Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Joy Of Lex: FARS Part 2

When Lexicon Means Profit

Why would FARS Part 2 be interesting? It's about the language, or lexicon, of contracting and its definitions. 
Because the Joy of "Lex" can be tangible. "Oh, Yawn," you say.  Not so fast. What if tiny little FARS Part 2 were a key to profit and competitive advantage? Read on.

In government contracting, everyday words and phrases have very specific meanings. How is a "commercial item" different from a "commercially available off-the-shelf item"? What does "cost or pricing data" include? Is your product or service "environmentally preferable"?

You want to know the answers for two reasons.

First: Competitive Advantage. Understand and comply with the terms and ensure your proposal qualifies for every advantages.

Three examples:

  • if the solicitation says that environmentally preferable products shall receive preference in evaluation, you want to be sure your products qualify, find out how that sets you apart from your competition, and, if so, be sure your proposal shows how you qualify. 
  • If the solicitation says that only environmentally preferable products shall be purchased, you want to be sure to include information about how your products meet that definition, so you don't get disqualified on a technicality. 
  • Armed with Good Lex, you can also point out competitors who aren't compliant -- and disqualify them from a competition. 
Second: Compliance with Incorporated Terms
The standard contract includes definitions simply by referring to FAR Part 2. That's called "incorporation by reference." Government contracts incorporate hundreds of provisions by reference. In other words, the government buyer expects you to know what all these terms mean when you sign that contract, even though the contract doesn't spell them all out. And if you don't know what they mean, the FAR reference points you to where you can look it up.

Neeld Wilson, President of GEAR Engineering, found himself scrambling on his first federal contract proposal to remove an underground storage tank. He was looking for the statement of work in order to cost the job, because that information seemed to be missing from the Request for Proposal. 

His proposal consultant showed him the small clause that referred to published project standards that his proposal needed to meet. 

If his proposal hadn't complied with those standards, his offer would have been rejected. Instead, he went on to win a project worth several hundred thousand dollars.

The Joy Of Good Lex: Helps You Win.

Got a story about a definition that made a difference for you? Email me, or leave a comment!

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