The comments following our new WT Insider Report on LPTA contracting support the conclusion that it is a nearly universally-hated procurement practice.
We’re getting several reader comments on our latest WT Insider Report, LPTA: A Hate-Hate Relationship, and the comments support our conclusions that lowest price, technically acceptable contracting is pretty universally despised by the industry.
The comments also reinforce the written responses in our survey that the contracting method is OK for commodity acquisitions or where the government can very precisely define the requirements.
One person sent me an email with a story we did on a solicitation for an Air Force contract. The Air Force wants a small business for a five-year contract for maintenance and sustainment support for its enterprise IT data repository, known as EITDR.
Not only is it an LPTA competition, but the Air Force won’t make an award until fiscal 2015 funds are allocated. No allocation, no contract, but the Air Force wants small businesses to spend the bid and proposal dollars anyway.
“LPTA means they will get junior guys,” this person wrote. “If they don’t perform, a termination of cause will occur, probably destroying a good part of a small business.”
The contract should be best value so “the government can determine which company has real talent and past performance versus minimum body count and a low price, which equals very little experience,” he wrote.
He also thinks the contract should be for a large or mid-size business, but that’s another debate for another day.
Other commenters called LPTA the “worst of the worst” and said it forces companies to cut too many corners just so they can win. “Then the government acts surprised when you have no flexibility to think or act beyond a minimalist interpretation of the unclear terms they laid out in their RFP.”
Another complained that the government took a “great concept and applied it thoughtlessly to meet a political agenda.” The use of LPTA has given small businesses an “undeserved black eye.”
I’m not surprised by the comments. The overwhelmingly negative response we received when doing the research for our Insider Report is an accurate reflection of how the industry feels about LPTA.
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