FY2013 Small Business Goal Achievement? Not Excited.The Chief Visionary
I hate to be part of the crowd that rains on the Government's parade following the announcement they finally got the right number of dollars into the hands of small business concerns, but I'm going to. Don't get me wrong, I want them to be successful because ultimately everyone wins, right? But it's the measure of success Uncle Sam is using that causes me heartburn.
Let's get the big one's out of the way first, literally. The Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS-NG) shows me (and you if you want to go look!):
- Berkshire Hathaway received $370M in small business obligations during FY13;
- United Technologies Corporation received $20M in small business obligations during FY13, and;
- Raytheon Company received $13M in small business obligations during FY13.
This was a very quick search on a list of small businesses that received in excess of $10M for the entire fiscal year. On that same list were eight companies I know to have graduated from the world of 'small business' many years ago, several companies I used to work for that are no longer eligible, others I competed against and more that have been acquired. The combined obligations of these entities is in the hundreds of millions of FY13 ''small business' dollars.
How about the descriptor of 'eligible contracting dollars?' What is that? If they're going to have a goal. it should be based on the governmentwide spend and not some whittled down piece of the spend.
Then there's the fact Uncle Sam takes credit when they didn't do anything. For example, for the current fiscal year, of the $264B in governmentwide spending YTD, only $27B has been set-aside for small business. That's not the number that counts however. What will be touted is the fact $48B has been awarded to small businesses even though the $21B was awarded without set-asides being used.
This last one is a minor one, but I think it matters. I think the Government should only get credit for new business on new contracts. Modifications shouldn't count. At least not all of them.
Of the reported $83B in small business obligations during FY13, only $57B represented contracts, delivery orders, task orders, purchase orders, etc. The rest was modifications. I have no problem with options being exercised but the amount of new work within scope, scope changes and mystery 'funding only actions' are tremendous. I also have a question about the number of dollars attributed to 'vendor address change.' It seems a bit much.
When you consider all of that and then peel away the directed (sole source and not competed) awards to small businesses, we're left with $47B. Apply my logic of only giving credit for set-asides versus the business small federal contractors win on their own and the number comes down to $26B. From here, if we remove the Raytheon, Berkshire Hathaway, United Technologies and related 'not really small business' dollars, I wonder what we're left with?
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."