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NenaLenz

How to design and fund procurement to replace ubiquitous and essential low-tech components in DIB

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Company has been approached by several DoD purchasers across agencies that are interested in purchasing its product. The product is a ubiquitous, low-tech component found in most government hardware systems.  Government systems that require this manufactured component cannot function without it, and existing government hardware is obsolete technology and failing, raising national security concerns. Because this hardware is located in major & minor systems across the defense industrial base, the potential scope of work is daunting. The government lacks records containing specs for the currently installed product, requiring reverse engineering in many instances. The government also lacks an inventory database.  

It appears that the government officials who want to purchase the products are not sure how to design and scope this type of procurement and fund it. I am helping the Company think through procurement options for discussion with government officials. We would like to find an analogous situation that was successfully solved, thinking that this can't be the first time the government faced this problem. The Company is a small business.

So, here's my question: Can you identify an example of a ubiquitous component in government property that was replaced with a new and improved product. Ideal examples would involve replacement of manufactured hardware components in the defense industrial base.

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47 minutes ago, NenaLenz said:

The product is a ubiquitous, low-tech component found in most government hardware systems. 

It's found in tanks, in submarines, in airplanes, in automobiles, in desktop computers, and in spacecraft?

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Then the answer is to assign the requirement to a central contracting office for purchase under some type of indefinite-delivery contract and then distribution to users. The Defense Logistics Agency is one such purchaser. What your client does not want is to have to deal with several different purchasing offices. That would greatly increase it administrative costs.

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1 hour ago, NenaLenz said:

existing government hardware is obsolete technology

From a company's perspective, I would have a question concerning replacement of the hardware with new equipment.  I would not want to make an investment in something only to have the project pulled out from under me.  An example of this is the DEW line radar system where the radars used vacuum tubes.  Obviously, over time the use of vacuum tubes became obsolete and the system was ultimately replaced.  In the meantime, only one producer of vacuum tubes remained in business.  When the AF stopped using vacuum tubes, the contractor had a production facility that had to be closed down.  Something to think about in discussions with your client.  What happens to them if the government does something similar regarding their product.

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1 minute ago, Retreadfed said:

Something to think about in discussions with your client.  What happens to them if the government does something similar regarding their product.

Good tip. I think the hardware in this instance will evolve and remain in use for the foreseeable future. 

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21 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

Then the answer is to assign the requirement to a central contracting office for purchase under some type of indefinite-delivery contract and then distribution to users. The Defense Logistics Agency is one such purchaser. What your client does not want is to have to deal with several different purchasing offices. That would greatly increase it administrative costs.

That makes a lot of sense. 

Can you think of any similar kinds of government-wide upgrades? It would be helpful to show folks a model 

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17 minutes ago, NenaLenz said:

Can you think of any similar kinds of government-wide upgrades? It would be helpful to show folks a model 

Nena, similar to what? Think about it. We don''t even know what KIND of product or upgrade you're talking about. Fasteners? They're in everything. Microchips? They're in almost everything.

I can understand your desire to keep information in confidence. So you're just going to have to go do some research on your own. 

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28 minutes ago, NenaLenz said:

Can you think of any similar kinds of government-wide upgrades?

"Upgrades" in DoD typically refer to system capability enhancements (e.g., "Tomahawk Block IV  upgrade"), which are typically done at the Department, Program Office level (Navy PEO-T, etc.) 

As Vern mentions, DLA typically takes over procurement responsibility from the Departments once a system/item moves to the sustainment stage of the product life cycle; oftentimes  these items are common across Departments.  

You originally made it sound like end-of-life replacement of an obsolete item.  So are you "upgrading" systems, or "replacing" items with a similar (currently available) capability?

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1 hour ago, REA'n Maker said:

"Upgrades" in DoD typically refer to system capability enhancements (e.g., "Tomahawk Block IV  upgrade"), which are typically done at the Department, Program Office level (Navy PEO-T, etc.) 

As Vern mentions, DLA typically takes over procurement responsibility from the Departments once a system/item moves to the sustainment stage of the product life cycle; oftentimes  these items are common across Departments.  

You originally made it sound like end-of-life replacement of an obsolete item.  So are you "upgrading" systems, or "replacing" items with a similar (currently available) capability?

@REA'n Maker Good questions. I don't think this would qualify for an upgrade, and it's not part of a larger effort to overhaul existing systems. The inventory is in the sustainment stage, as you put it.  And it is accurate to say "replacing" items with a similar (currently available) capability. 

Sounds like DLA where we need to go . . . . 

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