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Outside of complaining, are you doing anything about it?

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Monday, June 23, 2014
Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014

Outside of complaining, are you doing anything about it?

During fiscal year 2013, sixty-four federal agencies, boards and commissions obligated better than $17B to the purchase of goods and services including construction and research & development using the Simplified Acquisition Procedures. Most of these were competitive buys procured largely from small business concerns in ways not requiring them to have an established contract vehicle such as the GSA Schedule.

At last check, small businesses realized nearly $10B of the FY13 pot, leaving $7B for 'other than small business' concerns. The majority of the dollars awarded to small business were obligated without the use of set-asides. Either the big guy's didn't show up, or when they did, it didn't matter. As for the $7B obligated to the non-small businesses, that's a lot of dough that could go to growing many viable small businesses and creating lot's of jobs. Yet with the exception of companies in specific industries, simplified acquisitions don't get much respect when it comes to being written into a strategy. Concurrently, there is a significant level of complaining occurring within the small business community with regard to set-aside opportunities, but not much being done about it.

Not too long ago I discussed the difference between set-aside obligations and those where contracting officers indicated an award to small business concerns including and irrespective of set-aside opportunities. I've also discussed the 'rule of two' extensively. Are small businesses doing anything to help themselves to that $7B awarded to non-small businesses by say, marketing to the buyers making the awards to demonstrate that there are two or more responsible small business concerns that are competitive in terms of market prices, quality, and delivery?

Think about it. If most of the FY13 dollars obligated to medium and large companies were competitive (excluding the buys where the Test Program for Certain Commercial Items was leveraged) these buyers were saying they did not expect to receive responses from viable small businesses. Do I need to show you what they were buying to help you understand the opportunities that exist?

Let me put it this way. As of January 1, 2014, fourteen-thousand small business concerns had 'money on the books' as a result of simplified acquisition purchases. Of that total, one-hundred thirty of them had received obligations in excess of $1M, totaling more than $400M YTD. At this point, Uncle Sam had just crested the $1B mark for FY14 simplified acquisitions. Sixty-one agencies are closing in on $8B of these streamlined purchases to small and large vendors as of today.

Do I have your attention yet?


The Chief Visionary

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

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