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rsenn

Types of orders

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A recently released RFQ calls for "call orders."  I can see nothing in the RFQ that would distinguish a call order from a delivery order.

Still, I am familiar with calls as sold in the securities markets, and am wondering if in the eye of the government writer call order has a special meaning somehow derived from that market.

Has anybody seen the term call order used before, or suspect why the writer chose that term?

 

From FAR part 2,

“Delivery order” means an order for supplies placed
against an established contract or with Government sources.

“Task order” means an order for services placed against an
established contract or with Government sources.

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The word "calls" is used in FAR 4.1603(a)(3)(vi) and (viii) and also in FAR 4.606(a)(1)(iii).

Generally, I think of the issuance of an order under an indefinite-delivery vehicle (as that term is defined in FAR 4.606(a)(1)(ii)) as being done by a contracting officer or purchasing agent on paper (OF Form 347 or DD Form 1155) with a funds citation, and I think of the issuance of a call under a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) as a verbal purchase made by a person authorized (such as by FAR 13.303-3(a)(4)) with a single monthly invoice and payment for all purchases made during a month.

However, I admit there is tremendous variation (even sloppiness) in the use of "call" and "order" among contracting practitioners.  

"Call order" is new for me.

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There is tremendous variation/sloppiness in the use of acquisition terminology period

I learned a valuable lesson on "linguistic precision" as a 2Lt when my first PAR and SSDD were reviewed by my boss.  The documents came back with more red ink than I had ever seen on any of my college papers due almost entirely to using various words inappropriately.  For example, I used the words "price," "cost," and others interchangeably to try and improve the documents' flow and readability; however, the result was a set of documents rife with inaccuracies that made even less sense due to my monologophobia.

My recommendation: call out and correct linguistic imprecision whenever you can.  Hopefully it will make a lasting impression on the individual(s) and the entire workforce will gradually be better off for it.

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22 hours ago, rsenn said:

Has anybody seen the term call order used before, or suspect why the writer chose that term?

The writer is probably using the term mistakenly due to ignorance or sloppiness.

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Call is an old term. You used to find many references to "calls or orders" in the pre-FAR procurement regulations. As best I can determine the word call was not officially defined. In my experience it was used in connection with Blanket Purchase Agreements. Agencies would place a call against a BPA. The term originally may have literally referred to a telephone call, which was how most BPA calls were made. It may be that calls were placed against agreements, like BOAs and BPAs, and orders were placed against contracts. You placed a call when the contractor was not contractually bound to perform and an order when it was. But that's speculation.

The term call appears in only four places in FAR today, all in FAR Part 4, and all in similar expressions. See for instance FAR 4.606(a)(1)(iii): "All calls and orders awarded under the indefinite delivery vehicles identified in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section." The term call appears in six places in the DFARS and in one or two places in a few other agency supplements. None shed any light on the proper use of the term, if there is one.

I think that use of the term call is just a holdover from the old days. The term most commonly used today is "order."

 

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I second what Vern said.  In my "early" days of contracting (mid 90s), I managed decentralized BPAs where those appointed by the CO as ordering officials placed calls and ordered supplies or services permitted under the BPA.  No paper order was issued.  The ordering official would keep a call register/log documenting the calls made and would send to the CO monthly.  Upon receipt of the log and an invoice from the contractor, the CO would approve the invoice for payment.

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Based on FAR convention (FAR 1.108) and usage, a call is used to make a request. A call order ... well, an order can be a request or a demand depending on the requirements of the contract and the order itself (e.g. below the minimum or above the maximum). I would think it should either be termed a call or an order, but not a call order.

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I learned many years ago that a "call order" was an order placed under a BPA. Don't remember if I actually learned that as part of training, or if someone just told me that. I have found that many people in contracting today aren't familiar with that term however. The GSA FPDS-NG Data Element Dictionary still refers to BPA orders as a "Part 8 BPA Call" or "Part 13 BPA Call".

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Call order is still in GAO's dictionary:

Quote

[1]  A "call order" is an order placed against a BPA pursuant to the authority in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) § 8.405-3(c)(2)(iii).

[2] The agency's independent government cost estimate (IGCE) of $46,000,000 and 341 total call orders encompassed the base period and all option years.  The agency's estimates were based on actual obligations from the recently-expired incumbent BPA held by FedResults, adjusted for anticipated program growth, additional BPA requirements and inflation.  Contracting Officer Statement (COS) at 4; AR, Tab 36, Award Summary, at 17.  At 341 call orders and an IGCE of $46 million, the scenario call order pricing is $134,898.  FedResults did not challenge either the basis for the agency's IGCE nor its estimate of the scenario pricing.

See B-414641, FedResults, Inc., August 8, 2017 at http://www.gao.gov/products/B-414641

 

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Just older terms still lingering.

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