Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Vern Edwards

1102 Work -- Reporting

Recommended Posts

Guest Vern Edwards

Last week I visited a contracting office, and the COs and contract specialists complained about having to use three different data systems to report contract actions. They said that some of the information is overlapping, so that they are inputting the same information more than once. I should add that these are first-rate people who know contracting very well. They are the most knowledgeable working-level people that I have encountered in a while. They are not mere whiners.

My impression after talking to a lot of 1102s is that they must devote a lot of time to inputting report data and that much of it is financial in nature, rather than strictly contractual. I am told that all of the reporting takes up a lot of their time and keeps them from doing other things, like negotiating for better prices and administering their contracts.

Are others of you having similar experiences?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Edwards,

In systems contracting, I have found the business systems and processes to be fairly efficient. While there is certainly some reporting and clerical work to be accomplished, overall it is quite manageable. I'm curious which systems are being referenced. I have to assume most redundant reporting is being done in organizations focused on commercial, SAP, ARRA funding, Part 8, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the office I am currently working in, there are two data systems and a reporting system that are used to communicate contract actions to those who need that information. First is the actual contract software, SPS in our office, second is FPDS-NG and the reporting system is a weekly email with a specific format that goes up the chain from each division within the command.

None of those are particularly difficult, nor do they take an inordinate amount of time.

I have found that the changes made in the DoD contracting system that the finance people required back in 2005 have made contract generation a bit more difficult and is causing problems in SPS due to the fact that those changes have doubled and tripled the number of subCLINS that need to be contained within each contract. That is particularly true for the big ID/IQ contracts, one of which has 6,000 line items, each with mulitiple subCLINS required for the financial systems.

For that contract, the generation of DO's, matching CLINS and other technical procedures takes up to 45 minutes to complete, while the 1102 sits on their hands and waits. Somehow I think that there is a better way to do that, but I have not done the research to find that solution. The command is looking at it now but has not resolved it either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Last week I visited a contracting office, and the COs and contract specialists complained about having to use three different data systems to report contract actions. They said that some of the information is overlapping, so that they are inputting the same information more than once. I should add that these are first-rate people who know contracting very well. They are the most knowledgeable working-level people that I have encountered in a while. They are not mere whiners.

My impression after talking to a lot of 1102s is that they must devote a lot of time to inputting report data and that much of it is financial in nature, rather than strictly contractual. I am told that all of the reporting takes up a lot of their time and keeps them from doing other things, like negotiating for better prices and administering their contracts.

Are others of you having similar experiences?

The automated procurement systems, whether or not integrated with financial management systems, have clericalized the very contracting workforce Congress and procurement managers sought to professionalize starting in the 1990s. While I do not have empirical data, only observations, I believe highly paid 1102s spend much, or most, of their time chasing electrons through the system in a vain attempt to create comprehensible procurement documents. The more serious consequences of this misdirected effort include the 1) issuance of documents that can't be read or understood, and 2) the creation of a demoralized workforce. The most serious consequence is the creation of a "professional" workforce that does not know the contents of the provisions and clauses contained in the documents it issues and that spends more time finding workarounds for obstacles in the procurement system than in defining and achieving good business deals.

The solution is to turn the keystroke and mouse movements back to a support staff of 1106s and to hire 1105s to do simplified acquisitions. Let?s build a professional workforce that can apply the regulations and can create good business deals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

napolik,

I agree with this:

The solution is to turn the keystroke and mouse movements back to a support staff of 1106s and to hire 1105s to do simplified acquisitions. Let?s build a professional workforce that can apply the regulations and can create good business deals.

But what's also needed are a few 1102's that understand not only contracting but automated systems such as SPS and financial ones. We can't expect finance people to understand contracting needs nor can an entire office of 1102s, much less 1105s and 1106s, understand finance needs. Whether we like it or not, contracting and financial professional are highly dependent on automation and integrated systems. Some people in the contracts office to bridge that gap in the design, development, and operation of systems are required.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
napolik,

I agree with this:

But what's also needed are a few 1102's that understand not only contracting but automated systems such as SPS and financial ones. We can't expect finance people to understand contracting needs nor can an entire office of 1102s, much less 1105s and 1106s, understand finance needs. Whether we like it or not, contracting and financial professional are highly dependent on automation and integrated systems. Some people in the contracts office to bridge that gap in the design, development, and operation of systems are required.

Ok, a few managers need to understand the interfaces between finance and contracting, but that does not mean working level 1102s need to spend inordinate amounts of time fighting with SPS. Back when my hair was brown and document copies were produced via carbon paper, a document preparation branch produced solicitations and contracts. 1106s did DD 350s, not to mention drafts of solicitation amendment, contract awards, and contract modifications. 1102s focused on the contents of solicitation and contracts, source selection processes and business deals.

Why cannot these clerical functions be done today by staff supporting 1102s just as they were 40 years ago? Given today's IT infrastructures, this should be easy to do.

k

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DWGERARD,

Regarding your comment about big ID/IQ contracts, with 6,000 line items:

"For that contract, the generation of DO's, matching CLINS and other technical procedures takes up to 45 minutes to complete, while the 1102 sits on their hands and waits. Somehow I think that there is a better way to do that, but I have not done the research to find that solution. The command is looking at it now but has not resolved it either."

The simple answer would be to use Exhibits (ELINS) external to SPS, vice an extensive list of CLINS/SLINS in SPS.

TAP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DWGERARD,

Regarding your comment about big ID/IQ contracts, with 6,000 line items:

"For that contract, the generation of DO's, matching CLINS and other technical procedures takes up to 45 minutes to complete, while the 1102 sits on their hands and waits. Somehow I think that there is a better way to do that, but I have not done the research to find that solution. The command is looking at it now but has not resolved it either."

The simple answer would be to use Exhibits (ELINS) external to SPS, vice an extensive list of CLINS/SLINS in SPS.

TAP

This is a good idea for agencies who pay invoices through systems other than Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF). DoD uses DFAS and DFAS uses WAWF and WAWF interfaces with SPS, therefore, ELINS external to SPS will not work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leo is correct in that listing the subclins outside of SPS as exhibits would not satisfy the financial teams requirements, which is why we have set up the contract that way in the first place.

I agree it would be nice to set it up that way that Tap described, but the finance folks had more weight in influencing the changes in 2005 than the contracting community.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Leo is correct in that listing the subclins outside of SPS as exhibits would not satisfy the financial teams requirements, which is why we have set up the contract that way in the first place.

I agree it would be nice to set it up that way that Tap described, but the finance folks had more weight in influencing the changes in 2005 than the contracting community.

DFARS 204.7104 Contract subline items states:

?Exhibits may be used instead of putting a long list of contract line items or subline items in the contract schedule.?

Example:

ID/IQ service contract for a base and 4 option years with 100 ?line items? each year. The contract Section B structure would be 5 CLINS, one for each year, and the ?line items? would actually be ELINS. The Unit of Issue for the CLINS would be $US, and the Unit Price $1.00. Let?s says you wanted to order 20 different services (?line items?) off of the schedule totaling $50K. You actually have only one CLIN to match in SPS, the appropriate Base or Option Year ID/IQ CLIN. You order a quantity of 50,000 $US off of that CLIN. The task order SLIN is an informational ?placeholder? for the payer referencing the fund ACRN and funding document number from Section G. The actual ?line items? or ELINS ordered would be on an exhibit external to SPS.

This is the way we do it at NAVFAC. I don?t pay my particular service contracts through WAWF, but I know others in my that office do.

You might want to check out DAU?s CLC 033 Contract Format And Structure For Dod E-Biz.

I hope this helps.

TAP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vern,

Going back to your question, I think the answer varies a lot by agency. There are some that use their automated procurement/contract writing system and take full advantage of the software's capabilities. This allows them to literally do no extra data entry except for such things as ARRA and internal agency reporting. At the other extreme, a few agencies spend a large amount of their daily work time doing reporting both externally like FPDS-NG and internally with their finance, budget, comptroller, program, headquarters, etc. offices.

I know there are a lot of agencies in the same situation as the one you described and visited - "use three different data systems to report contract actions. They said that some of the information is overlapping, so that they are inputting the same information more than once." But the cause isn't hopeless because I've also seen other agencies fix that. Now if they are an SPS user, there is an obvious limitation on what they can do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards

Thanks, formerfed. I was beginning to think that we had been sidelined into an extended discussion of CLIN structuring and exhibits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I switched from DOD last year to the VA. The VA uses eCMS to write contracts. It still has a lot of data calls like SPS. They are pulling more and more from our "data fields" to track projects and for things that Congress wants.

I will say that writing a contract in SPS took a LOT longer than writing one in eCMS. eCMS allows you to copy contracts and stuff. While SPS was this great idea (NOT), most of the utilities that our office with DOD had (Corps of Engineers) did not work. You could not import pictures, pdfs, etc. FPDS reporting was done separately from SPS. Your FBO announcements were done separately from SPS.

With eCMS, all of that is done within the system. Your FBO notice is created and connected to FBO through eCMS. Your FPDS reporting is tied into the eCMS and you can not physically award the contract in the system without doing it (or modifying it).

eCMS is not perfect, but was a very very much welcome change from the perils of SPS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My 2-cents: As an 1102 with DoD, I am beleaguered by the overwhelming financial software/systems now required in Contracting (particularly at base-level). In addition to the previously named systems, other DISA-bred contracting/financial intersect technologies that 1102s must endure, also include: ?ABSS? (to develop, process funding documents) into SPS/PD2? which, in-turn, pushes financial data into ?IAPS?, for storage in ?EDA/EDM? for retrieval via ?EFR?. All of these are accomplished before DISA?s ?WAWF? even comes into the equation. Then, the fun really amps up!! We, (by the use of WAWF) are alienating new vendors with this highly cumbersome finance-based software program. In the past month my office has lost several more good, small-business sources --- as they were all frustrated by WAWF and bailed. The basic construct for these systems is for financial data mining purposes --- albeit via contract related data. (Providing only the slightest degree of actual Contracting products.) If this level of systemic "interaction" were thrust upon senior leadership to suffer through (merely to accomplish a single, simple, quick task), I feel fairly certain that some serious revisions/reductions would be imminent.

From personal experience, straight-forward acquisition functions that could previously be done in less than an hour, now (with the benefit of so many systems to ?help? me), takes on average of up to 3-hours. Where are the systems? performance proficiencies here?? the systemic LEAN concepts / Smart Ops / Root Cause Analysis fish-bones to alleviate this multifarious PC ?Hydra??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My 2-cents: As an 1102 with DoD, I am beleaguered by the overwhelming financial software/systems now required in Contracting (particularly at base-level). In addition to the previously named systems, other DISA-bred contracting/financial intersect technologies that 1102s must endure, also include: ?ABSS? (to develop, process funding documents) into PD2? which, in-turn, pushes financial data into ?IAPS?, for storage in ?EDA/EDM? for retrieval via ?EFR?. All of these are accomplished before DISA?s ?WAWF? even comes into the equation. Then, the fun really amps up!! We, (by the use of WAWF) are alienating new vendors with this highly cumbersome finance-based software program. In the past month my office has lost several more good, small-business sources --- as they were all frustrated by WAWF and bailed. The basic construct for these systems is for financial data mining purposes --- albeit via contract related data. (Providing only the slightest degree of actual Contracting products.) If this level of systemic "interaction" were thrust upon senior leadership to suffer through (merely to accomplish a single, simple, quick task), I feel fairly certain that some serious revisions/reductions would be imminent.

From personal experience, straight-forward acquisition functions that could previously be done in less than an hour, now (with the benefit of so many systems to ?help? me), takes on average of up to 3-hours. Where are the systems? performance proficiencies here?? the systemic LEAN concepts / Smart Ops / Root Cause Analysis fish-bones to alleviate this multifarious PC ?Hydra??

Does anyone think an 1106 Procurement Assistant could create documents in SPS or other "Automated Procurement Systems", could pull documents from ABSS, could wrestle with WAWF or could do the keystrokes necessary for data entry in PPIRS?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

soboco's situation is a great example of what I meant by variation between agencies at one extreme. At the other end, some agencies use PD (not PD2) that is seamlessly inregrated with Monmentun (financial package built by the same developer). That allows program offices to prepare requisitions, automatically obtain funding approval, and send the requisition to the contracts office. Once a contract award is made, a finacial obligation gets recorded, all without any further action by the procurement office. FPDS data also gets captured and transmitted, again with no further action by the procurement office.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards
Does anyone think an 1106 Procurement Assistant could create documents in SPS or other "Automated Procurement Systems", could pull documents from ABSS, could wrestle with WAWF or could do the keystrokes necessary for data entry in PPIRS?

Yes. Any reasonably intelligent human being could do that if properly trained to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vern, that was a major reason for me retiring from 1102. It came to the point that clerical, data entry, and automated systems capability became the success factors almost to the demise of thinking, planning, researching, and using good business judgement. I suppose one could say the same for the clerical capability in the pre internet/database days. The procurement and financial database fiefdoms reign supreme. And that's why we need top quality 1106s -- to offload as much as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vern, that was a major reason for me retiring from 1102. It came to the point that clerical, data entry, and automated systems capability became the success factors almost to the demise of thinking, planning, researching, and using good business judgement. I suppose one could say the same for the clerical capability in the pre internet/database days. The procurement and financial database fiefdoms reign supreme. And that's why we need top quality 1106s -- to offload as much as possible.

Certainly a well hashed over issue these recent years but the last sentence in this post "resonates" well with my own experience and observations even more so than ever lately.

In my present shop we have one full-time Proc. Tech and one part-time to support 7 contract specialists with a robust workload. But that ratio is not the whole story nor ever is completely until one deeply analyzes how all the parts work in practice. It is most definitely exacerbated by: 1. Weakly defined or non defined in-house processes that do not clearly define the Proc. Tech roles versus the 1102 roles as to what would work out best; 2. Lack of frequent and quality communication within the shop about shop performance issues (the hear no evil, speak no evil thing) 3. And lead shop management by relative new-comer to this agency where in-house office processes are not as structured or "canned" as they were in the agency from whence they came from - where they never had to synthesize their own office work flows - create something out of nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I started out as an intern in DoD, the typical "shop" in large buying offices/commands had 1105's and 1106's as well as administrative staff to do all the clerical work and reporting. The 1102's had time to plan, do research, conduct acquisitions including preparing solicitations and contract documents, and especially negotiate business deals. Usually the CO was also the supervisor and having a warrant was something special and got earned.

I think two things happened that eliminated or greatly reduced the number of 1105s and 1106s. One was acquisition reform along with automation. Together they were supposed to simplify things and free up time. The other was the government (Administration and OMB) deciding to control agency budgets by counting/managing by FTE's. The problem is a GS-13 contract specialist counted the same as a GS-5 1105 or 1106. So mangers decided they needed contract specialists more and these contract specialists could do data entry and reporting, especially since they were aided by automation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this topic has been dead for awhile, but a new system was just implemented for my command.

The Army Contracting Command just implemented the Virtual Contracting Enterprise where we have to manually input all of our contract actions that were in pre-award status as of 1 Oct 2011 and for everything else for the foreseeable future. The following has to be input into this system: contracts, modifications, delivery/task orders, purchase orders, protests. The type of information this system wants is PR number, KO name, customer information, procurement method, contract type, funding information, major milestone dates (forecasts and actuals) and contract number. Everytime you take an action on a procurement or contract you have to log-in and update the information in this system. Very cumbersome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I started out as an intern in DoD, the typical "shop" in large buying offices/commands had 1105's and 1106's as well as administrative staff to do all the clerical work and reporting. The 1102's had time to plan, do research, conduct acquisitions including preparing solicitations and contract documents, and especially negotiate business deals. Usually the CO was also the supervisor and having a warrant was something special and got earned. I think two things happened that eliminated or greatly reduced the number of 1105s and 1106s. One was acquisition reform along with automation. Together they were supposed to simplify things and free up time. The other was the government (Administration and OMB) deciding to control agency budgets by counting/managing by FTE's. The problem is a GS-13 contract specialist counted the same as a GS-5 1105 or 1106. So mangers decided they needed contract specialists more and these contract specialists could do data entry and reporting, especially since they were aided by automation.
Emphasis added. Yes, this is an old topic, but it does strike a cord with me. In my observation, automation did free up time. But think about people who move into a bigger house because they need space for all their crap. What happens shortly thereafter? They fill the bigger house to the brim with more needless crap. Then they move into a bigger house ... raise your electronic hand if you are guilty of this. :P As an 1102, in my prior organization roughly 10 to 15% of my time was spent tracking down data for endless data calls (usually redundant ones at that). And that was increasing, up until the point I left. It was mind numbing. "Be sure to put a cover sheet on your TPS reports!" "Did get that memo?" Data calls and reporting aren't really an issue in my current organization; the problem in is MASSIVE contract admin. I'm overwhelmed with incremental funding modifications, deobligations, new orders under single award IDIQs, etc. There simply aren't enough 1105s and 1106s to go around (ours are plenty busy just doing new actions under the SAT). It is frustrating, and demoralizing. So I'm looking at other career options. I keep thinking things will get better, that I'll get to do true 1102 work soon. We're about to go through a big reorg soon, so we'll see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FPDS is the main system that my agency reports into after all contract actions. The good thing is that FPDS has the ability to pull information from our acquisition system (Momentum). The bad news is that it doesn't always pull data and we have to manually enter in everything, which takes a lot of time and effort. It seems like we are just duplicating information to be quite honest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...