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Streamlining Source Selection by Improving the Quality of Evaluation Factors

Nash & Cibinic Report, October, 1994

A special column by Vernon J. Edwards, Consultant in Government Contracting

Almost everyone involved with Government contracting can tell a horror story about a “best value” source selection that involved the development of a lengthy and costly proposal, about a source selection that took two years to complete, and about a protest that delayed an important project and increased its costs. Legislators, policymakers, and acquisition managers are currently looking for ways to “streamline” the source-selection process. I would suggest that the single most effective thing acquisition managers can do to streamline the best value source-selection process is to improve their choices of evaluation factors for award.  (Read special column.)

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Postscript: Streamlining Source Selection by Improving the Quality of Evaluation Factors

Nash & Cibinic Report, December, 1994

Ralph C. Nash and John Cibinic, Professors Emeriti of Law, George Washington University

Professors Nash and Cibinic received two comments on Vern Edwards' article.  One was from Bryan Wilkinson, Director, Compliance Guidelines, Teledyne, Inc. and the second was from Steven Kelman, Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.  The Postscript contains the two comments and the Professors' response.  (Read Postcript)

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After thinking back on the many source selections I’ve been involved with, I totally agree.  Acquisitions for professional services, A&AS type, especially can be accomplished in many instances using just experience (what have offerors done) and past performance (how well have they performed) as evaluation factors.  I’m leaving out key personnel for much of those contracts because past performance can account maybe better than resumes for qualifications and accomplishments.

By past performance, I’m mostly excluding CPARS.  CPARS isn’t that meaningful in many instances.  Rather I think the evaluation team needs to research instances where offerors performed and not limit to just what offerors say in their proposals.  The evaluation team needs to ask detailed and direct questions of customers and end users of the offerors prior work.  If the acquisition is significant, perhaps actual visit to customer locations to talk with  individuals familiar with offeror performance and witness operations and demonstrations of work products.

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49 minutes ago, formerfed said:

I’m leaving out key personnel for much of those contracts because past performance can account maybe better than resumes for qualifications and accomplishments.

I generally do not like "Key Personnel" as an evaluation factor. However, when a contract will require the contractor to possess and provide knowledge and expertise in a specific field, then I think the government should require each offeror to identify the specific person or persons whom it will employ or with whom it will subcontract to be the source(s) of such knowledge and expertise.

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