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28 Thursday, Aug 2014

The most-recent blog posts appear first. For past posts, click on the desired category in the column on the right.

Pro-Tech Delayed by Management Decisions

protech3At a recent Young AFCEA dinner, OCI learned from a NOAA official that the release of the final Pro-Tech (Professional and Technical Support Contract) RFP has been delayed.  The final RFP for the $3B program is scheduled for release in September, according to GovWin.  However, there is a lack of agreement on what type of contract vehicle is best for NOAA.  According to report, agency-level personnel favor a contract set-aside for small business, while acquisition officials favor a full and open procurement.  The arguments on the one side are that NOAA has always favored small-business solutions, but on the other side that some programs are too large for small business. 

The contract is for professional and technical services and will focus on the following five NOAA Domains.

  • Oceans and Coastal services
  • Satellite/Observing Systems Services
  • Fisheries
  • Meteorological Services
  • Enterprise Operations

How the Early Death of My Father Affected My Education and Proposal Work

thelossThe package arrived on a Saturday as l recall.  I opened it and found the book, The Loss That Is Forever, subtitled, The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father, by Maxine Harris, Ph.D.

I began to read and could not put the book down, having lost my father at age thirteen.  Through pages about “absolute catastrophe” and “total discontinuity” I re-lived those vulnerabilities during days of the realizing I had not only lost a dad, but also my ticket for an education.  The book was sent by a friend, who shared the loss of a parent at an early age.  The book’s message came through to us as we related our experience – the moment you lose a parent, your childhood is over!

Fortunately, I had athletic talent and realized that I could win a college scholarship through excelling at football.  I had excellent coaches and I learned the quarterback position with great intensity borne out of not just the pleasure of playing, but the deep need to overcome the loss of my father.  My effort led to scholarship offers and I choose the University of Virginia.

My career at Virginia not only concluded by leading the ACC in passing, and winning more ACC games than any team in UVA history up to that time, but also by winning the University’s award for the Male Outstanding Scholar – Athlete, as well as playing in the East – West Shrine Benefit Game for Crippled Children.  One of the highlights of those days was a big win over West Virginia as reported in the New York Times – “Virginia 41-0 Victor Over West Virginia As Hodges Excels.”

Subsequently, I believe I owe my success in proposal consulting at OCI to these early days of dedication, hard work, and a deep will to win that came from losing my father.  He would be proud!

3 Tips for Effective Handling of Questions and Answers (Q+As) from Government— Handle with Care!

QAOn large and small RFPs, the Government may respond to dozens or hundreds of questions. On the EAGLE II RFP, there were over 1,000 questions from industry that the Government answered.  Too often the questions are not adequately evaluated or even reviewed by important members of the proposal team. 

How to efficiently handle questions is a challenge for many proposal teams, especially with the participation of niche contributors such as pricing specialists or technical SMEs who may have read the RFP many times, but who may have overlooked the Q+As.   Here are some easy-to-use tips for the effective handling of Q+As:

1. Sort Them in Excel:  Sorting the questions in excel allows you to organize them in a way that specialized members of the proposal team can access their answers quickly and easily.  To do so, just make a column for the question, another for the answer, and then another for the type of Q+A it is (i.e., “pricing”, “technical”, “formatting”, etc.)  In some cases the Q+A may not fit into one neat category.  In such a situation, you might flag it as a general question, or mark it as applicable to multiple aspects of the proposal (i.e., “pricing and technical”).

2. Conduct Question Reviews:   Almost all proposal schedules incorporate reviews of some kind, such as technical color team reviews and pricing reviews.  Give the Q+A the same dedicated level of attention.  After they are released, allow everyone a day or so to read them and schedule a special review of the Q+As.

3. Update Compliance Matrices:   Most proposal teams rightfully prepare a compliance matrix and use it to perform a compliance check during proposal reviews and before submission.   Don’t overlook the fact that the Q+As offer insight and clarification to the instructions and evaluation criteria, and warrant their own update of the compliance matrix.  While the Q+As often accompany an amendment with clarifying instructions, they don’t always do so.  When this happens, it is wise to update the compliance matrix with the exact wording of the Q+A so that writers and reviewers alike have the best information possible for the proposal.

NAVAIR Program and Systems Support-Small Business (PASS-SB)

NAVAIR2On May 21, 2014, the Army Contracting Command-New Jersey (ACC-NJ) posted a draft solicitation for the Program and Systems Support (PASS) procurement on behalf of the Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR Corporate Business Office (CBO)). The draft solicitation does not include a sample task and also does not include six of the 13 attachments listed in Section J of the draft RFP.

The PASS solicitation will utilize full an open competition to award approximately 10 five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) multiple award contracts (MACs). The total maximum dollar value for all task orders placed under these MACs is more than $495 million. The expected date for initiation of contract performance is January 1, 2015.

Responsibilities included under the PASS-SB contract include:

  • The Department of Defense (DoD) Decision Support System that ensures effective interaction between Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS), and
  • The Acquisition System, and Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBES) processes.

Contract services will provide for total integrated life cycle management activities for:

Project, Program, and Portfolio (PPP) Management

  • Planning
  • Requirements Analyses
  • Monitoring and Control
  • Acquisition Lifecycle Documentation, Reporting and Presentation
  • Risk Management
  • Continuity of Operations and Disaster Recocery (COOP/DR)
  • Administrative and Clerical Support

Business, Cost Estimating and Financial Management

  • Financial Management
  • Cost Estimating Management
  • Business Management

Life Cycle Logistics (Integrated Product Support)

Systems Engineering

Business Improvement

  • Business Transformation Initiatives
  • Business Environment
  • Benchmarking
  • Concept of Operations (COMOPS)
  • Functional Gap/ Fit Analysis
  • Business Needs/ Outcomes Identification

Business Analytics

Modeling and Simulation Management

Test and Evaluation

Information Technology

  • IT Management
  • IT Services
  • IT Systems Development, Deployment, Operations and Support
  • Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Software Planning, Implementation and Operations

Facilitation, Education and Training

Technical Editing, Writing, and Illustration

Physical Security Operations

Contract awards will be based on a Best-Value trade-off evaluation. Evaluation factors include:

  • Technical Approach
  • Past Performance
  • Cost/Price

Successful offerors will require access to classified information. Clearance and safeguarding requirements are:

Facility Clearance: TOP SECRET

Level of Safeguarding: SECRET

PASS services will be required throughout the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS). Foreign Military Sales (FMS) services will also be required. Place of performance will vary for each task order.

The period of performance includes a 12-month base period and four 12-month ordering period options.

We anticipate release of the final solicitation during the fourth quarter of FY14 and contract award during the second quarter of FY15. Prospective offeror should be working on a draft proposal based upon the available pre-solicitation documents.

 

How to Win AFCAP IV

Michael Neyland

Introduction to AFCAP IV (Air Force Contract Augmentation Program)
AFCAP IV is a full and open $5B Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Task Order solicitation to provide worldwide civil engineer and services support for contingency operations other than war. The Air Force Installation Contracting Agency (AFICA), Wright Patterson AFB, OH. is the procuring agency. The 772d Enterprise Sourcing Squadron (ESS), Tyndall AFB, FL and San Antonio, TX is the managing customer. A draft AFCAP IV solicitation was released on 18 March 2014 with comments due on 14 April 2014. The release date for the final solicitation has not been determined. Anticipated award date is May 2015 with an estimated six awards.

AFCAP III is a 10-year, $10B, Firm Fixed Price, Cost Plus Fixed Fee, Cost Plus Award Fee, multiple award IDIQ awarded on Nov 2005. Contracts were awarded to Washington Group International, CH2M Hill Corporation, URS/Berger JV, Bechtel, Readiness Management Support LLC, and DynCorp International Both AFCAP III and AFCAP IV are Firm Fixed Price, Fixed Price Incentive, Cost Plus Fixed Fee, Cost Plus Incentive Fee, Task Order contracts. . An initial technical analysis indicates that AFCAP III and AFCAP IV have similar technical requirements.

AFCAP IV Synopsis:
The program requirement is to provide worldwide civil engineer and services support for contingency operations other than war. Contract is for temporary contingency skills and/or resources to support the Air Force, any DoD component, or any U.S. Federal Government entity operating in support of missions which could include but are not limited to National Command Authority, joint or combined United States military forces acting as part of or in concert with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or multinational forces utilizing U.S. Government appropriations, and participating in a wide spectrum of activities, such as disaster response (man-made or natural), Global War, Irregular Warfare, Major Theater War(s) (MTW), Small Scale Contingencies (SSC), Full Spectrum Threat Response (FSTR), Military Exercises, Base Operating Support (BOS), humanitarian response/relief [including response due to man-made causes, (e.g. political unrest, nation building, peacekeeping, anti-piracy, counter narcotics, etc.], world-wide recovery operations, or political considerations.

Requirements to Win
Winning bidder status at final RFP

The following comments present a ‘quick look’ analysis and assume that a comprehensive Capture Plan has been accomplished and that the Capture Plan and Capture Manager comments are available to support production of a winning proposal response to AFCAP IV. The following remarks are intended as general guidance without access to the Capture Plan. Comments are based on my experience as a Program Manager, Capture Manager and Proposal Manager for large and small Federal contracts and knowledge of the AFCAP program office.

This Section is intended to provide guidelines and comments on preparation of a winning proposal response. A quality proposal response should not only incorporate a Requirements Driven Outline based on the Performance Statement of Work (Section C), Instructions (Section L), Evaluation Factors (Section M), but it should also should include Capture Plan comments pricing analysis on customer intent reflecting customer issues, concerns and hot buttons as well as perceived customer expectations on ‘how’ management, staffing and technical requirements should be addressed.

 

The bullet statements shown below present a check list approach towards preparation of the winning proposal response.

o Capture Plan and Capture Checklist completed and validated
o Key Capture call plans and customer/contractor assessments completed with technical and management responses suggested for team consideration – to include capture comments from site visits and Industry Days, customer issues and hot buttons defined with suggested responses to issues, hot buttons and competitor ghosting comments
o Key Staff and Program Manager identified and resumes in draft with customer acceptance of Key Staff and PM
o Team already in place with all Teaming Agreements, Individual team Statements of Work well defined and fully coordinated;
o Competitor Black Hat assessments completed to include analysis of anticipated competitor responses to the RFP and ghosting of competitor responses;
o Initial Risk Assessment completed
o Draft Executive Plan completed
o Initial Feature / Benefits tables completed
o Gold level Storyboards and writing assignments completed
o Basis of Estimates completed in draft and pricing agreed by teammates
o Key Staff and Program Manager identified and resumes in draft
o Proposal outline completed – based on draft RFP
o Comparison of draft and final RFP (to evaluate document changes)
o Requirements Outline completed and available for comparison with final requirements
o Final corporate ‘buy in’

What should the bidder be doing right now?
o Validate / research insight into Incumbents and potential competitors
o Reconfirm technical, management and pricing strategy with Capture Manager and corporate staff
o Confirm volume leads, technical and management writers in place
o Reconfirm procedures (one location/multiple locations and methodology) for developing proposal responses
o Confirm support staff availability (proposal lead, editors, graphics team…)
o Finalize color team reviews and schedules
o Complete final proposal kickoff brief for all participants
o Validate pricing plan based on draft and final RFP reviews

Customer Requirements (what do they really want?)
Provide all resources and management necessary to plan for, establish, maintain, and dismantle base camp and remote site operations in support of contingency operations worldwide and provide support to other CoManD/COmbatant COMmand (CCMD/COCOM), Numbered Air forces (NAF), Major Command (MAJCOM), North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or other missions supporting National Command Authority Objectives, to include organize, train and equip (OT&E), foreign assistance, exercises, etc. The Contractor shall plan and execute logistical services for support and/or sustainment of installations, troops, units, and any Governmental Agency and operations and respond to both programmed and un-programmed requirements. The Contractor shall provide construction services as required in subsequent, individual task orders (TO). The Contractor shall respond to changes in current operations and troop strength at existing installations. The Contractor shall provide backfill support at existing operational locations to augment mission requirements or bridging until other execution avenues become available (e.g., includes Base closure, etc.) The Contractor shall be prepared to support requirements for new or existing operations and new or existing installations in any country. The Contractor shall procure all material, equipment, and supplies incidental to the provision of services required by this Contract. The Contractor shall accomplish all studies required by this contract. The description of services shall be further defined in subsequent, individual task orders. The contractor shall use sound business practices (e.g. smarter, faster, cheaper, innovative) – based on SOW without Capture Plan Comments

AFCAP III/AFCAP IV Performance Statement of Work Comparison
With the exception of additional records reporting, quality control plan and a Users Manual, most of the requirements are similar.

Procuring Agency:
Air Force Installation Contracting Agency (AFICA), Wright Patterson AFB, OH.

Customer:
772d Enterprise Sourcing Squadron (ESS), Tyndall AFB, FL and San Antonio, TX.
The Tyndall AFB operating location is the principle customer. The 772d Enterprise Sourcing Squadron provides enterprise-wide acquisition support to enhance and further the Air Force Civil Engineer's mission to provide, operate, maintain, and protect sustainable installations as weapon-system platforms through engineering and emergency response services. The 772 ESS delivers world class construction and environmental projects, worldwide contingency mission support services, natural disaster support, expertise, specialized services, and privatization of utility systems. The squadron supports operational, counterinsurgency, and humanitarian missions in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility via Continental United States reach back contracting capability. The 772 ESS, located in San Antonio, Texas is part of the AF Installation Contracting Agency (AFICA) headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. 772 ESS has four flights operating in San Antonio, and one flight at Tyndall, Fla.

Points of Contact:
Matthew Berry, Procurement POC Contract/Procurement Office 850-283-6293 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Jack Brown Contracting Officer Contract/Procurement Office 850-283-6287 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sidney Crawford, Contract Specialist Contract/Procurement Office 850-283-6323 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
James Garred, AFCEC Support Chief Program Office 850-283-6520 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tyndall

AFCAP IV Procurement Milestones:


Sources Sought 04/04/2012
Responses 05/04/2012
Industry Day 11/05/2012
RFI 01/17/2013
Responses 01/31/2013
Draft RFP 03/20/2014
Solicitation Release 06/2014 (Government Estimate)
Award Date 05/2015 (Government Estimate

The Contract Recompete Lifecycle

Rebidding Contract lifecycle

Looking at your contract in the context of its whole life span gives you the perspective to manage the contract from day one in a manner that will help win the recompete.  The Recompete Solutions Contract Lifecycle shown above will help you better recompete any size or length of contract.                                                 

Why look at your contract in terms of a lifecycle?

Running a contract is hard work. There are performance levels to meet, staff to manage, customer managers to keep on your side, costs to manage and reduce, profit margins to maintain and most likely grow over the period. There are pressures from your own company, from the customer, their staff and end users, Health and Safety inspections, environmental targets, other targets. There are management and review meetings and a hundred other things that will keep you busy.

With all these daily pressures and monthly targets, it is easy to not spend time and effort putting in place actions that get you ready for the recompete. Then when the recompete is near, you look back and wonder why you hadn’t fixed the underlying issues years ago.

Your customer is not standing still. Market conditions are changing as new technology, competitors, and contracting techniques enter the picture. Your customer may also be changing their strategy, their management direction, and meeting new challenges.

If your contract hasn’t changed to meet customer needs and market best practice, then you could be out of date when the recompete comes. Your customer could be looking for a responsive contractor who can deliver new solutions.

Seeing your contract in terms of a lifecycle helps you think ahead, make improvements, and plan for the recompete. Also you will have a wealth of good information, data, and stories to show the improvements made in the recompete, and the customer should see you as the type of business that they want to deal with in the future.

 

- Nigel Thacker of Rebidding Solutions 

 

Do Titles Like "Red Team" and "Murder Board" Affect Mindset?

red-team

June 27, 2014

Shakespeare’s Juliette said, "A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet." General Motors learned that was not so when it introduced a new model, the Chevrolet Nova, to Mexico. Unfortunately for GM, “No Va” means “no go” in Spanish.

I recently listened to a discussion among three experts on proposal writing in which they were critical of the term “Red Team” for fine-tuning the written proposal. They believed that title created a mindset among those recruited for this team to be hyper-critical, to nit pick the draft proposal, not make constructive advice and recommendations to the writers.

The term Red Team, of course, comes from military war gaming exercises where the “Red Force” is the enemy. Members of this team are hell-bent on attacking and “destroying” the opposing force. I know- I’ve been a member of Red Forces in war games.

Following this logic, could it mean that those selected to be on the Red Team believe their primary role is to be critics and editors of the pending proposal? Would it not be more conducive to winning the contract to have less criticism and more constructive advice to the writers?

These three proposal experts suggested the name be changed to “Win Team” to encourage a positive, morale-building attitude among the writers, not one in which the writers are on the defensive.

I had an epiphany on hearing that. As an orals coach, I have long been an advocate of the “Murder Board,” which I bring with me from the military, for practicing all presentations. My book even has two chapters showing how to conduct Murder Boards. Now, for the same reason outlined about changing Red Team to “Win Team,” I will call this rigorous practice sessions for orals the “Orals Simulator,” drawing on aviation’s flight simulator, which allows pilots to anticipate in-flight emergencies and learn how to react quickly.

I am not suggesting that the “Win Team” and the “Orals Simulator” be group hugs, culminating in a chorus of Kumbaya. Their purpose must be to find and fix vulnerabilities, as well as applying vigorously the compliance matrix. These sessions need not, however, be adversarial.  Changing the mindset by changing the titles may prove a more effective way to “answer the mail.”

Key Factors to Capture AFCAP IV

June 27, 2014

USAF Contract Augmentation Program IV (AFCAP IV)airforce

The U.S Air Force, Civil Engineering Center Detachment 1, Tyndall (AFCEC) plans to release AFCAP IV sometime in late 2014.  AFCAP III has four incumbents and a $5 billion ceiling.  AFCAP IV is slated to have a $10 billion ceiling with up to 10 awardees.  The NAICS is 561210.  Here are some key ideas to keep in mind should your company consider a serious capture.

What Is Needed to Win?  AFCAP is a global contingency contract used for robust capabilities in remote, austere, and hostile locations.  Bidders need to show proven capability in large-scale OCONUS mobilization; full familiarity with international supply chain operations; thorough understanding of recruiting, vetting, hiring, and dismissing third country nationals (TCNs) and local national (LNs); demonstrated short-term task order mobilization; and a keen awareness of foreign tax and customs laws.

Customers Served.  Future responses may address regional conflicts, military exercises, nation building, humanitarian responses, or base operations.  End users could include the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, or foreign governments.

Contract Type.  AFCAP IV will be multiple award, indefinite delivery indefinite quality (MAIDIQ).  Task orders will be firm fixed price (FFP) but with some cost reimbursable elements.

Schedule.

  • November 5, 2012.  Industry Day
  • March 2014.  Draft RFP
  • July 2014. Final RFP
  • May 2015.  Contract Award. 
  • Oct 2015.  Contract Start

Six companies were awarded AFCAP III but only four remain:  Readiness Management Services (RMS) a subsidiary of IAP, DynCorp International, URS (Washington Group), and CH2MHill.  Bechtel had originally won an AFCAP III position but withdrew from the contract.  The Washington Group was awarded an AFCAP III contract but was acquired by URS.  RMS is by far the dominant awardee. 

What Should Bidders Be Doing Now and How Can Companies Catch Up?  Serious players need deep pockets and a tolerance for OCONUS hazardous work.  Find a worthy program manager ideally with USAF OCONUS Red Horse experience.  Build your team by filling technical holes in capabilities.  Know how to rapidly mobilize and demobilize.   

9 Reasons Government Contractors Must “Rethink Everything” !

Aronson LLC

rethinkFederal government contractors have never faced as many significant changes as they will experience over the next few years. With flat-to-down budgets, dramatically increased oversight, higher costs of doing business, significant new rules and regulations and severely squeezed profit margins, government contractors absolutely must rethink what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Given the enormous changes that are taking place in the government contracting marketplace, Aronson has released a new white paper designed to help you succeed.

Key takeaways:

1. Federal priorities are shifting in today’s very tight appropriations environment. Contractors who don’t quickly recognize and anticipate the changes will be left behind.

2. The General Services Administration has a mandate to increase its market share. This means big procedural changes and lower prices for contractors.

3. Strategy and positioning for both big and small contractors will be more important in the next few years than ever before.

4. The need for diversification will increase the opportunities and value for government contractors to consider mergers and acquisitions.

5. Compliance will be an even bigger focus over the next few years than it has been in the recent past. Noncomplying contractors will be in for some very unpleasant surprises.

6. Tax planning will be critical. Congress will soon consider comprehensive tax reform that will challenge many of the provisions most important to contractors.

7. Contractors face serious problems with talent recruitment and continuity as the Millennial generation fully moves into the workforce.

8. Protecting sensitive data and information has become one of the highest priority demands the government makes of all contractors.

9. There will be major changes in the next two to three years in the accounting standards that will apply to companies that do business with the federal government.

The challenge for contractors will be the willingness to reconsider everything they are currently doing. The government contractors who will be the most successful in the years ahead will be those that see the changes as real opportunities.

Click here to download the Aronson white paper, “<RETHINK> Everything: The New Imperative for Federal Government Contractors.”

Aronson LLC provides innovative services to government contractors for every phase of the business life cycle.  Offering services in tax, assurance, compliance and contract consulting, business accounting systems and M&A, Aronson goes beyond basic compliance to identify opportunities and mitigate risk, while allowing you to focus on your core business.

Insight into PACTS II -- Identifying the Teaming, Resourcing and Proposal Strategy to WIN

program managementThe Department of Homeland Security anticipates releasing the RFP for its PACTS II multiple award IDIQ vehicle in early June. PACTS II (Program Management, Administrative, Clerical, and Technical Services) is a 5-year (2-year base period and three 1-year option periods) set-aside for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses. Awards will be made in two Functional Categories: FC1 – Program Management and Technical Services (NAICS Code 541611/size standard $14M); and FC2 – Administrative and Operations Services (NAICS Code 541610/size standard $7M).

FC1 includes these main service areas: Program Management Services (many different services); Process, Physical Distribution, and Logistics Consulting Services; and Technical Services (including both Engineering Services and Environmental, Technical & Other Scientific Consulting Services). FC2 includes Administrative and Operations Services; and Court Reporting and Stenotype Services. FC1, obviously, will be the most lucrative functional category, and within FC1, Program Management Services are of preeminent importance. Expect highest value task orders to be procured, however, that combine Program Management with Technical Services.

PACTS II succeeds the $1.5B PACTS I contract, and is expected to be of a similar contract value. PACTS I was a hotly contested procurement: 600 bidders sought awards in four Functional Categories (that were roughly collapsed into the two FCs under PACTS II), and only 34 contracts were awarded. The Government has not indicated its intent regarding the total number of awards it expects to make. Major documents already released include a Draft RFP (issued March 21, 2014) and responses to industry questions (issued April 30, 2014). An Industry Day was held on April 15, and another useful document to possess is the Industry Day Presentation. The FedBizOpps Webpage for PACTS II—where all of these documents and others can be found is: https://www.fbo.gov/indexs=opportunity&mode=form&id=58e3445248cc301cf7f5c1276609d2ae&tab=core&_cview=1

Teaming/Resourcing Strategy

Expectations for bidders appear higher for PACTS II than PACTS I: The functional categories extend across many more disciplines, allowing Government customers to solicit larger, more complex, multi-disciplinary task order contracts. Bidding teams expectedly will be larger and more diversified than those contract awardees currently serving on PACTS I, in order to cover the broader range of services and potentially larger procurements. Also, expect certain procurements to mandate coverage across several geographic locations. Therefore, assemble your larger, geographically dispersed, and multi-disciplinary team now!

In addition, the draft RFP places greater emphasis (than the PACTS I RFP) on the Prime Contractor’s personal possession of deeper experience and significant in-house personnel resources. While PACTS I seems to balance an intent to energize and support the SDVOSB sector with serving Government customers optimally, PACTS II seems more like other recent large IDIQ procurements that tip the balance much much more in favor of the customer. In the previous contract, many contractors adopted a strategy of recruiting the talent for the tasks as the task orders materialized.  This led to a lot of unsatisfactory performance.  The Government aim in the PACTS II program is to select contractors who can perform because they have a depth of ready talent onboard.  PACTS II wants to bring Prime Contractors to the Program that have already proven themselves to be high performers. Also important: a strong PACTS II Program Manager candidate, as this is further assurance that Prime Contractor awardees will be able to do a good job in a challenging environment. If you have one of those in-house, terrific; if not, start looking for one in earnest immediately.

In conclusion, bidders will not be able to rely heavily on the experiences or resources of their teaming partners to bolster the Government’s evaluation in these areas. Therefore, before committing yourself to seeking award as a PACTS II Prime Contractor, make certain that you have the experience/past performance and personnel “bench strength” to make a strong argument for yourself!

If you decide to subcontract, you can subcontract with several Prime Contractors within one or both Functional Categories; and you can be a business of any size classification. You cannot, however, be both a Prime Contractor and a Subcontractor within the same Functional Category.

One major change in PACTS II regarding teaming: As with EAGLE II, Prime Contractors are permitted to bring additional subcontractors to their teams after award. Of course, you will only be evaluated on the team you identify in your proposal (accompanied by the necessary teaming agreement documentation), so promises of additional team members you could have or expect to have through your business relationships count for nothing.

Proposal Support Needs

The PACTS II proposal response is not lengthy—likely under 50 pages (21 pages max are consumed by Project Experience Summaries); but does have data sheets and forms to complete that requisition business/financial information, and copies of teaming documents to be provided. Key proposal sections, such as your program management approach (max. 3 pages/7 pages counting the narrative summary and Program Manager’s résumé), are surprisingly short; although these could expand with bidder questions and recommendations following release of the final RFP. In addition, the directives for what to include—contained in the Section L instructions to offerors and Section M evaluation factors—are sparse. For this reason, your proposal manager and proposal writers should be strong and insightful  professionals who understand what is expected and desired by the Government in an IDIQ proposal submission. These people need to be able to read between the lines of the solicitation.  They will need to apply good experience in IDIQ responses to determining the best information and discriminators to squeeze into the limited real estate they have in which to work. In conclusion, the well-resourced proposal team will include a (1) Proposal Manager (experienced in IDIQ proposals), and preferably one who can also write, as just management of the process is not a full-time job; and (2) Technical Writer (preferably experienced in IDIQ proposal writing), skilled in writing management approach documentation and maximizing the quality of newly created or boilerplate project experience/past performance summaries. A Proposal Coordinator—to solicit, validate for completeness, and organize the finished forms and business documents—would also be a valuable addition to your team. Run-of-the-mill personnel will not be able to prepare a winning proposal.  Because of the unique challenges of this competition, strong proposal personnel are needed to win.  Required input from your teaming partners is a completed Project Experience Summary or two, and the usual corporate history/qualifications/business info material; so if you are a Prime Contractor offeror, the majority of the proposal development work falls on you.

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