Make FYO8 4th Quarter Buying Stress Free

Government contracting staffs face a number of challenges in this condensed period of acquisitions. They must be sure they are buying best value and meeting the ever growing and more complicated mandates and requirements. And, they must efficiently and effectively manage the heavy acquisition workloads dictated by last minute IT requirements.


Successful acquisition professionals have devised strategies to confront the challenges presented by the year-end buying crunch including these five tips.


1. Communicate Early and Often.
Engage all affected personnel early and often. Talk to the program managers you support about planned and unplanned IT requirements. Remind them about deadlines.


Ask leadership to be proactive and raise the issue at staff meetings or volunteer to give a 30 second update. Ask your leadership to send e-mails to your program managers. Leadership can get your managers to address a subject of importance.


2. Engage in Acquisition Planning
Prepare for the unexpected. You know that the end of the year will bring last minute purchases. September 30th will be busy but can also be manageable. Acquisition planning can help you strategize how to manage the known workload. You can also build in time and resources for that unexpected necessity by developing a written acquisition plan.


Prepare a decision matrix. There are many acquisition vehicles already in place that can be used to streamline your acquisition. Include contact information in the matrix, as well as delivery estimates and documentation needed for the acquisition.


3. Review Funding
In the rush to finalize year-end buying requirements, it is important to keep funding availability and regulatory requirements in focus. Contracting officers and administrative officers should work together with program officials to ensure that adequate funding is available to complete the purchase of IT requirements. With a few exceptions, appropriated funds may only be used to purchase IT products and services in the fiscal year for which they were appropriated.


4. Know Your Options
Your customers' IT requirements will not fall into a "one-size-fits-all" category. There are more contracting vehicles available than ever. Some of the contract vehicles that can streamline your ordering process are GWACs, Multi-Agency Contracts (MACs), Enterprise-wide contracts, and Schedules. Your matrix may help answer the question of which vehicle is the right one to meet the IT requirement in front of you.


5. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Determine what the priority is for each acquisition.


Is it delivery time? Is it customer service to assist you with a complicated Request for Quote (RFQ)? Do you plan to use this acquisition to meet small business goals? Does Fair Opportunity to be considered figure highly into the decision? Can you obtain immediate sales and discounts? Do you want this acquisition to focus on Performance-Based Service Contracting? How important is it to use electronic ordering as part of your acquisition process?


In our "on-time-delivery" world, getting IT now to fulfill your agency's mission is often the priority. If this is your priority, choose a vehicle that can reduce time for your delivery order by having pre-competed vendors and a history of delivering in under a week.


Can you do it yourself or is the statement of work outside your expertise?
Sometimes customer service and working with knowledgeable professionals who are familiar with the IT and services for an enterprise-wide or complex solution is your most pressing need. There are acquisition professionals who specialize in IT solutions, and access to them is often just a phone call away.


Use the expertise of these business and task order specialists to both assure an accurate and complete acquisition, and to reduce time and stress.


Time is money. Streamlined acquisitions that can be accomplished electronically meet the goal of saving time, which results in cost savings. Include electronic ordering as a choice when possible. By selecting the right contracting vehicle that meets your requirements' priorities, you will reduce your time and effort significantly.

Source: NITAAC