Replies

  • Marlene, Somehow we seem to be describing two separate processes. In my old position, I was given specific design characteristics to be met for "Parts" of a Project. No different than supplying specific items for a "U-2" or a "Blackbird", or a " Silicon Chip Suspension Device " to be attached to a Hughes Drill Bit. 

    Lynn Bryant DeSpain 

  • Back in the 80s and early 90s, we (the government) asked for simple proposals to perform a SCOPE OF WORK.    We failed to recognize that the marketplace often had better products and services than what we were aware of.  My brother worked for GE and was on the list to send an RFP  for them to propose.  I was going to remove myself  from the project so there was no conflict of interest.   He said, 'don't bother, I am not proposing because what you areasking for is OLD STUFF andt there is no way to propose STATE OF THE ART'.   He was right.   We are supposed to be providing STATE OF THE ART to OUR TROOPS.   

    IT WASN'T LONG AFTER THAT THE BEST VALUE  PROCEDURES WERE INTRODUCED TO CORRECT THAT FAILURE.

     

    I AM NOT THROWING STONES.  NEITHER BEING CRITICAL.  

    UNLESS YOU WORK AT A SYSTEMS COMMAND AND HAVE LEVEL 3 CERTIFICATION, YOU'VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF BEST VALUE.   No problem.

    Maybe you've never utilized hybrid contracts either.  Maybe yuo've not done a fly off.  

    That's the beauty of Acquisition.   Lots of room for learning and being creative.

  • Marlene, Even the "Manhattan Project" was broken down in the way described.

    Lynn Bryant DeSpain

    • Lynn,

      What level Acquisition was your certification?

      Mine was Level 3.   That's the top cert.

      Acquisition has come a long way since the Manhattan Project.

      What Systems did you work?

       

  • Marlene, The "Proposals" clearly define the exact specifications. There are no margins for alterations or substitutes. The needs, requirements, installation and processes manuals must be included and accepted for the conditions required prior to signing of contracts.

    Lynn Bryant DeSpain

    • no.   In a Best Value acquisition, The Request for Proposals estqablishes the government's minimum needs and provides parameters for the contractors to PROPOSE MORE. iT PROVIDES CRITERIA FOR RATING AND EVALUATING THE ;PROPOSALS. 

      The goal is to find out how much more is available in the marketplace and the costs for the ''MORE'.   

      iT IS A VERY COMPLICATED PROCESS.   A  TECHNICAL EVALUATION TEAM IS SWORN IN TO REVIEW THE PROPOSALS.

      iT IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED THAT NO CROSS GERMINATION OF THE PROPOSALS HAPPENS.   EACH CONTRACTOR  CAN SUE IF YOU GIVE THEIR INFO TO ANOTHER COMPETITOR.   

      A competitive range is determined after initial proposal review and poposal found to be outside the COMPETITIVE RANGE is notified they have been eliminated from the competition.   ANY PROPOSAL FAILING TO MEET THOSE BASIC NEEDS  OF THE RFP ARE ALSO ELIMINATED AT THAT POINT.

      This is ADVANCED ACQUISITION, NOT simple stuff.

      Those 200 MAJOR DEFENSE CONTRACTORS ARE ALL EXPERIENCED IN THIS PROCESS.  IT IS USED AT SYSTEMS LEVEL ACQUISITION OFFICES.     Very doubtful any base support office would have the time, expertise, or capability to do it  in a cost effective way.

       

  • Marlene, Actually I do have an extensive background in "Best Costs Analysis." Often in the supplying of products/finished materials for Government Projects throughout the World, scheduled on site specific amounts delivered with Due Date Penalties 24 hours either side delaying "Entire Payment of Materials" to the end of Contract which at times was Three Years out on multi million dollar bids. Often these "No Bid/Sole Source Contracts" were limited by the size of the required "Bond" for the process. With perhaps six General Contractors capable of carrying such huge Bond Requirements, the opportunities for "Rigging Bids" was prevalent, and extended downwards through the Sub Contractors and Suppliers. Had Smaller General Contractors been allowed to combine Bonds for Bids, the opportunities for bad conduct would have been reduced. The same holds true for "Sole Source", as the requirement to get from point A to point B remains the same. The technology exists for all to utilize. 

    Lynn Bryant DeSpain

    • Lynn,

      Have you taken the SAC-P course.   Systems Acquisition for Contracting Personnel was provided by the Defense Systems Management Colege at Fort Belvoir, VA.   It likely still is and covers all aspect of SYSTEMS LEVEL CONTRACTING.   I still have the textbook.

      Ther is another resource aailable in THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS REFERENCE BOOK, produced by George Washington University.   My copy is dated.   I retired 16 years ago.  However, the fundamentals are based on common sense and they don't really change.

      Most of my Systems experience was in Avionics and Communications.   

      Most all of those actions were above the $5 million threshhold.   BTW Best Value Contracting is labor intensive and the time involved in doing it is just not justified at  Base Level Contracting.   And, honestly, the people working in Base Level Contracting do not have the experience or the exposure use such a complicated procedure.   

      Example of a Systems Contract was XXXXXX-84-C-F109.   The F denotes that it was done by the Avionics Branch.   There were between 1000 and 1200 Acquisition personnel at CECOM at that time.   It was an R&D contract awarded in 1984.   I worked it in the middle 90s.   There were well over 100 modifications at that point.   Most were new work modifications.   

      That was not all that unusual.   It was with Rockwell Collins Government Avionics

    • We are not talking about the same thing in either case.

      BEST VALUE CONTRACTING is used on SYSTEMS CONTRACTS.   IT IS COMPETITIVE RFPs   The intent is to enable potential contractors to MORE THAN THE MINIMUM BASIC REQUIREMENT.   The solicitation provides a list of areas where there are hoped for improved products/services.   And, a rating system for the evaluation.   A  PROPOSAL EVALUATION BOARD IS ESTABLISHED.   EVERY ASPECT IS CLASSIFIED.   ONE BIG REQUIREMENT IS TO PRECLUDE GIVING ONE CONTRACTOR'S PROPOSED PLAN OR ANY PART OF IT TO ANY OTHER CONTRACTOR.   AND ENSURING THAT IT IS ALL DONE FAIRLY   ONLY THE MOST SKILLED OF THE ACQUISITION PEOPLE ARE ASSIGNED THIS TYPE OF ACQUISITION

      SOLE SOURCE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY BONDING REQUIREMENT.   

      IFBs have enerally gone the way of the white elephant because they produce LOW QUALITY PRODUCTS.   ONE GENERAL REFUSED THEIR USE AS THEY GUARANTEE BUYING A 'PIG IN A POKE.

      Sounds like your experience is in BASE SUPPORT CONTRACTING.  Those tend to be lower dollar value and have very little in common with SYSTEMS LEVEL CONTRACTING,  RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, COST CONTRACTING, TIME AND MATERIALS, LABOR HOURS, ETC.

      You seem to be on a good practice of trying to hold the contractors responsible and putting in performance parameters.   That is good.   And, likely the majority, if not all, of your contracts are likely FIRM FIXED PRICE.   

      The SOLE SOURCE CONTRACTS I am talking about are NOT SMALL BUSINESSES.   THEY ARE THE 200 OR SO MAJOR DEFENSE CONTRACTOR THAT HAVE PERFORMANCE HISTORIES ON SYSTEMS TYPE CONTRACTS.   Are you aware that most of those contractors have ongoing R&D effort ongoing AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE WITH NO CONTRACT?   That's right.   And, they own the technical data they develop in that research.   Also, when we buy production quantities such as an LRIP, we often do not buy the tech data package because the cost is prohibitive.   

      Back to your first paragraph,   Cost Analysis is definitely required on any proposal.   And, it should be the best possible.   But, that is not BEST VALUE CONTRACING.   2 TOTALLY DIFFERENT ANIMALS.

       

  • I remember well my times in High School Metal Shop. There was always one student others would tell to take the Rubber Mallet and hit the Iron Anvil as hard as they could. Which of course bounced back, hit his head and knocked him out. Coming awake he would the then go crying to the Instructor about what was done to him. The Instructor invariably asked the bumpy headed kid, "What did you learn from this?" Then walked away. 

    Lynn Bryant DeSpain

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