Negotiations & Contract Administration
Negotiations & Contract Administration
If you are competing for award of a U.S. Government contract, or have already received an award and are currently performing work, it is inevitable that you will be interfacing with Government acquisition staff – specifically, Contract Specialists (CS), Contracting Officer’s Representatives (COR), and most importantly…Contracting Officers (CO), who are responsible for implementation of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), are charged with ensuring the integrity and fairness of the procurement process, and who in most cases select the winning contractor. The Contracting Officer is thus critical throughout the entire acquisition process, and is in fact the only official in the entire U.S. Government who is authorized to sign Government contracts.
As a former U.S. Government Contract Specialist and Senior Supervisory Contracting Officer, I have an insider’s knowledge of every phase of the Government acquisition process. I speak their language! I know what they’re thinking! I understand their perspective and their concerns!
My extensive experience and behind-the-scenes knowledge will keep you out of trouble, and help your company smoothly and successfully navigate key phases of the acquisition process – Pre-Award communications and responses, Proposal Evaluation, Proposal Negotiations, and Post-Award Contract Administration
Pre-Award includes a number of key Government acquisition planning activities. Such activities include “Requests For Information” (RFI), by which the Government intends to gauge company capabilities and contract eligibility, “Pre-Proposal” conferences where the Government can explain its requirements and will often hold one-on-one meetings, and the issuance of “Draft Solicitations” (Requests For Proposal – RFP), which seek industry comment on Government requirements and potential contract terms and conditions. During these key elements of the pre-award process, properly responding to Government requests and communications can be critical to successfully moving through to the next phase of the procurement process.
During the critical proposal evaluation phase, you may find that the Government has questions about your proposal, your “Past Performance”, or your eligibility for award. These questions are called “Clarifications”. Clarifications are governed by a strict set of rules and regulations, and it is critical that your responses are properly formulated so as not to inadvertently negatively impact your ability to receive a contract award. At this stage, you may also be considered as one of a number of companies to be included in a “Competitive Range” - a group of companies who have submitted the most highly rated proposals, and with whom the Government intends to negotiate further. Here, the Government may engage in “Communications”, the results of which will either result in your company being included in the competitive range, or eliminated from further competition. If your company is included in this select group, negotiations (known as “Discussions”) will commence.
In this phase, your company will be provided feedback from Government technical and cost evaluators regarding any significant proposal weaknesses and/or deficiencies. You may be permitted to discuss these issues face-to-face with Government procurement personnel, or you may simply be provided written comments. You will then be allowed to revise and resubmit your proposal for further evaluation. It is critical that when reviewing Government evaluator feedback, discussing weaknesses with Government staff, and implementing proposal revisions, you fully understand the Government evaluation process, the specific evaluation criteria by which you are being rated, and the underlying implications of evaluator feedback. If not, you risk receiving lower ratings, which can jeopardize your chances of receiving the award. Having been on the other side of the table, managing this process for the Government, I can provide insight and guidance to help you successfully navigate this critical time.
Post-Award Contract Administration
Now that you have won the contract (assuming you hired me, and followed all my advice!), we move to the Contract Administration phase. Here again, there are numerous pitfalls, and a multitude of rules, regulations, and responsibilities. This is where an intimate knowledge of Government contract types is essential, as the rights and responsibilities of each party will vary widely, depending on the type of contract. Common contract types include Fixed-Price (FP), Cost-Reimbursable (CR), Time and Materials (T&M), and Task Order type contracts like Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ). There are also contracts incorporating various combination of these types, called Hybrid Contracts. When Performance-Based techniques and Incentives are added, it can get very complicated, very fast. Finally, because Government requirements and contract funding frequently change during the course of performance, you will likely be regularly required to develop and negotiate change proposals, and discuss revising various terms and conditions. A lack of understanding of your specific rights as to costs, profit, acceptable performance and delivery, as well as allowable contract changes can cost you significantly, both in money, and in negative past performance reviews, which will jeopardize future contract awards.
Be Smart…Gain the Competitive Advantage!
To help you successfully navigate through all these phases, you absolutely need someone who has “been there” and “done that”. As a former Contract Specialist, Contracting Officer, and finally Procurement Analyst, you can rest assured that my expertise will successfully guide and protect you along the way.
Integrity. Confidentiality. Unmatched Expertise.