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Federal procurement officials dispel industry myths

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Building on an effort to improve communications between federal agencies and industry about government contracts, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy released part two of its “Myth-Busting” campaign to address misconceptions from industry.

The memo reiterates the importance of ”early, frequent and constructive engagement with industry,” especially for high-risk procurements and large information technology projects, that former OFPP administrator Dan Gordon introduced in a memo last year. That memo directed agencies to share more information with contractors.

Here are four of the eight myths OFPP listed in its memo, which was released today by Acting Administrator Lesley Field:

Myth: “The best way to present my company’s capabilities is by marketing directly to contracting officers and/or signing them up for my mailing list.”

Fact: Instead of sending contracting officers and program managers information they may not need, vendors should attend industry days, pre-solicitation conferences and vendor forums that agencies hold for specific upcoming contracts or growth areas. More of these opportunities have been added to the FedBizOpps website.

Myth: “It is a good idea to bring only business development and marketing people to meetings with the agency’s technical staff.”

Fact: Agencies want to know where a company’s capabilities fit in the marketplace and what technology they are bringing, which are usually better addressed by the technical experts at a company.

Myth: “Agencies generally have already determined their requirements and acquisition approach so our impact during the pre-RFP phase is limited.”

Fact: Agencies spend a great deal of effort collecting and analyzing information about what is available in the marketplace.  They are looking for specific information from companies about what works, what doesn’t, and how it can be improved.

Myth: “Agencies have an obligation not to share information about their contracts, such as prices, with other agencies, similar to the obligation they have not to disclose proprietary information to the public.”

Fact: Agencies can and should disclosure of information regarding existing contracts between agencies to help ensure the government is getting the best value for taxpayers.

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Comments

  1. Daily Dump: 8 May 2012 – GrowCon Says:
    May 8th, 2012 at 9:41 am

    [...] – The Office of Federal Procurement Policy also released a memorandum yesterday, which was part of its “mythbusting” campaign to improve transparency regarding the federal procurement process.  [Federal Times]. [...]

  2. Jim Says:
    May 10th, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Myth: Federal Contracting Officers have complete job security even when they purchase for completely useless items such as the USAF 7 billion dollar logistics software that does not work or TSA’s 3/4 billion dollar worth of scrap metal hiding away in hangars.
    Fact: The above is true

  3. Procurement Books Says:
    June 5th, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    There really should be enough transparency in federal procurement so that the taxpayers, too, may know where their money goes in certain projects. Reports should be made with a breakdown of the spending made and the results acquired.