Selecting the Best Teaming Partners for GWAC/AWAC IDIQ Opportunities

  |  August 21, 2019

Lee Cooper

Note: Author Lee Cooper was previously a BD executive at Raytheon, L-3 National Security Solutions, and UNISYS. He is currently providing strategy, BD, capture and proposal support services to Federal contractors and technology suppliers.

Federal agencies continue to expand the ID/IQ contracts used to procure information technology (IT) solutions and services. In a recent analysis of the unrestricted Government-Wide and Agency-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC/AWAC) ID/IQ vehicles coming in the next five years, 372 were identified with a combined value of $488 billion. Another 430 opportunities with a combined value of $407 billion were identified as being set-aside for small business. It is also notable that more than 61% of the unrestricted opportunities and more than 55% of the small business opportunities are being procured by DoD Agencies and Military Services.

Large Business

One of the most critical decisions prime contractors must make in the pursuit and submittal of a proposal on a GWAC/AWAC opportunity is the selection of subcontractors. The identification, vetting, and negotiation of teaming arrangements with potential subcontractors that improve the probability of win and successful performance after contract award requires the prime contractor to make informed decisions.

Criteria to Consider

The answers to the following questions can provide the information needed to make good decisions:

– Does the potential subcontractor possess products, solutions or services that will fill the prime contractor’s capabilities gap?
– Has the potential subcontractor successfully delivered those products, solutions or services against requirements of similar scope, complexity and size?
– Does the potential subcontractor have any potential or real conflicts of interest that need to be considered?
– Are the potential subcontractor’s prices competitive?
– Will the potential subcontractor provide proven subject matter experts to support the development of the proposal?
– Will the potential subcontractor’s BD, marketing, contracting and communications teams assist the prime contractor in shaping the customer’s requirements and acquisition strategy?
– Will the potential subcontractor provide resumes for key personnel and make them available for performance on the contract?
– Will the subcontractor support the prime contractor’s task order identification, marketing, shaping and capture efforts after contract award?
– Are there any issues or challenges that would prevent the potential subcontractor from fully committing to pursuit, winning, and performance on the GWAC/AWAC contract?

Small Business

Likewise winning one of these contracts provides huge growth opportunities for small business. For those not well positioned to bid as a prime, the biggest challenge is how to identify your best teaming options as a subcontractor. It is important to do your homework prior to starting the teaming discussions and evaluating the potential options with a predefined set of criteria.

Criteria to Consider

Several criteria that should be considered are provided below:

– How well positioned with the customer are the prime contractors you are considering?
– What is the past performance record of the primes in winning contracts and task orders at the procuring agency?
– What type of subcontracting arrangement is the prime contractor offering? For example,
o Will all task order RFPs released under the contract be shared with you?
o Will the prime contractor permit you to perform task orders that you bring to the contract?
o Will the prime encourage team members to jointly market task order opportunities and perform the work as a team once the task order is won?
o Will the prime provide any “blue bird” task order RFPs that are released by the customer to you for bid consideration (i.e., task orders that the prime contractors are not previously aware of)?
o Will you be considered a teammate or just a vendor/supplier?
o Is the prime contractor willing to put a clause in the Teaming Agreement that says “The terms and provisions of this teaming agreement shall be incorporated into the subcontract that will be issued by the prime contractor upon award of the GWAC/AWAC ID/IQ contract to the prime contractor”?
– What type of “markup” is the prime contractor going to put on top of your labor rates?
– Is the prime contractor going to demand that they perform a portion of each task order that you bring to the contract?
– Will you be permitted to submit your qualifications, capabilities, and resumes for consideration on all task order proposals under the contract?
– If the prime contractor is an incumbent, do they have a good record of winning and successfully performing task orders?
– What level of support does the prime contractor expect you to provide to the capture and proposal efforts?
– Do you have any good (or bad) experiences in teaming with the prime contractors being considered?

Critical Decisions

The teaming decision in a GWAC/AWAC contract competition is one of the most important decisions that will be made in the pursuit of profitable revenue growth. To ensure that this decision is based on a thorough understanding of the available options, it is critical that the capture team define and coordinate with the company leadership on the criteria that will be used in evaluating the teaming options and negotiating the subcontractor teaming agreement.

Summary

In summary, the above criteria for both prime contractors and potential subcontractors have been successfully used in dozens of teaming negotiations since the first GWAC/AWAC ID/IQ contract was competed more than 22 years ago. At this point, all indications are that these types of criteria will help bidders be successful for the next two decades.

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