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Building & strengthening relationships in delay-heavy environment?

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Can anyone share any tips for building & strengthening relationships with your Government contracting counterparts in a delay-heavy environment? I'm on the industry side, and joined a new program about 2 months ago that's been plagued by a series of late hardware deliveries, most due to supply chain issues. Many of my communications to the customer so far have been notifying them of these misses, and our plans for mitigating.

Beyond that, I'm trying to develop good working relationships with my PCO, specialist & COR, with limited success so far (COR is great, PCO & specialist are hard to get a hold of). I've spoken with my predecessor about it, and he essentially told me "that's the way it's always been." I've never particularly cared for that mindset, so I'm trying to figure out some solutions. I've spoken with my PCO on other issues, but have not received his buy in on a regular tag up to review ongoing issues/concerns. 

What are some ways a contracts lead in industry can bridge the gap, so to speak, with his Government counterparts? What are some ways he can make things easier for the Government? What do they really care about in this environment? What solutions can I offer my counterparts? I'm still semi-new to Government contracting, so I'm open any ideas or suggestions from some of the more seasoned folks here on this board. 

P.S. My supply chain POC recently told me "I'd hate to be in contracts right now. You're not going to deliver anything on time for the next 5 years." Yay.

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  • 6 months later...

Mike, in an effort to respond to your valid question here (somewhat belatedly) please see my January 27, 2023 post in your topic “How can industry contracts strengthen the Government/industry relationship post award.”

I said: ”I’ll take the risk and offer one more tale from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding establishing post award relationships with contractors. The USACE established a policy in the early 1990’s to offer (in solicitations) a voluntary “partnering “ process with all of our contractors. I won’t elaborate here. Here is a link to the Partnering Process. I think the policy is still in effect.

Each party generally covers their own costs of participation in Partnering. Depending upon the size and complexity of the program, Partnering may also Include all internal and external stakeholders.

Smaller contracts include simpler partnering processes. 

https://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/Portals/70/docs/cpc/91-ADR-P-4_Partnering.pdf. “


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Mike, this program was like pulling teeth to many of the old curmudgeons in the Corps when it first started on some Civil Works projects, then expanded to Military and other programs.

Mobile District and South Atlantic Division ran pilot testing of the Partnering process back in late 1980’s on a Civil Works Navigation Lock replacement contract in Tuscaloosa, AL and a large Military Construction contract at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) at Arnold AFB in Tullahoma, TN .

As I recall, partnering on the Civil works pilot project pretty much failed (old school government participants were involved and the contractor was “difficult”). However, partnering on the Military Construction pilot project at AEDC was a success. The Corps’ Arnold Resident Office Engineer and his Assistant  RE became some of the first partnering Facilitators on contracts Corps-wide.

I don’t know whether the Lock Replacement project was an IFB or RFP. The Arnold project was RFP. I don’t believe that Partnering will be as successful on  IFB projects (low bid), where the price “loser” wins the contract.

Partnering can work well on small contracts too. It’s simpler but the basics of Partnering are applicable to all.

And it isn’t limited to Construction. It’s been used on some large Service contracts,  too. 

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