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Posts posted by Marine_1

  1. In Boof's circumstance, he doesn't 'own' the BPA so he's limited to the constraints of the ordering provisions. I think the other elements of your response are exactly what I've found, as well. FAR 8 generally prescribes the execution of 'orders' against the awarded GSA contracts, so you're bound by the limitations of their legal POP (base and options). Technically, if the contract expires and there are no options, then there is no basis for pricing an order against the BPA. We've always differentiated a 'call' as a FAR 13 BPA action and an 'order' as a FAR 8 BPA action - the language in the respective sections also illustrates this interpretation. I think we're dealing with FAR 8 in Boof's discussion thread. GSA would also assert (and frequently does via their many factoids (not always 100% accurate)) that their schedules have met the intent of CICA and 'fair opportunity' as established by the BPA ordering procedures are the precedent.

  2. There is an NIH BPA FAQ that answers the broader context of your question, irrespective of the 'nomenclature' you're using - see below. I would offer that you can always request a policy waiver, consolidate your requirements as you would against the BPA, and issue you're own Schedule 36 solictation (Office Supplies) via eBuy. You're likely to get a robust response and with selective, or market basket pricing and minimal brand name specific products, get by with a lowest price acceptable outcome.

    Q. Can a BPA Call for services extend beyond the period of performance of the parent BPA?
    A. Yes, BPA Calls for services may extend beyond the period of performance of the parent BPA. However, if a BPA expires and is not renewed, you may not add more funds to the BPA Call.

    Q. Can a BPA Call be placed on a BPA before it expires?

    A. Yes, a BPA Call can be placed against a BPA before it expires. However, performance must begin before expiration of the BPA. A BPA Call cannot be placed against a parent BPA with performance on the BPA Call to commence after the parent BPA ends.

  3. I think the original premise for strategic sourcing - as applied to commoditized products and servies - had merit and was based upon solid economic underpinnings. Turned into a bureaucratic 'instrument of terror' (I jest here) - there is potential for significant unintended consequences. Notably, the short-sighted goal of claiming participation to the exclusion of conventional acquisition planning. Not every requirement will fit into a strategic sourcing category and requirements sponsors and procurement staff should both have a clear understanding of their agency protocols. There are benefits to be attained under a well-executed acquisition strategy that fits such a solution.

  4. Yes, I've seen it, recommended KOs use it, and seen GSA recommend it.


    GSA recommends it because GSA authored it. The paper addresses the content of the briefing but doesn't establish the basis for actually determining 'best value' when using socio-economic status as a primary factor. Is it prudent to award at a 20-30% price premium simply to (presumably) attain a specific small business goal? Doubtful. It appears the logic advanced in the paper is actually incongruent (in spirit, anyway) with GSA's FAR 19 exemption status.

  5. I recently saw a briefing that advocated using socio-economic status (e.g., business size) as a primary factor for selecting an FSS vendor for a services task order. In effect, an SDVOSB firm would receive an 'outstanding' rating, other SBs an 'excellent' rating, and LB concerns a ?fair? rating. Moreover, business size was the highest evaluation factor. FAR 8.405-5 advises that ordering activities may consider socio-economic status, but, given that FAR 19 doesn't apply to GSA orders and the exception at 19.202-1(e) is not implied, this seems a somewhat disingenuous representation of an agency?s need. I?m sure the underlying strategy is intended to comply with the FAR while clearly establishing a preference for small businesses. While it may be legal, I have difficulty accepting the premise that business size could, or should be a more important factor than technical capability, or a similar factor that actually has some measure of price parity. Has anyone else encountered this within their agency, or seen any guidance on the inclusion of such a factor for FSS buys? Thanks.

  6. Vern / Carl - Thanks for the feedback. You've both cited issues that are at the core of the matter. Far too often we are releasing solicitations that have not gone through a complete editorial review; attributed to some shortcomings in our quality processes. It's never good when your solicitation generates 50 questions back from industry with half pointing out conflicts between solicitation sections. This is likely something we'll have to address through training and some measure of standardization. I appreciate the reference links, as well.

  7. I've worked at a couple of different agencies that appear to have opposing standards regarding SOW/PWS content. One school of thought is that 'everything' goes into the SOW/PWS - including key personnel clauses, Section 508 compliance, inspection/acceptance criteria, etc. The other school tends to put the content in the respective solicitation sections. I am from this school - believing the SOW/PWS - ostensibly a program office document - should focus on the work requirements and the other sections of the RFP, or RFQ (essentially following the UCF) belong to the KO and should capture requirements ancillary to the work described. I bring this up in the context of a FAR 8.405 effort requiring a SOW/PWS. This is a relatively straightforward service effort anticipating ~5 FTEs providing on-site tech services. I was surprised to see a 4-pg work statement, less QASP, mushroom into 15 pages - including 3-pgs of 508 compliance - based on KO driven inclusions! I'm all for including necessary content - but this content makes for a very cumbersome work statement - not to mention that I think most of it means nothing to the technical evaluation panel. I don't know that there is a bright line separation but I'm curious if others have a preference, or have run into problems with 'catch all' work statements.

  8. Has your agency's small business rep reviewed the requirement and provided a position to the CO? We often see market research results that simply demonstrate the number of potential offerors rather than illustrating the likely 'capability' of those offerors to provide a viable response that is likely to provide the anticipated value to the government. Other factors should be included in the market assessment - including those that reflect the objectives of the requirement - in making the final determination. I would consult with your small business rep - if the rationale stands up, then that individual can engage with the CO.

  9. Whynot,

    Is the thing that's bothering you mixing two contract types? You said


    If that's it, using more than one type in a single contract is done frequently. For example, preparing a requirements document is fixed price. Then developing a system using the requirements document is T&M or CR.

    In this case, the order under the contractors' GSA Schedule is fixed price with an open market item for cost reimbursable travel.

    I concur with your premise (whether the issue is contract type, or rote interpretation of commerciality), and GSA has not done themselves, nor us, any favors with their ambiguous guidance on the subject. I've worked at two agencies, one DOD, one non-DOD, where the policy and pervialing orthodoxy has been to consider travel incidental - typically under a FFP labor/performance task order - and to reimburse it at cost with a reduced burden and no fee. I don't believe that any of us stand to benefit from a more conservative interpretation, especially given the fluctuations we've seen in airline ticket prices this year. The MAS program is dealing with enough issues related to it's services program and I'm inclined to let business logic drive the matter.

  10. I did describe rollover appropriately. The 2nd sentence of the quote could have been interpreted two ways (as your reply has shown). Failure to avoid transferring only the unearned AF attached to unpurchased quantities (i.e transferring unearned fee for purchased quantities) results in rollover.

    Since the award fee is earned through performance, I don't see how we couldn't include it if we 'rollover' the capacity. As to the idea of having a single, five-year ordering period, would that not require special multi-year authority? Also, how would we actually price out and evaluate the offers, since we usually include the base and options. Can't we use the options and simply allow for ordering during any option period up to the total award amount?

  11. A co-worker has posed the following matter: The ceiling for our entire CPAF, IDIQ contract is $94M, Base Year $10M and 4 option years $21M each. The estimate was $10M for the base year and only $4M was utilized. Can we use the excess ceiling in the option year given we are likely to burn in excess of our estimate? The prevailing view is 'yes,' since the approval to award was based on not exceeding the entire $94M estimated ceiling rather than on annual amounts. There are no clauses in the contract specifically addressing this matter in the exercise of options. We have not yet received a legal position on the matter. Thoughts?

    There is a second aspect to this contract that we are looking into with regard to improving, or simplifying the administration. The contract is currently structured by SLINs with an estimated dollar amount for each leading up to the ceiling. Can we simply state in Section B, the estimated amount for the Year and remove the dollar estimates from the SLINs? Again, the view of the PCO is 'yes,' because we are not changing the ceiling and the estimated SLIN amounts are not realistic. This creates additional admin since the PCO has to modify the basic anytime the estimated amount is exceeded, creating something of a domino effect moving between the SLINs. The result is an administrative nightmare based upon the volume of IDIQ task activity. Suggestions, or guidance? Thanks all.

  12. Marine_1,

    Here is the rule:

    Where does it say "that all GSA requirements must be provided to the largest number of Schedule holders capable of submitting an offer"?

    It doesn't - it comes down to interpretation and judgment. The operative aspects of the rule are 'practicable' and 'consistent with market research.' Some of our PCOs and in some instances Counsel, have conservatively embraced the latitude in the guidance and simply interpreted it to mean post it so everyone on eBuy can have a shot. I completely disagree with the interpretation and the business logic.

  13. What makes you think that you have to use e-Buy?

    The original guidance that came out with the 803 legislation codified at DFARS 208.405-70 c 1, which leaves that matter somewhat open-ended. Counsel has interpreted this to mean that all GSA requirements must be provided to the largest number of Schedule holders capable of submitting an offer, issuing advisory guidance to do so via eBuy. GSA has not helped matters in their marketing of eBuy as a panacea for ensuring maximum competition. Such is the chain of interpretation that ends at the contract specialist.

  14. I'm having a debate with friends on which contract type to use for Translation Service (T&M or IDIQ). The translation service charges per word / language and has a fixed hourly rate. It recently was setup as T&M, and I don't think that was the proper contract type, remind you that the enduser doesn't have a set number/ quantity of words. What do you think? Pleas advise.

    I've always tried to avoid T&M efforts, especially those tied to piece-work. If the work is largely conventional based upon a known language qualification rating (e.g., DLPT 3, etc.) then I would identify the anticipated volume of work based upon historical estimates, or some benchmark measure, build out the pricing around 1860-hrs. for an FTE basis, and identify objectives aligned with some work standard. That way you can fix price the effort around some projected percentage of the FTE workyear and tie that to performance output and quality.

  15. We've had an ongoing internal debate that, as a DOD agency, we're bound to use only e-Buy for our GSA service requirements. I've contended that FAR 8.405 provides the PCO latitude to rely on market research (documented) to support rationale for limited distribution of an RFQ with the objective of receiving and evaluating three (minimum) viable offers. We've use the RFI process with the caveat that only respondents to the RFI would be issued any resulting RFQ. Typically, we've been able generate requirements such that ~50% of RFI responsdents receive the RFQ with a reasonable shot at award. This makes the response volume more competitively viable, as well as more manageable in the evaluation process. Again, it is my opinion that we have met the intent of both FAR and DFARS guidance, preserved the judgmental sanctity of the PCO in doing so, and stand a better shot at soliciting a quality product from the marketplace with this approach. While I see some value in the e-Buy medium itself, in my opinion simply broadcasting a requirement into the marketplace doesn't always ensure you will receive viable responses, unless you're metric is simply one of volume. Given the scenario, my question is two-part: 1) If we continue with our current method of leveraging market research as the basis for our RFQs, are we in violation of standing regulations, and 2) is there a DOD interpretation of FAR 8 that limits a PCO's judgment in selecting a business course of action?

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