Alliant 2: What does GSA want?
Proposal expert Lisa Pafe of Lohfeld Consulting analyzes several Alliant 2 requirements that are raising questions among bidders on the $50 billion vehicle.
The General Services Administration released the final Alliant 2 Unrestricted and Small Business RFPs on June 24. Companies have until Aug. 29 to submit their six volumes, including the self-scoring template and all verification documentation.
One of the biggest questions now is whether to team, but many contractors are finding the options presented in the final RFPs confusing.
Experience and past performance must have been performed as a prime
Whether you are a large or small business, all project experience and past performance claimed must have been performed as a prime. That requirement does not preclude teaming, but instead means that the project points can be claimed for prime contracts only. All bidders may also submit project experience, past performance, as well as systems, certifications, and clearances of corporate entities with whom they have a “meaningful relationship,” for example, a parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate.
May large businesses team?
Large businesses may bid as a Contracting Teaming Arrangement (CTA) in the form of an existing partnership or joint venture. Large businesses may claim experience or past performance performed in a previous CTA only if they performed all of the work. If bidding as an existing CTA, a large business prime and its CTA partners must all hold the systems, certifications, and clearances in order to claim credit. In addition, large businesses must submit a small business subcontracting plan.
Small businesses have a myriad of choices
For small businesses, the options widen. The 2016 National Defense Authorization Act requires agencies to evaluate the experience and past performance of an small business offeror’s subcontractors. Therefore, GSA made changes pursuant to NDAA 2016 in the final Alliant 2 RFPs.
For both the Unrestricted and SB RFPs, small business primes may:
1) Bid as a new CTA in the form of a partnership or JV with another small business, or
2) Bid as the prime leading a team of other SB subcontractors. In both cases, the SB prime offeror can claim teaming partner experience and past performance, as long as the teaming partner performed the work as a prime.
Therefore, to gain maximum points with Product Service Code (PSC) or Leading Edge Technology (LET) project experience spanning all groups and covering greater size, breadth, and complexity, an small business may opt to team with other small busiensses. However, all systems, certifications, and clearances must be in the name of the prime.
This development adds greater complexity for small businesses since those who did not predict this change from draft to final must now scramble for fellow small business teaming partners, negotiate and sign teaming agreements, and assemble and verify documentation both inside and outside their organization. The advantage is that SBs who join together may be able to increase their total points with more and better projects.
Additional points added for risk reduction
But the complexity gets even greater with the newly added 7,500 points for Risk Assessment, which raised the total maximum points from 75,600 to 83,100. Offerors must identify if they previously performed in the same business arrangement as proposed in order to claim the points.
Clearly, primes going it alone can claim the points. However, if bidders team, they must demonstrate a proven track record of working together to achieve the new risk assessment points.
So what does GSA want?
Clearly, Alliant 2 favors contractors with greater size, breadth, and depth of experience; positive past performance ratings; and mature corporate infrastructure. On top of those requirements, GSA added emphasis to the final RFPs on risk reduction through proven business arrangements. This development greatly impacts SBs that must weigh teaming options, including ability to gather verification documentation, against different scoring scenarios.
In addition, bidders must be careful that time spent on finalizing teaming does not detract from proposal review time. As GSA demonstrated on the recent Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCaTs) bid, they are quite willing to reject bids based on compliance issues.