There are as many ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal acquisition process as there are procurement challenges, and rapid improvements to the procurement process are possible.
These are the overarching conclusions reached by the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) in conjunction with their recent government and industry procurement survey.
APMP’s survey highlights the fundamental differences between industry and government viewpoints. The survey focuses on the difference between official policy, as represented by the Federal Acquisition Regulation and “myth-busting” memos issued by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and what actually happens in day-to-day practice. The significant difference between policy and execution provides the foundation for the title of the survey report: “Closing the Procurement Gap.”
In all, nine specific actions are recommended to industry, and eight recommendations are made to government acquisition professionals. Highlighted among them are:
Recommendations to Industry
- Focus on providing solutions to government.
- Respond seriously to RFIs and market surveys.
- Stop filing so many protests, and consider their validity and business impact.
- Help the government evaluate risk, cost, probability of success, and paths to success.
- Communicate with government acquisition personnel and don’t waste their time.
- Make white papers focus on a successful procurement, not skewing the procurement to your favor.
Recommendations to Government
- Mandate that communication with industry remain open until final RFP release, and make sure contracting and program officials know the communication rules.
- Eliminate the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) procurement strategy for services and allow its use only for commodities.
- Include sections L and M in draft RFPs (section L addresses proposal preparation requirements, and section M discloses the government’s proposal evaluation factors).
- Regularly publish and update projected release dates for RFPs.
- Consider eliminating “alternate proposal” options.
- Carefully review RFPs to ensure they are complete.
- Quit being so risk adverse of debriefings, and provide more meaningful information to offerors in debriefs.
The APMP’s survey report is based on more than 500 responses — 350 from industry and 157 from government. The full survey, including detailed findings and all recommendations, can be downloaded by clicking here.