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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: Tuesday, January 7, 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 Courtney Fairchild, President & Co-Founder, Global Services; WIPP Vice Chair, Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2019

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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Regulations & Rules Update - December 2019

Posted By Advocacy Team, Monday, December 23, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Regulatory Recap: Flurry of Federal Contracting Regulations You Should Know About

 

In the past several months, SBA has taken significant actions on contracting policy that affect small government contractors. They are in various stages—some are proposed rules, some are finalized. WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan outlined the summaries and status of the actions federal contractors should be following. 



Wide-Reaching FAR Rule Touches Every Government Contractor


In the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress directed federal agencies to stop using products and services from six Chinese companies in Section 889 of the bill, in order to combat national security and intellectual property threats that face the United States. Moving quickly, the FAR Council issued an interim final rule in August to implement this change, which has the potential of impacting all government contractors, large or small. Any government action that affects 139,730 small entities will have wide-reaching effects.


Learn more about how it will directly impact your business.

Tags:  federal contracting  regulatory 

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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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Wide-Reaching FAR Rule Touches Every Government Contractor

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Tuesday, November 19, 2019

In the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed federal agencies to stop using products and services from six Chinese companies in Section 889 of the bill. Those companies include: Huawei, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, and Dahua Technology Company. 


Moving quickly, the FAR Council issued an interim final rule, Prohibition on Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment, which became effective on August 13, 2019, and broadly prohibits federal agencies from using telecommunications or surveillance equipment or services from these six companies.

AnnSullivan

Next year, step two, which prohibits any government contractor from using any components or services from these companies is expected to go into effect. Known as Section 889, this action has the potential of impacting all government contractors, large or small—even micropurchases.  


While no one doubts that these companies pose a threat to the nation’s cybersecurity, any government action that affects 139,730 small entities will have wide reaching effects. That was the theme of my participation on a panel at GSA on Section 889. I joined five other panelists to speak about how Section 889 will affect government contractors, especially small businesses.

 

 Think for a minute about complying with this new requirement. For example, do you know who manufacturers your desk phones? Do you know what brand the surveillance equipment in your building? If you travel internationally, do you know the telecom carrier you use in your office or hotel? Replacement of equipment will surely carry a cost, but figuring out usage of any components or services from these six companies will prove to be difficult.


The new FAR rules will not only impact your employees and your physical facility, it will also extend to your workforce comprised of 1099 contractors. A small business owner shared that this new Section 889 requirement could result in her contractors opting out of federal work because the new requirements will be too tough to comply with.


One of my fellow panelists joked that these new requirements will provide full employment to lawyers and compliance experts for years to come. Small businesses will likely need to hire a compliance specialist as well as a specialist to source equipment to stay in compliance with the new rule. One small business stated that it will cost them $10,000 to conduct an audit and provide governance structure, $10,000 for new equipment, and $10,000 to change all of her contracts and educate her 1099s. An audience participant estimated a cost of $150,000 just for new equipment alone.


My greatest concern is that small businesses will not understand the implications of this new requirement until it smacks them in the face—until they don’t qualify for federal work or a prime contractor demands a certification of compliance.  


So, what can the government do to increase awareness among industry about the potential impact of Section 889? First, the government can use small business offices (OSDBUs) and small business specialists to share information about Section 889. Second, GSA can do informational webinars about the impact of the new rule. Third, the government should involve the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) network. And finally, the government should engage organizations, like WIPP to spread the word about the new Section 889 rule.


Staying on top of acquisition policies, like Section 889, directly affects your bottom line. That’s the beauty of WIPP – we are dedicated to keeping you informed and engaged.


Tags:  advocacy  FAR  federal contracting 

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Is it Possible to Grow a Federal Contracting Business in Tumultuous Times?

Posted By Gloria Larkin, President & CEO, TargetGov, Friday, November 15, 2019
Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019

The federal government marketplace is facing a dramatic shift driven both by the maturity of the market and a new administration.

Most government contracting businesses are started by individuals with an area of expertise (engineering, IT services, construction, public relations, accounting, etc.), or a passion (serve the warfighter, make the world a better place, inform the public, save the environment, etc.). Armed with some validation that there is a market for these skills and knowledge, perhaps by working for another government contractor or as a government employee, they strike out to establish or grow their own businesses.

The effort to start or grow a government contracting business of any kind is overwhelming in a steady marketplace. Legal structure/filings, accounting compliance, capital funding, facilities, and hiring staff are the just the beginning. When a firm tackles the business of federal contracting there are the additional steps of registrations and socio-economic set-aside status requires even more paperwork and time.

The critical next step is the hunt for actual solid business opportunities. Which agencies are buying what the business sells? Who are those agencies currently buying from? Through which contract vehicles? At what price? How does a business distinguish itself? How does one identify and reach decision makers? Businesses that have won at least one federal contract have successfully answered most of these questions and defied the odds. In most cases, it was the founders who blazed this trail and won the initial contracts – and then performed the work to fulfill those contracts.

But today even well-established government contractors are challenged by uncertain budgets, changing agency missions, and fluid priorities.

This is the time in the lifecycle of a government contracting business when the owners must make a decision. How can the business grow beyond the individual contributions and reach of the founders? How does one adapt to this changing marketplace and win more contracts? The next usual step is to hire additional business development capacity and expertise.

 


The traditional approach has been to hire a seasoned federal business development professional, which is now fraught with risk and expense especially if that individual is expected to step into the shoes of one of the founders or key business line managers.

That manager or founder may struggle with defining business development expectations clearly, delegating authority or exhibiting the patience to allow sales and business development staff to learn, grow, develop relationships and produce results.

The federal procurement marketplace is also changing. According to Government Executive, 43% of federal contracting officers will retire between 2014 and 2018. With those retirements go long term relationships that have benefitted incumbent contractors. This is bad news for the incumbents but good news for other contractors.

The Office of Management and Budget also now requires more outreach by federal agencies to the vendor community prior to the issuance of solicitations. These outreach activities include industry days, small business conferences, sources sought notices and Request for Information. Federal procurement has become very event driven.

Relationships are still very important and they are formed by participating in the events sponsored by the agencies. They are throwing a party (figuratively speaking) and expect well-informed vendors to show up. And, the combination of rapidly growing retirements of government personnel and the recent hiring freeze enacted by the new administration severely limits opportunities for federal contractors to have one on one time with decision makers.

For those companies responding to these market changes and positioning to grow, smart government contractors are creating highly disciplined business development “engines” that leverage adaptive industry best practices and the knowledge and skills of the owners and subject matter experts. They then bring in additional outside resources to expand capacity.

 

Need to know more?

WIPP Members can access Gloria's WIPP Education Platform webinar:

Building Infrastructure to Manage Your Federal Contracts


This business development engine consists of a structured approach to gathering market intelligence on agencies, contract vehicles, opportunities and competition, executing action items related to the analysis of that data, following rules for determining whether to bid, choosing smartly when and how to team with others, and following a disciplined marketing outreach program.

If designed properly, this business development engine consists of a blend of technologies, processes and people with varying levels of business, marketing and analytical skills. This innovative structure has proven to produce incredible financial results – and is scalable and repeatable – freeing the owners or managers to take on more strategic initiatives.

Gone are the days of the lone business development professional circling the beltway, sitting in lobbies and depending upon their friends for referrals. This has been replaced by discipline, process, and results.

 

This post originally appeared on TargetGov. WIPP features guest blog posts from our members! Please reach out to the WIPP marketing department to be featured. 

 

Tags:  federal contracting  guest post  membership 

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more Calendar

1/22/2020
WIPP Policy Update - January 2020

2/12/2020
WIPP Policy Update - February 2020

3/11/2020
WIPP Policy Update - March 2020

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WIPP Policy Update - April 2020

5/13/2020
WIPP Policy Update - May 2020

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