Organizational Structure of the Department of Defense (March 2018)
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Spend enough time at matchmaking events, industry days, networking events and conferences in the #GovCon world, and one could amass quite a collection of Capabilities Statements. If one were into collecting them. Which I am:
The capabilities (or capability) statement is your business’s resume; as such, it needs to combine the technical skillset you’re offering with an attractive format that would cause a neutral third party to pick it up and glance at it. There are plenty of resources (APTAC, HHS, SAP&DC) who will tell you what to put in it. ISI Federal lays it out in a graphical format. FDIC has a whole slide deck. I’d like to take you through a slightly different analysis:
“Who [or what] is it for?”
Is your one-pager ready for prime time? Make sure you’re not guilty of any egregious “Don’ts“. Keep your customer paramount in your mind when you’re writing and designing: will she want to pick it up? Read it? share it? Do you even know who your customer is? If not, do your homework first.
And if you would like some help, contact your local PTAC. We’ve got our red pens at the ready.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) updated its Table of Small Business Size Standards adopting the Office of Management and Budget’s 2017 revision of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) effective October 1, 2017. The revised NAICS Codes and their corresponding size standards will be available in SAM for use in entity registrations starting October 7, 2017. The updated table of size standards is available now on SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/size.
For more information please contact your Virginia PTAC counselors.
Due to the emergency situation caused by the hurricanes, contracting offices are using authority to waive the requirement for SAM registration in purchases that directly support the emergency response. If you’re helping a vendor who is not yet registered in SAM but needs a CAGE code, the expedited process instructions are below.
(information on selling to disaster response agencies)
Subject: Obtaining CAGE codes for vendors responding to the Hurricanes
Hello everyone – obviously we expect that there will be many offices responding to the hurricanes with emergency purchases where SAM registration is waived per FAR 4.1102(a)(3)(iii) and part 18.102. We want to get the below instructions out for how you can still help your vendors obtain CAGE codes (if they don’t already have one) that are required per FAR 4.1804 for other than micro-purchase actions:
1 – Go to https://cage.dla.mil
2 – Choose ‘Request or Update a CAGE Code’ and hit Begin on the next page
The user will then be taken through a series of pages where they provide the data necessary to set up a CAGE code, but before they get to those elements, they have to answer a few more questions. In order for the CAGE website not to just direct them to go register in SAM, the users need to answer exactly as follows:
From here on, the user is just providing their name, address, etc.information. Should be simple from here.
Be aware – when a user requests a CAGE code be established via this method (instead of through registering in SAM), it goes into manual processing at DLA in Battle Creek. It’s very important that the user enter ‘hurricane’ in the purpose field after they choose other. The CAGE team is going to search for that term in each request that comes in and move those to the top to be worked.
For non-GPC actions, it’s important that the vendor get a CAGE code assigned and it be included in the contract when its distributed to ensure that their eventual payment is streamlined and not held up for manual action. Note also that without a valid CAGE code, an action will fail Procurement Data Standard (PDS) validations.
If these are going to be on-going contracts (such as reconstruction), it would behoove the vendors to eventually actually get registered in SAM (they can use the CAGE code that will be assigned in this process when they do so) even if they’re not technically required to do so because the contract was initially exempted due to the emergency. Being registered in SAM will just make the whole invoicing and payment processes run a bit smoother if the contract lasts for a while.
Lisa Romney, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy Office of Acquisition Technology and Logistics
I am lucky to attend many a procurement conference. The piles of business cards, and the expansive collection of branded grocery shopping bags in my car will attest to that.
I go to learn the content, sometimes to speak, and to meet people (and depending on the content of the conference, not necessarily in that order). In fact, defining the business goals for attending – including sponsoring or exhibiting – is essential if you want to avoid wasting your time and money at events that aren’t right for your business. The process goes something like this:
there’s nothing more frustrating than going to an event marketed as “Special event for government contractors” and there are 2 government contracting businesses in the room. Look at past events, peruse the sponsor information, if published. Talk to the organizers. Ask your industry contacts if they think this is a good event.
Sometimes you have to see and be seen. If a preeminent industry event is happening and all your competitors are showing up and your absence would loudly proclaim that you’re not paying attention — then you better put on that suit and register before it’s all sold out. If a customer tells you that they’re putting on an event and expending effort to bring you a program, get their folks to agree to speak, those should all be good signs that your absence won’t go unnoticed.
Some of the events may not be all about you making a sale. Sometimes, you may want to learn about trends in the industry or resources that you can use in your business. Looking for a legal pro? An event featuring attorney speakers on a particular subject matter may be a quick way to get a question answered – and perhaps a lead on a good attorney you can retain. Same thing goes for any resource you need: the people putting on events, appearing as subject matter experts tend to be well connected, and may be great resources for your business.
You’re there to learn – so engage, participate, ask questions, take the opportunity to have a word with a speaker (or at least get their card). You can also make a good impression from the audience if you post / tweet about the event in progress, linking to the speakers’ and organizers’ Twitter handles can get you a few “likes” and “retweets” – building your name recognition and notoriety even as you’re in the audience.
If your customers and partners are walking around and you want to get noticed, having an exhibit table is a quick way for them to find you. If you have something that catches their eye and gets them to your table – all the better. At many conferences, sponsors get advanced marketing, such as social media, print, and website recognition. Bigger events even pre-print giveaways with all the sponsor logos. Word of caution: if you do decide to exhibit or sponsor an event – make sure you’re ready. Do you have something to give away? (even a capabilities statement and some candy). Do you have a professional-looking presence? Logo, tablecloth, banner…. You don’t want to be over- or under- dressed for the occasion. If you’ve gone to an event before, you know what all the other exhibitors will have. You don’t want to look like you didn’t prepare. If you’re a first-time attendee to a particular conference, it’s perfectly fine to just attend and make a decision if it’s worth exhibiting the following year.
What have you done at events you attended that made a difference in your business?
If you’re wondering if attending conferences is a good idea – Here’s what I think. This article is entirely about the “goodies.”
I decided to do a business experiment, in the make of marketing and wise use of resources: Attending the Veterans in Business conference and getting one piece of “everything” with the hope of learning a couple of lessons. A couple of observations:
I was disappointed to score only one flash drive, and zero phone chargers! Car chargers and USB battery packs were all the rage in the last few years, but no longer. It seems that everyone is still into phone accessories though:
Health and wellness were big:
Plenty of office goodies
i counted 25 pens (a couple of duplicates)!
Oh and right, the handouts
from vendors (left, 2″ high) and government (right, about 1″ high plus the book).
What you don’t see pictured is the candy. An easy way to get folks to your table. An inexpensive marketing investment. And if all you have is paper – candy will soften the hard edges.
Goodies-wise, the standout table of the whole conference of course never made it into any bag – it was a delicious display of cookies from Dog Tag Bakery.
Making the best first impression is important. But no matter how cool your giveaway, it won’t transform a passer-by into a client – that’s YOUR job. Gadgets can help.
What were some of the best (and worst) giveaways you have seen at business events?
A fundamental building block of your company’s government contracting existence. The NAICS codes define you, quite literally, by associating your offerings with a certain segment of the universe of products and services sold in North America. Then why are they so difficult to get right?
First, let’s define the problem.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, NAICS, or “North American Industrial Classification System”, is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. NAICS was developed under the auspices of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and adopted in 1997 to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. It was developed jointly by the U.S. Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC), Statistics Canada, and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia to allow for a high level of comparability in business statistics among the North American countries.
As of February 2016, there are 1045 active NAICS codes. 536 of them refer to services (from banking to industrial launderers to fur-bearing animal production), 509 refer to wholesalers and manufacturers (from music stores to dental labs to fasteners/buttons/needles).
And there must be one out there that perfectly describes you, and if you find it, everything is smooth sailing…
Not so fast.
Federal contractors need to look at NAICS Codes, much like they need to look at everything else they’re doing in pursuit of business: from their customer’s viewpoint.
So here are some best practices for figuring out what your NAICS codes should be.
Step I: Easy Stuff
Step II: Secret Squirrel Methodology [The logic behind seemingly illogical coding]
When you searched procurement history, you probably came across NAICS Codes that did not make sense. I have found “frozen foods” purchases coded as IT services. I recently even ran across a Piano purchase that was coded as an armored vehicle (Contract # VA24416F6918 if you want to see for yourself). There are 2 things you need to think about: why does that happen, and what do you need to do about it.
First, Why, oh why, do NAICS codes used by my customers make no sense to me?
Let’s say there’s a $20 million dollar business that has been doing great work and when the contract comes up for recompete, the government customer wants the company to be included in the competition – have a chance to win the work. Would the government ever put that procurement, if it’s a small business set-aside, under a NAICS code where the small business threshold is $6M? No, because that would preclude them from competing altogether.
So what do you do? Stay calm and do research. When you are searching for opportunities and past awards, use a variety of search cirteria – keywords, agencies, vendors, not just NAICS, because if that’s the only criteria – it will be both too broad, and at the same time, too limiting as you are likely to miss good opportunities.
GSA and Department of the Navy recently signed a memorandum of understanding for extended use of the OASIS (One Acquisition Solution For Integrated Services) contract for complex professional services requirements. Its focus includes, but is not limited to; Military Engineering, Aircraft R&D, and Space and Missiles R&D. Using the OASIS contract offers the NAVY a streamlined acquisition tool to meet its requirements while reducing costly duplicate contracts. Additional information: OASIS@GSA.GOV.
Source: Defense Logistics Agency
In order to standardize procurement transactions across the Federal Government, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 4.16, Unique Procurement Instrument Identifiers (PIID) has been amended to implement a uniform award identification system referred to as the Procurement Instrument Identification (PIID).
For DLA, the new PIID structure will continue to require use of Activity Address Codes (AACs) as the unique identifier for contracting offices, the current fiscal year, instrument type and a four-character serial number. Existing contract, purchase order, and delivery order numbers will not change.
More information about the October 2017 changes will be provided as we move closer to the implementation date.
Please monitor the DLA Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS) and/or the Supplier Information Resource Center (SIRC) for updates. Additional information will be provided as we move closer to the implementation dates.