Monday, February 22, 2010

FARS Part 10: Two Ways To Leverage Research

When Federal Buyers Hunt, You Want To Be Seen

FARS Part 10 outlines all the things federal buyers are supposed to find out about how well potential suppliers can meet the requirement before they launch a competition.

Why do you care?
  • If you're the only company that can meet the requirement, that research can support a sole source award. Gain the advantage by making sure that buyers know and lust after your unique characteristics.
  • If many vendors have capability to meet the requirement, then the research results affect the kind of competitive process you can start to get ready for.
  • And perhaps most important, if you want to be considered as a credible source, FARS Part 10 gives you the list of exactly what buyers have been told to find out when you come calling! If you're smart, you've now got a checklist when you're preparing your marketing materials!
What do you think they need to know? Find out at FARS Part 10.002.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Why To Love FARS Part 9: Are You Simply Irresistible?

Making Contractor Responsibility High Impact, Low Drama

Writing this one, I got stuck in one of those songs that won't get out of my with apologies to the late Robert Palmer, I begin with a singalong (link here for the original tune)

You’re basically responsible
Always certifiable
Truly qualifiable
Never been convictable
Your 8(a) is a star, you're a powerful force
You’re part of a team 'cause there's no other course
Before, you looked good, but now they find you

Simply Irresistible

Okay now that I've passed that along to YOU, here are just some of the gems waiting for you in FARS Part 9, and why you care.
  • FARS 9.104-1: Only responsible companies can be awarded a contract. So, what's it mean to be "responsible"? Better yet: by that definition, could your competition be found irresponsible? That might be a competitive edge for you!
  • FARS 9.2: Are you technically dominant in your field? If the contracting officer decided that prospective vendors must meet a high level of technical qualification, would that be to your advantage? Find out how that can happen.
  • FARS 9.5: Sure, we all want to shape the spec, but here's how can going too far lock you out of the business you're positioning to win.
  •  FARS 9.6: Are you teamed -- in the eyes of your contracting officer? See what definition qualifies in federal contracts.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

FARS Part 8: Mandatory Sources Rules That Mean Business

Who Ya GOTTA Call?
Quick question: which FAR would let a government buyer call Ghostbusters? (Answer at the bottom....) And why do you care?  Meet FARS Part 8.

Reason One: Because it's great to be a mandatory source -- if you know the rules that say when government MUST buy from you.The best known mandatory sources are General Services Administration Schedule Contracts.  FARS SubPart 8.4 gives you the details on how government uses these popular contracts, including valuable info on Blanket Purchase Agreements.

Reason Two: But wait! Even if you have a GSA Schedule, did you know which mandatory sources are in line ahead of you?  

Reason Three: Other special rules might apply to you. You need to know how they work if you want to win. A client of mine in the printing industry had been providing millions of dollars worth of printing services through contracts administered by the Government Printing Office (GPO). She asked for my help exploring sources of new government business, because she wondered if she could offer a better deal directly than the prices her clients paid through GPO. FARS SubPart 8.8 specified GPO as a mandatory source, but says there can be exceptions, if the government buyer's needs can't be met by GPO.  So I called GPO's legal counsel to ask how one went about getting exceptions.

Um, well, don't bother trying, was the basic answer. He couldn't remember the last time they'd granted an exception. But knowing the rule to look for meant I could have an intelligent conversation with the person in charge of the rules and get good guidance.

Oh, if you gotta call Ghostbusters, better look up FARS Subpart 8.002 (b).

Sources other than those listed in paragraph (a) of this section may be used as prescribed in 41 CFR 101-26.301 and in an unusual and compelling urgency as prescribed in 6.302-2 and in 41 CFR 101-25.101-5.