SEWP Contract Guide

Joanne Woytek, SEWP Program Manager gives her “state of SEWP” analysis in this interview with 1105 Government Information Group Custom Media.

Q. 1105 Government Information Group Custom Media
SEWP IV is now in its second year. Can you summarize what’s happened in the past year?

A. Joanne Woytek
WoyetekWe have been growing in terms of usage and staff. Part of that growth is because VA now utilizes us as their primary contract for IT. Interestingly, while SEWP has always been one of NASA’s primary contracts, in the past year that fact has been made clearer.  So NASA usage has increased over past year and we have solidified our DOD relationship through our MOA with DOD, where we are offering free training so that everyone is solidly online.

And we went from 15 to 38 prime Contract Holders on SEWP IV. So staffing, more formalized training and outreach has been key.  We have added new space to meet our growing staff needs.

We are the only GWAC with an SDVOSB (Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business) and 8(a) Small Business set aside.

For  SDVOSB we are the only one and we have six companies on that. If an agency is looking for these companies in the IT product solutions arena, we are the place to go, because we are the only contract where you can go to do an RFQ and not worry about going other places. VA and Justice are interested.

We also will have an 8(a) set aside group of contractors which we announced in June 2008. This is a non-competed set aside group that is aimed to help small businesses learn about SEWP and get involved in government contracting.

Q. Can you describe who the CHRM is?
A. We added a new role – the Contract Holder Relationship Manager – also known as The CH(a)RM. His job is to be the advocate for the Contract Holder when they are doing the right things and if they are doing something wrong, to make sure they know how to do the rules correctly.

If done right, his job is to make sure all the performances are great and exceptional. So if a Contract Holder needs help, they have one person to go to. It’s a customer service manager for contractors. Also our customers like that because they have a single point of contact.

Q. As with all contracts, there is a need to monitor quality assurance and have good governance processes. What is SEWP doing?
A. We are continually building up the quality assurance area in terms of order processing. We’ve added more oversight in terms of compliance issues, because we are now allowing more services on SEWP IV related to the planning, installation and implementation of products.

We’ve added a layer of “bureaucracy” – dare I say that word – to make sure those items are in scope and correctly priced. We are providing more
oversight for Fair Opportunity and we have a new form to verify Fair Opportunity.

Q. What’s the business outlook for SEWP IV?
A. Last year we reduced our fee from 0.65 to 0.60 percent. Business increased 30 percent from FY06 to FY07. So  far in FY08 we are 25 percent ahead in terms of dollar amounts. Contract use is ahead of last year, so we know we are doing something right. It’s a combination of things from the VA, DOD, Justice and NASA. And other agencies are using us more. We are non- profit. All of our money in invested back in SEWP and we get no funds from NASA. We are completely self-sufficient.

Q. How are you able to charge such a low fee?
A. If you charge little or no fee what do you get for your money? We budget to get the best service for that money. Some understand they are paying for service, some don’t; we have to educate them that everything costs.

We have free training, but the cost of that training is covered by the fee, which is the lowest it will be for a while. My priority right now is to beef up some of our services. We do an excellent job but the fact is we have to run on a “strict diet” or budget, so we need to increase our capability to deliver orders faster and invest more in customer service.

We have provided training at 45 sites with over 500 attendees. All of our Contract Holders are trained and we have new outreach to those 2,000 companies that work with our 38 prime contractors. And over 1,800 have viewed our training video, which is now bigger and better than ever with our new “version 2”.

Q. Can you describe any computer upgrades?
A. We have a new computer system and database; we have expanded our capability to do web page updates; we have instituted an “apology” page and we are fine tuning our past performance pages.

We have instituted some major application updates including a more powerful RFQ/RFI tool that includes sharing capabilities and automated verification.  We have the ability to indicate that an award has been determined so people can say “I’ve done my RFQ and I’ve made my award”. They also have the ability to verify that items are on the contract so they can do the award. We’ve improved the Fair Opportunity interface to make it even better than before and next FY we will have a whole rewrite of RFQ tool. We have so many new ideas we want to make it better.

On the manufacturer lookup you can now perform an “alias” search and authorized reseller listing. We are making continued improvement to documentation and are always looking to update applications. For example, we are going to completely redo the RFQ tool because there is so much more we want to do.