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Federal Contracting: Opportunities In the Face of Challenge

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

While many segments of the economy are experiencing unprecedented loss, one sector of the economy, the federal government, is rapidly increasing its spending to combat the COVID-19 virus. Reported spending obligations for COVID-19 as of May 18 are about $11.6 billion and are expected to increase in the coming weeks. (Note: every time the numbers are updated, the previous link will reflect those updates.) Here are a few of the numbers you should be aware of as a federal contractor.

Elizabeth Sullivan Agencies flowing the most dollars to small businesses are the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Small Business Administration (SBA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS) and Agriculture (USDA). Veterans Affairs has awarded over $624 million, while SBA has the second highest dollars to small businesses with $573 million. Of the total dollars spent by the Department of Homeland Security so far on coronavirus, about 20% was awarded to small businesses. That is a little over $317 million of the total $1.6 billion spent as of May 18, 2020. 

Dollars are also being awarded to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). Across all agencies, since March, over $735 million has been awarded to WOSBs to assist with COVID-19 relief. Just for some context – this number has exceeded the total dollars awarded for WOSBs in FY2018, which was $473.1 million. So, in a matter of months, the dollars awarded have exceeded an entire fiscal year’s previous spend. This increase has been across small business programs – service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) also have been awarded $578 million and HUBZone companies $161 million. 

A few examples of how and what federal agencies are pursuing in terms of COVID-19 assistance include HHS refocusing its research contracts to seek assistance with COVID-19 and the Army seeking new technology to help prevent, treat and manage the coronavirus. The SBA is on a hiring spree given their new responsibility to process $620 billion in loans to small businesses.

So, how can you take advantage of this new spending? In addition to working with  your existing federal customers, there are two other ways to showcase your capabilities to assist with COVID-19.

  1. Sign up on the Disaster Response Registry in SAM, where you can submit your COVID-19 related capability statements and product offerings. This registry is used agency-wide.
  2. Submit inquiries to the DHS Procurement Action Innovative Response (PAIR) Team. DHS created this in response to the surge of incoming industry offers of help and innovative ideas to support the fight against COVID-19. 

By the time you read this, more dollars will have been spent. Make sure you are taking advantage of these opportunities now. 

 

 

Tags:  Federal Procurement Opportunities 

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Ringing In the New Year with New Mass Mods

Posted By Courtney Fairchild, President & Co-Founder, Global Services; WIPP Board of Directors, Vice Chair, Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

This is the second in a series of blog posts on the GSA MAS Consolidation. Read the first blog post.

 

Phase 1 of GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Consolidation was implemented on October 1, 2019. That change had no impact on existing GSA Schedule holders—but as GSA gears up for the next phases in January 2020, contractors should prepare for changes coming their way. 


Courtney Fairchild

Phase II

 

At the end of January, GSA will initiate a Mass Modification (Mod) where all existing contract holders will be instructed to accept the new Terms and Conditions (T&C) under the Consolidated Multiple Award Schedule. Accepting the new T&C will not change any other components of a contractor’s Schedule.


Contractors will retain their contract number(s) and previously negotiated factors such as Basis of Award (BOA) and customer/delivery discounts. However, changes will be made to GSA sites such as eMod, eBuy, eLibrary, and GSA Advantage, to reflect the new solicitation items. Contractors will have the ability to update their contracts, but the Add/Delete SIN option will be unavailable on eMod until early March to ensure that all Phase II Mods are processed first. 

 


Phase III

 

Phase III, anticipated around July, will affect contractors who have more than one current GSA Schedule Contract. Prior to this Mod, GSA will contact affected contractors with consolidation options specific to their held contracts. During this Phase, contractors will work to consolidate their separate Schedules (e.g. PSS and IT) into a single MAS Consolidated Schedule. GSA and contractors will work together to decide how to best consolidate their offerings through the addition/deletion of SINs on the contractor-selected singular surviving contract. 


How to Prepare

 

Prior to any Mod, contractors should:

 

  • Join the MAS community on GSA’s Interact site.

  • Review the new solicitation.

  • Review the new SIN structure via Available Offerings attachment.

  • Ensure contract is up-to-date.

  • Ensure completion of all previous Mods.

  • Review and understand your Pricelist.


If you have questions about the Phase II or Phase III Mod, you can reach out to GSA’s MAS Program Management Office (PMO) at MASPMO@GSA.gov. For questions specific to your contract, it’s best to email your assigned Contracting Officer (CO) directly to discuss. These changes can be jarring, but please remember there is a support system in place to guide you. 

 

 

Want to know more?

View the free ChallengeHER on-demand webinar from Courtney Fairchild

 

 

Tags:  federal contracting  Federal Procurement  Federal Procurement Opportunities 

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The GSA MAS Consolidation: Catalyst for Change in GovCon

Posted By Laura Berry, Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

This is the first in a series of blog posts on the GSA MAS Consolidation. Read the second blog post.

 

On October 1, 2019, GSA released their much anticipated Consolidated Schedule. The GSA Schedules Program, which previously included 24 Schedules, is now an overarching Solicitation (#47QSMD20R0001, Refresh #0000) with 12 Large Categories/various Subcategories. 


Courtney Fairchild

When consolidating all 24 Schedules into one, GSA selected the list of major contenders (the Government’s most purchased goods/services) and divided them into Large Categories, which resemble GSA’s Category Management Initiative. Within each Large Category, complementary services/products are further divided into subcategories, and these subcategories are further broken down into Special Item Numbers (SINs). For those of you who have had a contract for years these changes can be overwhelming, but I’m here to break it down for you.


Firstly, goodbye random SIN Numbers, hello NAICS-forward SINs! Up till now, understanding the GSA Schedules meant learning a complicated and arbitrary set of SIN numbers and descriptions. Under the new solicitation, GSA reworked the SIN numbers to align with the much more familiar NAICS code system. Under the legacy solicitation, for example, one just had to know that Perpetual Software Licenses was SIN 132-33, with a NAICS code of 511210. Now, the Software Licenses SIN is just 511210. 

 

 For the most part, there’s a clear, one-to-one correspondence like this between the old and new SINs. For those mappings that aren’t so clear, keep an eye out for GSA’s updated Old SIN vs. New SIN Crosswalk to decipher which SIN numbers you are proposing this go around. 

 

Want to know more?

View the free ChallengeHER on-demand webinar from Courtney Fairchild


Secondly, GSA has broadened past performance options! Previously, contractors had to demonstrate successful past performance by purchasing an Open Ratings, Inc. Report. For companies with pre-existing Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), the Open Ratings requirement was redundant—why get a new report when the Government already has documentation of your performance? GSA listened: now, a Schedule offer requires three or more CPARs, if you have them. And while the Consolidated Schedule solicitation still allows for Open Ratings Reports, as of December 6, 2019, Open Ratings is no longer accepting new orders. If you have an existing, valid Open Ratings Report already, you may use it. Otherwise, offerors who cannot demonstrate Past Performance via CPARs will instead need to provide a Past Performance Narrative containing brief project descriptions and points of contact. 


Thirdly, what happens in the legacy program, stays in the legacy program. Previously, any rejected submission had to be provided and narratively addressed during the next submission attempt. Contractors are now no longer required to disclose pending, current, or rejected submissions. 


Lastly, most submissions now only require only one Relevant Project Experience narrative per proposed SIN, EXCEPT the Large Category IT, which requires two. (Note: some IT Subcategories also have additional requirements beyond that—always check the SIN’s requirements!). Under the legacy solicitation, contractors had to provide anywhere from one to three projects, depending on which Schedule and SIN they were pursuing. This made it hard for younger companies without a long history of Project Experience to get on Schedule. 


I am very excited to see how GSA has listened to stakeholder feedback in this endeavor. I believe this new MAS Solicitation will make the submission process more readily available for industry partners and more user-friendly for government buyers. And with less redundancy and confusion, contractors will see more benefit in getting on Schedule. Change is good.

Tags:  federal contracting  Federal Procurement  Federal Procurement Opportunities 

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Advocacy Update: Legislation Introduced to Encourage Agencies to Use Small Businesses

Posted By Advocacy Team, Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The WIPP-supported bill, The Promoting Rigorous and Innovative Cost Efficiencies for Federal Procurement and Acquisitions (PRICE) Act of 2019 (S. 3038)was introduced this week, which addresses agency utilization of small businesses in the federal marketplace. We are thrilled to see this bill introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) and will continue to advocate for its passage. 

 

Read WIPP’s combined letter of support for the bill.


As many small businesses find that agencies continue to be reluctant to use small business programs, this bipartisan bill addresses this prevailing issue by requiring the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to convene the existing Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC) to identify and disseminate best practices in non-defense small business contracting in the federal government. The CAOC would also be required to solicit public input and engage with governmental and nongovernmental experts.

The PRICE Act will positively impact the way in which this valuable information is gathered and shared with the public and across the federal government, as well as provide increased opportunities for small businesses by educating the acquisition workforce on best practices for using small business programs.

 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  federal contracting  Federal Procurement  Federal Procurement Opportunities  legislation 

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9/29/2020 » 10/1/2020
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10/19/2020
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10/21/2020
WIPP Community Connections - October 2020

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