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What's all the hubbub, bub? (Why light is shining on simplified acquisitions, finally!)

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Monday, August 06, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 06, 2012
I promise, I will try, try, try to keep this as brief as I can, but it will be difficult given the topic.
Here we go.
Simplified Acquisitions, the procedures (SAP), the threshold and the dollars being spent, are currently in a limelight. I don't know if it is "the" limelight, but it, rather they, are getting much needed attention from the Administration, Congress and the Agencies. My hope is small businesses around the industry will apply the same level of attention to this acquisition method, given it's particular relevance to small government contractors.
So, here's me cutting to the chase.
Simplified Acquisitions are one of the easiest ways for federal agencies to procure goods and services. It does not require a company to have a specific contract or contract vehicle as these purchases happen largely as "open market" acquisitions.
Generally speaking, it is a relatively unknown acquisition method to many small businesses, a lot of folks in industry, and to many purchasing professionals as well (not a slight). Micropurchases, the easiest way for agencies to procure goods and services, is by far the most well-known streamlined purchase method.
Compared to another more well-known streamlined purchasing method, the GSA Federal Supply Schedule, overall dollars spent via Simplified Acquisitions each year are smaller. But they have been growing! While the GSA Schedule has stayed within a fairly narrow range since FY09, Simplified Acquisition spending grew from roughly $4 billion government-wide in FY09, to over $15 billion government-wide in FY11.

Additionally, the language in the FAR regarding why these procedures were created essentially says " to foster additional business opportunities for small and small disadvantaged business concerns in government contracting"
On top of everything else, the recent joint memo from OFPP Administrator Joseph Jordan and SBA Administrator Karen Mills discusses several areas of small business participation in government contracting, but especially focuses on "maximizing opportunities for small businesses under the simplified acquisition threshold (which is $3,000 to $150,000 per action)." As a result, agencies are on high-alert to follow the "rule of two" to determine how many more of these dollars can be awarded to small business concerns. I know for a fact Army and Air Force are, and I would assume if these two agencies have elevated these types of purchases on their daily radar, others have or will soon follow suit.
Still with me?
For the last three fiscal years, purchases made using the Simplified Acquisition Procedures have grown significantly, and there is little reason to believe FY12 will be different. FPDS-NG already reports over $8 billion in purchases completed YTD and that number is based on a ninety-day lag in DoD reporting (for reasons of operational security). With the time left in this fiscal year, the remaining contracting dollars agencies apparently have in their coffers if you follow recent industry news, there is a lot to be spent before we are done. Think we'll beat $15 billion? I do.
There's plenty of time to think about sequestration, elections, and constrained budgets.Trust me.
For now, what are you doing to get information about your goods and/or services in front of the customers and buyers who have already leveraged these procedures for themselves, and those that will?
In fact, what are you doing to get the information you need to find the folks who already spend dollars this way, what is currently/historically being purchased, and how do you position your company for opportunities and success?
Just think, if this kind of attention was in effect last fiscal year, small government contractors could have easily realized a good chunk of the $8 billion in awards to "other than small businesses"  What a difference that could have made to so many.


The Chief Visionary


"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

Differentiate Yourself. Develop and Leverage Your Small Business C4ISR™.
(Capacity, Commitment, Core Competency, Intelligence, Strategy and Relationships)

Tags:  joseph jordan  karen mills  memo  ofpp  rule of two  sba  simplified acquisition  Small Business 

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