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20 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

Of course, if the requirements contractor set up a 24/7 office dedicated entirely to the requirements contract and to the possibility of as many as 20 unscheduled events, it might be on time 100 percent of the time. But at what cost to the government?

Vern - This statement assumes that there are not already 24/7 repair companies - national or local - accessible to most of the country within a 4-hour window. I'm willing to bet that there are (to test this, I did a Google search for "24/7 emergency repair services Montana" and got a string of contractors across the state). In my market research, I wouldn't ask for contractors to adapt to me; rather, I'd seek out businesses who have experience providing 24/7 service and therefore better understand what is plausible and what it takes to get a repairman out of bed at 3:00 AM and what the contingency plan is if he doesn't answer the phone. Also, these companies (particularly the national ones) would ostensibly have a greater interest in protecting their reputations as "24/7 emergency repair" companies.

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Guest Vern Edwards
7 minutes ago, FrankJon said:

And I realize that "accessibility" and "responsiveness" are not the same. My point is that the "24/7 emergency responsiveness" aspect doesn't necessarily need to be an expensive, Government-tailored service.

I agree. There are plenty of 24/7 plumbers, but I don't know many that "guarantee" a response within a given short timeframe with liability for breach of contract. Do you?

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Don – Using all the stipulations you have stated my estimate for your number 1 is 5% or less for not showing up within the 4 hours.  For your number 2 10 to 15% of the time the first contractor contacted would not accept the call and that if accepted they would not meet the expected 4 hours 75-80% of the time.

My caveat.   Water damage restoration/renovation that may or may not include plumbing services as well.  

Percent of successful response is based on research that there are several firms in the geographical area of El Segundo that perform such work and specifically state 24/7 response.    Included is the thought that GSA FSS contractors are available (131 total possibilities SIN 426 4F) for the same type of effort and could result in a GSA Order that provides a requirements contract methodology in setting up the order.

I understand I have the advantage of what Vern has already posted but have attempted to hold to thoughts and positions I have stated in this thread to this point.  Using an entity such as SERVPRO, as the example that might be an awardee under a requirements type arrangement or accept a BPA, I will remain with my position, now stated in the context of your exercise,  that probability of response within stated time lines would be greater under a firm contract.

What conflicts me throughout this discussion thread is that if there is a “required” need for anything, not just the El Segundo example,  the promise is reinforced with a contract (requirements or ?).    If this is not true for this example then why is true for other Federal government needs?    Why have contracts (promises again and not guarantees) at all, the Federal government should just move to competitive BPA’s for everything.

I do appreciate the exercise as made me think just a little more but as you can see my overall view has not changed.

PS – Do not forget that I have already agreed that a requirements contract might be more costly and that cost might even increase if I wanted to emphasize the promise by requiring a performance bond.  Considerations,  just like  those considerations already debated, such as  true emergency needs, or just need a plumber in a timely manner, is there really justification for “required” response, etc. etc. being the deciding factor of what the acquisition method used would be.

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3 hours ago, C Culham said:

What conflicts me throughout this discussion thread is that if there is a “required” need for anything, not just the El Segundo example,  the promise is reinforced with a contract (requirements or ?).    If this is not true for this example then why is true for other Federal government needs?    Why have contracts (promises again and not guarantees) at all, the Federal government should just move to competitive BPA’s for everything.

Actually, "Why have contracts?" is a very good question. Most of us get all kinds of work done without formal contracts or with very simple contracts. See "Non-contractual Relations in Business: A Preliminary Study," by Stewart Macaulay, American Sociological Review (Feb. 1963):

Quote

As one businessman put it, "You can settle any dispute if you keep the lawyers and accountants out of it."

Every contracting officer or would-be contracting officer should read that article.

Having a contract does not guarantee performance, and not having one does not guarantee failure. Even when we have voluminous contracts, we don't always get what we bargained for. Contracting parties often end up in litigation. The government often gets only partial success under contract. Consider the F-35, the littoral combat ship, and other major system programs. Remember the A-12, the biggest termination for default in the nation's history, which spent more than a decade in litigation? Software development is a notorious example. Construction is another. And think of the apparatus the government has constructed to award and administer contracts and what it costs in addition to the contracts themselves.

According to the Norton Rose Fulbright 2017 Litigation Trends Annual Survey, 43 percent of the 318 corporate counsels surveyed reported that contracts were the second most numerous source of their pending litigation, exceeded only by labor/employment. According to the survey, contract litigation was continuing to grow.

http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/knowledge/publications/157833/2017-litigation-trends-annual-survey 

Corporate counsel consider contracts litigation to be significantly more "concerning" than personal injury and business tort litigation and slightly more concerning than labor/employment litigation.

All that said, I think contracts are necessary for large and complex endeavors to document the expectations of the parties. They force the parties to plan. Those may be their principal merits. The value of the contract as a guarantee of performance is questionable.

As for Carl's prediction of a (much) higher rate of lateness under BPA calls than under orders placed against a requirements contract, I wonder about his intuition or reasoning. If both contractors are responsible, as Don stipulated, why should the BPA contractor be late more often? A BPA call, once accepted, is as much of a contract as an order placed against a requirements contract. BPAs are in writing and contain all necessary contract clauses. See FAR 13.303-4. Acceptance of a call creates a contract that includes those terms. So why should the contractor with a contract based on a BPA call be considered so much more likely to fail? I'm not demanding an answer to that question from Carl, but I do want other readers to ponder it.

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1 hour ago, Vern Edwards said:

I wonder about his intuition or reasoning.

Personal experience in both acquisition as it applies to the Federal sector and my personal life.   I have lost count on the number of times my furnace quite in winter, a pipe was broken by happenstance or foolish work of my own, or that I contacted a entity as a CO to get prompt service (without a contract) only to have them agree and then not perform (be on time)  to the expectation as agreed when they accepted the work.   Excuses such as I had another call, the call I was on delayed me, I couldn't find your location, couldn't find the parts I thought I would need, my laborer stood me up, the list goes on and these are just a few of the excuses I can instantly remember.  While I have had but one or two contracts in personal life for what I will call immediate needs, I have experienced scores of contracts where promises, expectations, a required performance metric and even the personal guarantees of the contractor were met.

Conclusions about BPA's also interest me in that in almost all case folks have indicated that the power of the BPA is to have an option when the first BPA holder (second BPA holder , or more?) is not responsive.   Suggests to me that it is acknowledgement that a BPA has a lower expectancy on the promised hoped for.   In comparison I have never heard of having a contract to back a contract in case the first contractor will not be responsive.   Most likely exists somewhere but never in my experience.

 If others have had better successes with what I will call responsiveness where there was not a contract they must live in a idyllic place that I have not found yet!

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Guest Vern Edwards

My years of experience in government and the private sector have taught me that a reputable company will perform like a reputable company. It's not the method of contracting or the contracting instrument that determines outcomes, it's the relationship between the customer and the company with which it does business.

I have a business of my own. It has been quite successful for more than a decade, in the U.S. and several countries overseas. We depend on several suppliers and service providers, large and small. I don't have a written contract with a single one. We do business with each other informally. I pay well and on time, and they want my business. That's all I have to say, except that nobody is perfect. Stuff happens. Mature business people know that and act accordingly.

I'm done.

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6 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:

My years of experience

Granted.  

I as a 10 year consultant business owner too have had the same experiences, probably not as extensive but all the same experiences.  I have had the same experiences personally  as a trustee for a family member, a member of organizations that have put on community to world class events, as contracted hand for a local wheat rancher or helping my in-laws run a small farm for profit.   The salient issues of this thread, often derailed to issues other than, has been a "required" need that is as described are "emergency" services. 

At best in all my personal cases (except in my capacity as a trustee and organizer for a world class event) I would describe there were times of exigency but never emergency.  Whether for the regular stuff, the exigency, and in  the rare case of an emergency  I have experienced failures to perform.  In my Federal experience an emergency was experienced many more times, not just for incident response but with regard to native American health care, environmental spills, criminal activity, along with other situations and in this experience the promise of the contract in my view provided a much better track record of required performance.  I hope this clarity helps those that have followed this thread.

In the end as it has been stated application of contract method to a specific need will depend on its specifics.   But for the situation specifically stated by the OP, even as clarified by the OP's subsequent posts, that started this thread my experience still suggests a contract versus a BPA.  All the other what ifs thrown out lead to the other conclusion - it depends.

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18 hours ago, C Culham said:

Don – Using all the stipulations you have stated my estimate for your number 1 is 5% or less for not showing up within the 4 hours.  For your number 2 10 to 15% of the time the first contractor contacted would not accept the call and that if accepted they would not meet the expected 4 hours 75-80% of the time.

Carl,

75-80% of the time seems high to me. Suppose the same contractor had a requirements contract to support Base A and a BPA to support Base B. All other things equal, you think that the contractor would respond to 95% of Base A orders within 4 hours and only 20-25% of Base B calls within 4 hours? 

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22 hours ago, Don Mansfield said:

All other things equal, you think that the contractor would respond to 95% of Base A orders within 4 hours and only 20-25% of Base B calls within 4 hours? 

Yes.  My thinking in stating it is the specifics of the all the other things equal is that on the smaller needs there is less incentive for the contractor to be prompt.  Does being late on one BPA call cause the contractor for that call to be worried about not meeting the performance metric on a charge account?  My assumption is no the contractor would not be as worried as it relates to their worry with regard to response on a task order on a long term and specific requirements contract.

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I've been following this back and forth trying to figure out where I come down. Intuitively, I believe whether requirements vs BPA affects response time depends on how sophisticated the contractor is.

If you're doing business with Joe the Plumber, he probably doesn't know a BPA from a contract, and there's a good chance he didn't even bother to read the agreement or contract through (let alone have an attorney review it). He understands what he's expected to do and what he'll be paid if he does it. Moreover, he probably never expected to do business with the government in the first place and therefore isn't overly concerned about retaining the government's business, regardless of the nature of the award (obviously, this perception could change if the government begins to account for a significant portion of his revenue). Finally, if he's a sole proprietor, he's got limited resources. If he's unavailable for any number of reasons or simply doesn't hear the call, there's no fallback option to reallocate resources. Again, the nature of the award would have no bearing on this situation.

So in that sense, I don't think I agree with Carl. But if we're dealing with a large business or a small business that actively seeks government work, I can see how the difference of contract vs. BPA could make a difference in terms of how the business plans and responds.

Those are my 2 cents, which admittedly lie well outside my circle of knowledge and experience. 

  

 

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On ‎4‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 7:31 AM, C Culham said:

Yes.  My thinking in stating it is the specifics of the all the other things equal is that on the smaller needs there is less incentive for the contractor to be prompt.  Does being late on one BPA call cause the contractor for that call to be worried about not meeting the performance metric on a charge account?  My assumption is no the contractor would not be as worried as it relates to their worry with regard to response on a task order on a long term and specific requirements contract.

Ok, now I understand why you think what you think. 

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