This column was initially revealed on Roger Waldron’s weblog at The Coalition for Government Procurement and was republished right here with permission from the creator.
The Biden administration’s deal with enhancing alternatives for small companies gives a well timed event for federal managers to take inventory of present acquisition methods, processes, and necessities that impression enterprise alternatives within the federal market. This weblog focuses on the federal government’s long-running success in selling small enterprise alternatives in federal acquisition.
Over time, the Common Providers Administration, to its credit score, developed an acquisition technique centered on a portfolio of standalone small enterprise governmentwide acquisition contracts that exist along with its different governmentwide contract autos which might be devoted to assembly buyer company mission help by means of using small enterprise contracting. It isn’t an overstatement to say that the success of this technique in supporting small companies is unparalleled in federal acquisition.
As you recognize, within the final decade, GSA’s IT GWAC portfolio included Alliant Unrestricted because the GSA GWAC open to aside from small companies. Alliant 2 is the present follow-on to the unique Alliant Unrestricted. GSA constructed its portfolio of small enterprise GWACs round Alliant Unrestricted, offering streamlined entry to small companies throughout the socio-economic classes. GSA’s small enterprise GWACs, Alliant Small Enterprise (SB), 8(a) STARS II and the follow-on STARS III, VETS, and VETS 2, have given rise to greater than $22.2 billion in job orders with small companies, accounting for 43.8% of complete GSA GWAC spend during the last 9 years. This spending result’s well-above the federal authorities’s 23% small enterprise contracting aim.
There was a decline in small enterprise spending as a result of expiration of Alliant SB. The excellent news right here, nonetheless, is that GSA has launched into Polaris, the brand new follow-on procurement that may exchange Alliant SB. Nonetheless, in 2020, the GSA GWACs noticed 40.1% of spend going to small companies, once more, well-above the aforementioned authorities small enterprise contracting aim. The upcoming award of Polaris ought to fill this void.
As with many issues in life, on the planet of IT GWACs and governmentwide contracting autos, imitation is the sincerest type of flattery. The IT GWAC program managed by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being has included an IT GWAC — NIH CIO-SP3 — set-aside completely for small enterprise issues. The ensuing efficiency in offering alternatives for small enterprise has been excellent. Since 2012, there was greater than $7.6 billion spent with small companies by means of CIO-SP3, accounting for 44.9% of complete CIO-SP3 spending.
Equally, in 2014, GSA established its governmentwide skilled companies IDIQ, OASIS and OASIS SB. Since 2014 and the awards of OASIS and OASIS SB, there was greater than $12.8 billion for small companies by means of OASIS SB accounting for 43.9% of complete OASIS program spending.
Streamlining is on the coronary heart of the exceptional success of the standalone small enterprise IT GWACs and OASIS SB. The standalone method removes process-related hurdles related to set-aside contracts and/or orders. It gives a streamlined, direct mannequin the place job orders are issued inside a platform (contract car) made up completely of small enterprise issues. In essence, GSA and NIH have performed the upfront work for buyer companies in creating the small enterprise eco-system for competitors in assembly mission necessities. Furthermore, the creation and upkeep of the standalone small enterprise IT GWACs and OASIS SB sends a strong message concerning the federal authorities’s sturdy dedication to procurement alternatives for small companies.
Considerably, regardless of its profitable observe document in supporting small companies, NIH has chosen to desert the standalone small enterprise IT GWAC mannequin in its follow-on CIO-SP4 procurement. The present construction brings small, medium, and enormous companies collectively on a single contract car. This method will increase complexity on the order degree when buyer companies search to set-aside work. Much more importantly, it lowers the profile of the small enterprise portion of the NIH CIO-SP4. Not will the small enterprise neighborhood and the shopper companies have a high-profile, streamlined, and separate contract car devoted to small enterprise IT procurement alternatives.
Simply as considerably, GSA is contemplating eliminating OASIS SB as a part of its acquisition technique for the OASIS program follow-on, the “Providers MAC.”
Given the excellent observe document of GSA’s small enterprise IT GWACs, NIH’s CIO-SP3 small enterprise GWAC, and OASIS SB, the abandonment of the acquisition method of those autos of their follow-on procurements seems to be inconsistent with rising alternatives for small companies. However the truth that these acquisition methods originated during the last 24 months, it’s onerous to sq. these approaches with the Biden administration’s elevated dedication to small enterprise alternatives in federal procurement.