‘Myth-Busting’ Part 2: OFPP Tackles Industry Misconceptions
The White House Office of Federal Procurement Policy released a second installment of its “Myth-Busting” campaign on Monday to address misconceptions in the procurement process.
In a memo to federal chief acquisition officers, senior procurement executives and chief information officers, OFPP Acting Administrator Lesley Field said this campaign focuses specifically on the vendor community.
This is a follow-up to the original “Myth-Busting” campaign released in February 2011 that highlighted misconceptions on the part of federal agencies.
The “Myth-Busting” release coincides with the publication of an “Acquisition Collaboration Toolkit” that has been added to the vendor engagement collaboration community of practice on max.omb.gov. The toolkit provides tips, checklists, and additional information on how to use various media tools to host early vendor engagement opportunities.
From the memo:
More effective vendor engagement results from a change in culture in both government and industry organizations. Government professionals must incorporate vendor engagement strategies into their acquisition planning and execution whenever possible. Industry professionals should understand that agencies must balance their limited resources, and that expansion of vendor engagement must begin in those areas most likely to produce positive outcomes in the form of greater efficiency, contract savings, or better requirements development. Together, our efforts will result in more effective solutions to the government’s needs and provide a better value proposition for all of us as taxpayers.
Misconception #1 -“The best way to present my company’s capabilities is by marketing directly to Contracting Officers and/or signing them up for my mailing list.”
Fact: Contracting officers and program managers are often inundated with general marketing material that doesn’t reach the right people at the right time. As an alternative, vendors can take advantage of the various outreach sessions that agencies hold for the purpose of connecting contracting officers and program managers with companies whose skills are needed.
Misconception #2 – “It is a good idea to bring only business development and marketing people to meetings with the agency’s technical staff.”
Fact: In meetings with government technical personnel, it’s far more valuable for you to bring subject matter experts to the meeting rather than focusing on the sales pitch.
Misconception #3 – “Attending industry days and outreach events is not valuable because the agency doesn’t provide new information.”
Fact: Industry days and outreach events can be a valuable source of information for potential vendors and are increasingly being used to leverage scarce staff resources.
Misconception #4 – “Agencies generally have already determined their requirements and acquisition approach so o ur impact during the pre-RFP phase is limited.”
Fact: Early and specific industry input is valuable. Agencies generally spend a great deal of effort collecting and analyzing information about capabilities within the marketplace. The more specific you can be about what works, what doesn’t and how it can be improved, the better.
Misconception #5 -“If I meet one-on-one with agency personnel, they may share my proprietary data with my competition.”
Fact: Agency personnel have a responsibility to protect proprietary information from disclosure outside the government and will not share it with other companies.
Misconception #6 -“Agencies have an obligation not to share information about their contracts, such as prices, with other agencies, similar to the obligation they have not to disclose proprietary information to the public
Fact: There are no general limitations on the disclosure of information regarding existing contracts between agencies within the government. In fact, agencies are encouraged to share pricing information to ensure that we are getting the best value for our taxpayers.
Misconception #7 -“To develop my new proposal, I don’t really need to tailor my solution to the specific solicitation since the government won’t read my proposal that closely anyway.”
Fact: Offerors should tailor each proposal to the evaluation criteria, proposal instructions and specific requirements of the solicitation to which they are responding. Contracting officers and evaluation team members read proposals closely for compliance with the proposal instructions and must evaluate them against the evaluation factors and the statement of work in the solicitation.
Misconception #8 -“If I lose the competition, I shouldn’t bother to ask for a debriefing. The contracting officer won’t share any helpful information with me.
Fact: Unsuccessful offerors should ask for a debriefing to understand the award decision and to improve future proposals.
Myth Busting 2 Addressing Misconceptions and Further Improving Communication During the Acquisition Process