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New, More Specific Questions About An RFQ

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Over the last year or so I've experienced several occasions when I submitted questions in response to an RFQ, only to have those questions not answered when the Q&A were published.  I'm wondering why.

Most recently my questions were part of package of questions consolidating the questions from people working on the response.  Some of the questions were answered when the Q&A were published, but mine were not.

Can anyone suggest reasons why this would be?

To help, I'm putting edited versions of the two questions that I asked below.  Is there something about these questions that would trigger a "no response" response?

1)      The pricing spreadsheet asks for proposed hours.  We do not see any basis for estimating any number of hours.  What is the basis that we should use for estimating hours?

2)      On page xx of the RFQ, it is stated “The quote shall include the proposed mix of labor (by category) including the proposed fully burdened rate for each labor category for each year of the 5-year period of performance.”  What is the mix that you will evaluate against?  What do you consider to be the ideal mix?

 

 

 

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You have received 14 responses to your earlier questions.  

Quote

OK, we have 14 responses:  12 votes and 2 posts, as of now, with contrasting results.  Bias has been raised before in the discussions here.  The OP wrote 2 thoughful questions. 

The OP is looking for responses from 

  Quote

For those of you with a history on the buyer side of the fence

Let's reach at least 20 responses by the end of today.

Edited  by bob7947

 

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lotus,

I cannot answer your questions directly, as I was not involved in the acquisition in which you participated.

Generally speaking, from my experience, contracting officers endeavor to answer all reasonable questions, or at least, all questions where the answers might be helpful to prospective offerors in preparing their offers.  But there is no requirement for a contracting officer to answer every question that arises.  In formal solicitation situations, questions are often answered in writing for the benefit of all prospective offerors as a matter of fairness.

I'm wondering -- in your cited example, were your questions apparently ignored (absent "when the Q&A were published"), or did you actually get "a 'no response' response" to each of them?  

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2 hours ago, ji20874 said:

I'm wondering -- in your cited example, were your questions apparently ignored (absent "when the Q&A were published"), or did you actually get "a 'no response' response" to each of them?  

      The questions were ignored.

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Looking at your 2 questions as a whole, it appears you couldn’t fully extract what the solicitation was asking for.  A non-response from the Government would indicate to me that a sufficient number of other prospective contractors didn’t have that same problem.

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4 hours ago, jwomack said:

Looking at your 2 questions as a whole, it appears you couldn’t fully extract what the solicitation was asking for.  A non-response from the Government would indicate to me that a sufficient number of other prospective contractors didn’t have that same problem.

     Perhaps.  But, that is part of the point of asking questions, to gain an understanding of what one does not now understand.

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11 hours ago, lotus said:

Over the last year or so I've experienced several occasions when I submitted questions in response to an RFQ, only to have those questions not answered when the Q&A were published.  I'm wondering why.

Most recently my questions were part of package of questions consolidating the questions from people working on the response.  Some of the questions were answered when the Q&A were published, but mine were not.

Can anyone suggest reasons why this would be?

Surely you understand (but maybe not) that you have not provided enough information for anyone to give you the answer(s) you are looking for. For instance, the answers might depend on whether the procurement was conducted under FAR Subpart 8.4 or Part 13, 14, or 15. The answer might depend of whether all the procurements were conducted by the same agency and same office. However, since you invited us to "suggest" answers, I'm going to do just that. And I'm not being sarcastic.

  1. The CO did not receive your questions (for any of a number of reasons).
  2. Your questions were late.
  3. The CO did not understand your questions.
  4. The CO thought your questions were stupid, impertinent, or reflected profound cluelessness.
  5. The CO already has enough competition to meet legal requirements and didn't want to be bothered with you.
  6. The CO knows who you are and dislikes you or your company based on past experience with you. Maybe hates you.
  7. You are thought to be a gadfly and considered to be something of a nut and a pest.
  8. Some combination of the above or some reason I didn't think of.

Frankly, I take your "questions" to be more of an expression of your irritation or your hope for sympathy than a genuine quest for information.

Tell us, did you call the CO(s) who didn't answer your questions and ask them why they didn't answer?

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10 hours ago, lotus said:

that is part of the point of asking questions, to gain an understanding of what one does not now understand

If you’re a small business you may want to ask your local SBA office for assistance on how to interpret federal solicitations.  COs generally don’t have the time to teach the public elementary contracting.

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9 hours ago, Vern Edwards said:
  1. The CO did not receive your questions (for any of a number of reasons).
  2. Your questions were late.
  3. The CO did not understand your questions.
  4. The CO thought your questions were stupid, impertinent, or reflected profound cluelessness.
  5. The CO already has enough competition to meet legal requirements and didn't want to be bothered with you.
  6. The CO knows who you are and dislikes you or your company based on past experience with you. Maybe hates you.
  7. You are thought to be a gadfly and considered to be something of a nut and a pest.
  8. Some combination of the above or some reason I didn't think of.

Frankly, I take your "questions" to be more of an expression of your irritation or your hope for sympathy than a genuine quest for information.

Tell us, did you call the CO(s) who didn't answer your questions and ask them why they didn't answer?

Sacre bleu! On ne badine pas avec le CO!!

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1 hour ago, jwomack said:

If you’re a small business you may want to ask your local SBA office for assistance on how to interpret federal solicitations. 

I would like to suggest routes that might be less frustrating than contacting the SBA.   You would be in the SBA sphere if you instead contacted your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).  Their expertise would be limited however by the counselors they might have that are familiar with Federal government contracting.   A better organization to reach out to would be your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) as their mission is to assist firms in conducting business with Federal, state and in some cases local governments. 

Website searches of both SBDC's and PTAC's, here using the wording Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, will get you to their particular websites to do additional research on their resources and locations.  Important to use of these resources is that you will probably feel more comfortable on being very specific about your efforts, the agency(s) you are involved with, and the specific solicitations which as noted would be a great help in giving you more specific and direct response to your concerns.

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On 9/6/2018 at 10:56 PM, Vern Edwards said:

Surely you understand (but maybe not) that you have not provided enough information for anyone to give you the answer(s) you are looking for. For instance, the answers might depend on whether the procurement was conducted under FAR Subpart 8.4 or Part 13, 14, or 15. The answer might depend of whether all the procurements were conducted by the same agency and same office. However, since you invited us to "suggest" answers, I'm going to do just that. And I'm not being sarcastic.

  1. The CO did not receive your questions (for any of a number of reasons).
  2. Your questions were late.
  3. The CO did not understand your questions.
  4. The CO thought your questions were stupid, impertinent, or reflected profound cluelessness.
  5. The CO already has enough competition to meet legal requirements and didn't want to be bothered with you.
  6. The CO knows who you are and dislikes you or your company based on past experience with you. Maybe hates you.
  7. You are thought to be a gadfly and considered to be something of a nut and a pest.
  8. Some combination of the above or some reason I didn't think of.

Frankly, I take your "questions" to be more of an expression of your irritation or your hope for sympathy than a genuine quest for information.

Tell us, did you call the CO(s) who didn't answer your questions and ask them why they didn't answer?

As you might have guessed, this is a current RFQ.  And now a mod has been issued that addressed my questions.  They were not answered earlier when the Q&A were published, but it is easy to see that the mod was put together at least in part because of my questions.  (Maybe others asked the same questions, too.)

 

 

 

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I've seen potential vendors go to their counterparts in the program office with questions, thinking that doing so is synonymous with "responding to a solicitation".   I ignore any question that comes in through that route, simply because I'm not convinced that the question is being posed by an individual authorized by the vendor to submit one.

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After release of the solicitation, the contracting officer must be the focal point of any exchange with potential offerors.  FAR 15.201(f).  

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