Albeit a shaky start, a new fiscal year has begun. The onset
of new spending also brings new companies looking at Uncle Sam as a potential
customer, and existing vendors beefing up and revising their strategies for
generating business. Many companies, especially small federal contractors
trying to expand their footprint into other agencies, will be looking for
opportunities to prove themselves and get that first win.
Purchase orders can be one conduit for achieving that.
When an agency has a requirement, particularly something
they need fast or something that is not part of a recurring purchase program
acquired under a blanket purchase agreement or indefinite delivery contract,
they often turn to purchase orders as the award instrument. To expedite the process,
they may also employ Simplified Acquisition Procedures to streamline the
procurement. This is the way most purchase orders are solicited, and represents
less administrative burden for Government and Industry, and has inherent rules
that favor contracting with small businesses.
But many on the industry-side of government contracting look
at buys made this way as insignificant when compared to the tens and hundreds
of billions spent on some established contract vehicles like the GSA Schedule,
Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (or GWACs) and the other types of indefinite
delivery vehicles used by agencies. But if you are seeking to establish
relationships and generate some revenue while waiting for an agency to award one
of these mega-contracts, or are waiting for a task order to be released or a
subcontract to get signed, making PO’s part of your strategy can help keep the
lights on and also be a path to developing relationships to gain access to the larger opportunities.
Since FY2009, government agency buys made using purchase
orders represent just over three percent of the total fiscal spend reported in
FPDS-NG each year.
The small business impact of purchase order spending for
FY13 is just shy of $6B but that will increase once all of the DoD FY13
spending is reported on December 31st. And although $7.8B of the ten billion obligated to purchase orders in FY13 was issued without a small business set-aside,
$3.5B of it went to small businesses. Add that to the $2.3B that was set-aside
by agencies and you wind up with better than half of all PO buys were awarded
to small businesses last fiscal year.
Even with the shutdown and the other budget related
challenges to be faced as we move forward, purchase orders already account for
$212M of government spending since October 1st. Remember, this
number does not include any defense spending because of the ninety-day operational
security delay in making DoD transaction information public. For the record, DoD obligated
$4B to purchase orders in FY13, so far.
My internet radio program and the industry education and
market intelligence seminars we host, both conducted under the banner of "Getting
Your Company PO’d by Uncle Sam™” as well as the government contracting spots I
contribute to CBS Radio’s All News 99.1 WNEW are a great way to learn what
agencies are buying, which agencies are buying and how much they are buying of
what your company offers.
So while you're chasing whale opportunities, learn how to get yourself PO'd by Uncle Sam. You might like it!
Peace.The Chief Visionary
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."