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I have a PWS which will be solicited under an existing Part 16 ID/IQ Contract (NETCENTS) for the Air Force as a Small Business Set-Aside (of which there are only two small businesses). My customer is requesting an upgrade to their VoIP system and has two alternative solutions which allows for installation on one of two types of servers. One server which they are uncertain will fit within their budget, the other server they believe will fit within their budget.

How can I make this work for my customer so they receive the best solution at the best price? I've considered Best Value with Cost equal to Technical Capabilities but am hung up on the 3rd discriminating factor. I've considered LPTA which obviously won't work. Can I solicit for the higher priced option, and upon receipt of quotes (if the pricing does not fit within the budget), negotiate with all offerors to propose pricing using the lesser server? Or should I just tell my customer to “figure it out”? There just seems to be no easy way to know if their preferred option will fit within their budget, and there is uncertainty of additional funding. Thank you in advance for any guidance you can offer.

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Guest Vern Edwards

Don't you think there is a contradiction between using a PWS (performance work statement), in which you supposedly have specified the outcomes you want, and the statement that LPTA won't work? If you have specified the outcomes, why do you care which "solution" is proposed, and why not use LPTA? In what circumstances would it make sense to pay a higher price?

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Guest Vern Edwards

Carl Culham has pointed out to me in a personal communication that we should avoid referencing FAR Part 15 terms like "LPTA" when talking about a FAR 16.505 fair opportunity process. He's quite right. FAR 16.505(B)(1)(ii) opens the door to some pretty creative solutions to problems like the one Khuggart has asked about. I'm headed for an airport and don't have time to prognosticate right now, but there must be others in the Forum who could suggest some good procedures that don't entail Part 15 complexity.

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I have a PWS which will be solicited under an existing Part 16 ID/IQ Contract (NETCENTS) for the Air Force as a Small Business Set-Aside (of which there are only two small businesses). My customer is requesting an upgrade to their VoIP system and has two alternative solutions which allows for installation on one of two types of servers. One server which they are uncertain will fit within their budget, the other server they believe will fit within their budget.

How can I make this work for my customer so they receive the best solution at the best price?

I'm trying to understand your customer's objectives. Would you please clarify, as it may make a difference as to the approach? Are you saying:

  • The customer has developed 2 "solutions" (either something on one of two existing servers or something on a new servver??)?

  • Are they sure that there are only two solutions or is it because the two firms provide their own solution?

  • Does each of the two small business firms provide only one of the two solutions or can either firm provide one or both solutions?

  • Are you saying that the customer prefers the more expensive solution that only one firm can provide if they can afford it?

  • If so, why (what is the advantage that the customer would describe)?

Thanks.

  • Are you buying a server or something else?

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I'm trying to understand your customer's objectives. Would you please clarify, as it may make a difference as to the approach? Are you saying:

  • The customer has developed 2 "solutions" (either something on one of two existing servers or something on a new servver??)?

  • Are they sure that there are only two solutions or is it because the two firms provide their own solution?

  • Does each of the two small business firms provide only one of the two solutions or can either firm provide one or both solutions?

  • Are you saying that the customer prefers the more expensive solution that only one firm can provide if they can afford it?

  • If so, why (what is the advantage that the customer would describe)?

Thanks.

  • Are you buying a server or something else?

The customer has two possible solutions with installation on one of two servers. They would prefer the solution on the higher end server, but is concerned it may not fit within the budget, so if that is the case the lesser server would suffice. They are intending to purchase the new server. Both small businesses are capable of fulfilling the requirements of either solution for a LSC VoIP System upgrade. I hope this helps...

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Thanks, K. It appears to me that the problem is in knowing which government acquired server will be used for the LSC VoIP System upgrade because the customer doesn't don't know if they can provide the more expensive server... I don't know if there is a price difference for the upgrade itself between the two servers or if the price difference only involves the government furnished server. Am I off in left field? I would think that one can get a good estimate of the price for the servers. The question then is how much does it cost to install the upgrade on the more expensive server.

You can obtain alternate prices from each firm for installing the LSC VoIP System upgrade on either one of the two servers Then tell the proposers that the government will select the upgrade and server that will fit within the budget. You decide and state how important price is vs the non-price factors in the competition.

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