OFPP busts myths, offers 8 ways to make your customer happy

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy released its second myth busting memo May 7 which gives industry a few pointers on how to be a better vendor.

The memo lays out eight misconceptions that vendors may have and then debunks them. Like the first myth-busting memo, which debunked government officials’ misconceptions about acquisition, the intent is the same: improve how government and industry work together.

OFPP recommends that vendors:

  • Avoid putting contracting officers on mass email lists. They are already inundated with marketing mail. Instead, send targeted emails about specific capabilities or projects.
  • Send technical experts to one-on-one sessions with contracting officers instead of business development and marketing people.
  • Go to industry days. OFPP emphasized the point, particularly as agencies’ resources become scarce.
  • Give input to contracting officers in the early phases of a procurement. Officials can benefit from comments and insights from industry on acquisition planning.
  • Don't "cut and paste" past solicitations into new bids.
  • Tailor each proposal to the evaluation criteria and proposal instructions. Contracting officials and evaluation teams read proposals closely.
  • Ask for a debriefing if you lose a competition for a contract. The meeting may help in preparing for future competitions.

OFPP also tells companies in the memo that federal officials are obligated to protect proprietary information and not share it with other competing companies. Contracting officers are generally not limited on how much information they can share regarding existing contracts between agencies.

“In fact, agencies are encouraged to share pricing information to ensure that we are getting the best value for our taxpayers,” according to the memo.

Officials have vendor communication plans and the Chief Acquisition Officers Council worked with the Integrated Acquisition Environment team at the General Services Administration to develop a new vendor collaboration feature on Federal Business Opportunities website. It lists scheduled collaboration events, such as industry days.

FedBizOps provides quick access to agency vendor communication plans and upcoming vendor collaboration events, such as industry days, pre-request for proposal conferences, and vendor forums. The FedBizOpps website also has a Small Business Central Event Listing where agencies post small business events, such as conferences and training. These events can also help companies make contact with officials in an agency.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Wed, May 9, 2012 Laura Meeks Palm Springs, CA

Thanks for covering this important move by OFPP! Over the years we have found conversation between the vendor and the acquisition folks to be crucial. Long lead times means people and priorities change. If there is meaningful dialog then the government can get a bargain. Buying complex governmental solutions is not the same as buying a book from Amazon. Research is good and plentiful but human contact is crucial.

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