The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is one of the largest procurement and supply agencies in the Federal government with needs in the following areas:
- Program Management, Administrative, Janitorial, and other Non-IT Services
- Information Technology services
- Healthcare Staffing
- Medical and surgical supplies
- Equipment, supplies, and materials for facility operation
- Maintenance and repair of medical and scientific equipment
- Building construction, maintenance, and repair
- Prosthetic and orthopedic aids
- Architect/Engineer services
Last week, I attended the VA’s annual National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE). It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with VA leaders, decision makers, and contracting officers. I’ve attended the NVSBE for 6 years straight and, without hesitation, I put VA’s efforts to connect with Veteran Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) as superior to any other agency’s matchmaking event I’ve attended in over 20 years as a government contractor.
This year a dominant theme at NVSBE was the Supreme Court’s Kingdomware decision that makes adherence to the “rule of two” mandatory. We’ve covered this momentous decision in a previous blog. But the bottom line is that the VA will first look to SDVOSBs/VOSBs to fill all their needs. This change will create enormous opportunity and a competitive edge for “Procurement Ready,” Veteran-owned small businesses.
During his keynote speech at NVSBE, Mr. Greg Giddens, VA Chief Acquisition Officer, outlined the 5 steps every SDVOSB/VOSB should take if they want to do business with VA.
1. Be Procurement Ready
- Make sure you meet SBA Size Standards and your business is in compliance with current laws.
- Have a taxpayer or employer identification number with the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center.
- Register for a Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S) Number.
- Register with the federally mandated System for Award Management (SAM)
2. Be VA-Verified and have a complete profile in VIP
The Vets First Contracting Program was created under Public Law, P.L. 109-461 and expanded the Service-Disabled Veteran contracting program for VA procurements. The Public Law was implemented in two regulations published in the Federal Register:
38 CFR Parts 802, 804, 808, 809, 810, 813, 815, 817, 819, 828, and 852 implemented changes to the VA Acquisition Regulation that defines the acquisition rules for the program with VA.
38 CFR Part 74 Veterans Small Business Regulations was published on February 8, 2010, and clarified on January 19, 2011. This regulation defines the requirements for verification as a VOSB or a SDVOSB.
To be eligible to compete for opportunities under the Vets First Contracting Program, firms must go through the VA’s verification process and be registered in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) database. More information can be found at www.vip.vetbiz.gov.
3. Obtain Federal Supply Schedule, as appropriate
VA uses the Federal Supply Schedule program, (aka GSA Schedule) extensively to obtain the services, supplies, and equipment they need to fulfill their mission. If you want to do business with the VA, it is advisable to offer your products and services through the FSS/GSA Schedule program.
FSS/GSA Schedules take time to acquire. GSA/VA’s review process can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months. So, if a FSS/GSA Schedule is part of your strategy for doing business with the VA, you’ll need to get started sooner than later to position yourself for future SDVOSB/VOSB set-aside opportunities. More information can be found at coleygsa.com/vets-get-GSA-schedule/
4. Register for FedBizOpps (FBO) Alerts
VA competes everything and publishes opportunities at FedBizOpps.gov and/or www.ebuy.gsa.gov. You can register at www.fbo.gov and setup Watchlists for VA opportunities. Find out more at https://www.fbo.gov/downloads/FBO_Vendor_Guide.pdf. Opportunities posted to GSA eBuy are only visible to approved GSA Schedule vendors. Not on GSA Schedule? See item 3 above.
5. Respond to RFI/Source Sought
To comply with the Vets First program and determine if two or more SDVOSB/VOSB firms are available and qualified to meet their needs, VA performs market research in the form of Requests for Information and/or Sources Sought for almost every opportunity. It’s important to respond to these requests to help shape VA’s acquisition strategy. If two or more verified, qualified SDVOSB/VOSB firms respond, then in accordance with Vets First, VA will set-aside the requirement for SDVOSB/VOSB firms.
Have questions or need to get on FSS/GSA Schedule? Give us a call at 210-402-6766 or by email at: [email protected].
In order to bring some order to the chaos of the federal Government contractor space, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), newly headed by Anne Rung, is making a renewed effort to cut costs by way of increased collaboration and cooperation within agencies, improved electronic tools, and a reintroduced effort toward retaining exemplary acquisition professionals.
The OFPP has been setting the example of inter-agency cooperation by working in lockstep with the General Services Administration, or GSA. Recently appointed OFPP administrator Anne Rung, formerly of the GSA itself, reinforced this at a recent contractors gathering. Rung encourages a similar spirit of cooperation between agencies and vendors, urging open and honest dialog without the fear of broaching the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s protections against favoritism. (more…)
GSA Makes an Official Announcement: Changes in Services Schedule by the New Year
(updated December 11, 2014)
With the first step to improve their professional services Schedule offerings GSA has announced they will be combining eight of the current professional services schedules into one master Professional Services Schedule. GSA feels this step will make it easier and less confusing for buyers to purchase professional services, specifically when a project’s scope may overlap between two separate GSA schedules. The migration should also alleviate some administrative burdens for companies that have to manage multiple GSA schedules.
MRO and JanSan FSSI to go live – OS3 looking to follow
GSA has recently completed the award process for two new Federal Strategic Sources Initiative (FSSI) BPA’s and is getting ready to go live in GSAAdvantage. Once live, eligible ordering activities will be able to purchase from a short list of awarded vendors through the program. The Maintenance, Repair & Operations Supplies (MRO) and Janitorial and Sanitation Supplies (JanSan) FSSI’s have already completed their award process and the MRO FSSI is looking to go live on August 1st, 2014, JanSan has not stated a live date as of this morning. (more…)
The Schedule 51 V hardware superstore schedule includes several categories of products/services, or SINs, for just about anything you can find at your local hardware store. In the latest schedule refresh, the 51 V office released an important update relating to the Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI). The latest refresh of the 51 V solicitation may be found on FBO. (more…)
The fourth quarter of every fiscal year is the storied El Dorado of Federal purchasing with sales rising faster than summer gas prices, but this year may be closer to the truth then hype. According to a recent analysis by Deltek, the Government is due to spend 35.4 percent of their budget in the last three months of this fiscal year 2014 (July, August, and September).
Here is what you need to know about this government buying season: (more…)
Most GSA vendors assume that if the order doesn’t list their GSA Schedule number, then by default the order isn’t a GSA Schedule sale and they are free to negotiate a different price with those government customers.
However, be forewarned that during the past several years, we have seen some GSA Industrial Operations Analysts (IOA) and Contracting Officers (CO) taking a broader interpretation of what they consider to be a GSA Schedule sale. (more…)
GSA is moving forward with their new service model to facilitate the “Strategic” plan designed to improve the GSA Schedules program in the upcoming fiscal years 2014-2018. The plan was drafted to link GSA’s Management objectives to the GSA programs. GSA Management’s bottom line intent is to save the government money by reducing pricing throughout the GSA marketplace.
What is the Price Paid Tool?
One of the most recent initiatives of the “Strategic” plan began only a month into 2014 with GSA’s launch of the Price Paid Tool. The Prices Paid Tool is an instrument used by buying agencies to effectively lower prices at both the order and contract level, rather than only at the contract level. The tool establishes a database that provides buying agencies with transparency into the prices paid by other agencies at the task or delivery order level. (more…)
The OASIS Team has sent an email announcing the release of the final Request for Proposals (RFP’s) for OASIS and OASIS Small Business. The RFP’s have officially been posted in FedBizOpps (FBO) and both postings contain the SF33 award document, a copy of the solicitation and 10 attachments. The attachments for both RFP’s include templates for pricing and past project experiences, self-scoring worksheets, pre-award surveys, and pool applications to determine which pool OASIS pool your business will fall in.
OASIS and OASIS Small Business have a defined set of labor categories allowed through these vehicles and GSA has also included a document which sets forth the acceptable price range for each labor category. (more…)
Businesses certified with set aside status have a growing number of government opportunities. Recently, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued their final rule updating the penalties for businesses who commit contract fraud by misrepresenting their business size.
From the Federal Register:
“Amended the Small Business Act to provide that if a concern willfully seeks and receives an award by misrepresenting its small business size or status, there is a presumption of loss to the United States equal to the value of the contract, sub-contract, cooperative agreement, cooperative research” (more…)
Requirement Removed From the Latest OASIS Draft RFP.
GSA has now announced that although a DCAA audited accounting system is no longer a pass/fail requirement, the DCAA has come on board to conduct “pre-award surveys of the accounting systems for apparent successful Offerors.”
When the first version draft OASIS RFP was released there was one requirement we felt would be limiting to Small Businesses — the requirement that all Offerors must have a DCAA audited accounting system to qualify. The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) is a Government agency that provides audit and financial advisory services to other Government agencies. (more…)
Changes to GSA Schedules are happening and GSA has begun releasing their latest solicitation refreshes. This time around we are noticing something different. In this latest set of refreshes there are two clear additions to the language in the Solicitation Cover Page as well as the Proposal Pricelist Preparation Spreadsheet. (here is one example). The solicitation now includes these two statements:
Full Products and Broad Services Offerings: Offeror must provide a full and broad offering on services and/or products. Offers will not be accepted with only limited item/offering (product, labor category, training course, or fixed-price service) unless it represents a total solution for the Special Item Numbers (SINs).
Fair and Reasonable Pricing: To determine fair and reasonable pricing, the GSA Contracting Officer may consider many factors, including pricing on competitor contracts, historical pricing, and currently available pricing in other venues. Offers which provide Most Favored Customer pricing, but which are not highly competitive will not be found fair and reasonable and will not be accepted. (more…)
(Update 8/1/2013– OASIS Final RFP Release now available)
Though their Interact site, GSA has announced that the Draft RFP for OASIS has been released and is available in FedBizOpps!
GSA’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) is a new contract vehicle for contractors with complex, multi-disciplinary (integrated) professional services.
The Draft RFP includes documents for comments and questions. GSA is seeking industry insight to improve the request from vendors and create a better contract for professional services.
The current RFP requires that your past performance examples contain at least three of the six core competencies to be considered, The core competencies include: (more…)
Upcoming changes in the MOBIS (Mission Oriented Business Integrated Solutions) solicitation will affect many 874 schedule contractors. GSA has merged a selection of MOBIS Special Item Numbers (SINs) in order to reduce time and effort in soliciting and evaluating quotes under multiple SINs. SIN 874-1—Consulting Services will be merged with 874-2—Facilitation Services” and 874-3—Survey Services into one resulting SIN renamed “Integrated Consulting Services,” and 874-2 and 874-3 will be deleted.
Furthermore, SINs 874-7, 874-4, and 874-9 will be redefined in order to broaden the scope and to add services not previously available. SIN 874-7—Program and Project Management Services, has been renamed “Integrated Business Program Support Services” in order to allow administrative support services when used in conjunction with other professional services covered by Schedule 874 and performed at the direction of the contractor’s project or program manager. SINs 874-4—Training Services and 874-9—Training Aids and Devices are being updated to include additional services, although the SIN titles remain in effect. The updated SIN descriptions will be posted on GSA eLibrary in early January.
A mass modification invitation will be sent to your Administrative Point of Contact in regards to these upcoming changes and must be accepted.
Upon acceptance of this mass modification solicitation refresh, the Contractor is to update their GSA Schedule price list immediately.
For Coley clients currently on our management services, this will be updated for you free of charge. For help or support in updating and republishing your GSA Schedule Price list contact at 210-402-6766 or send us an email at [email protected].