantities of Dell Laptop Model XX. MSRP is $2000 each. There are 5 MAC awardees. Company ABC registers the deal for 100 quantities of Dell Laptop Model XX and therefore locks in guaranteed lowest pricing from the OEM. RFQ is released. Dell’s quote to Company ABC is $1000/laptop; Dell’s response to the other 4 MAC offerers is that the deal has been registered and therefore will not offer a quote. · Scenario 2. Same as Scenario 1. The 4 offerers (who have various reseller agreements) request a quote from Dell. Dell does not inform the 4 offerors that the deal has been registered with Company ABC and provides quotes consistent with those agreements, which will at all times be higher than Company ABC's registered price of $1000. · Scenario 3. Same as Scenario 1. Because the deal is registered, Dell does not bother with the paperwork and does not offer quote. No explanations provided. 2. Issue: Although the contract does not contain an OCI clause, the Contracting Officer has cautioned awardees with regard to OCI issues given the competitive nature of this under an ID/IQ MAC. These deal registrations defeats the intent of a MAC. The very nature of deal registration means a prime must somehow have prior pre-RFQ knowledge of the specifics, which calls into question potential procurement integrity and OCI issues. Further, when only one bid is received, the RFQ is re-released and any subsequent rounds of competition is likely to generate either no bids or higher bids, leaving the Government with a false sense of competition. The Government ultimately receives lowest pricing regardless, but it was based on an offeror having an unfair competitive advantage. In order to afford fair opportunity, the government would have to prohibit deal registration, which would be a challnege to enforce since it is an industry practice. 3. Question: We plan to discuss this with the Contracting Officer, but wanted to get the experts to weigh in with any comments. In particular, does anyone believe this is an acceptable practice that should be allowed to continue, possibly in recognition of the fact that pohibition of this industry practice would be diffcult to enforce?
  9. TOPIC: Purchase Order under GSA FSS Contract: Open Market Items BACKGROUND: The primary item (camera) which has a cost of roughly $94,000 is exclusive to a particular manufacturer, and this is justified using a limited source justification. However, there are several items for this requirement not on the GSA FSS of the company which offers the camera. The total cost of these incidental items (lenses) is roughly $14,900.00. Initially it was thought that all the required items were on the GSA Schedule, which would have allowed for a sole GSA Contract Buy. However, after conducting additional research, it was determined that the required lenses for this camera (CANON) are not on the GSA Schedule, however the company is working on getting the lenses on the schedule at some point in the future. I am aware of FAR 8.402(f). As a fairly new contract specialist, I am still somewhat confused as to what additional administrative procedures are required for the addition of these open market items under the current GSA Contract. As I mentioned previously, the projected amount indicated through a previous quotation is $14,900.00 for the lenses. I am planning to provide additional justification which warrants the inclusion of these lenses, as incidental items critical to achieving the SOW in the required timeframe without additional costs. I need to know of any additional contracting procedures and references that should be relied upon for this specific procurement situation? Being that these open market items are quite low in value, I'm unsure of what additional contracting requirements apply in order to effectively place them under the GSA Contract with the exclusive camera. Any information you can provide in regard to this issue is greatly appreciated and will be researched further. NOTE: The open market items will be clearly marked on the contract and quotation as open market items. All responses welcomed in regard to this topic. Thanks, -Pete-
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