Sequestration is just the front-page threat to small federal contractors.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Posted by: Guy Timberlake (theasbc.org/visionary)
With very little room for argument, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is sequestration and the current and anticipated negative impact it will have on government contracting and the Nation. As this tsunami of economic destruction prepares to wreak total havoc, just below the surface are other threats already doing damage.
Just the other day, my friend Steven Koprince who writes the SmallGovCon blog, did a piece on a GAO decision from November 2012 that should send chills up the spines of every small federal contractor and those supporting them.
Let me preface my next comments by saying I live by my own words when it comes to business versus set-aside business. I would rather have one million in business, than one hundred-thousand in small, 8(a), Women-owned or otherwise set-aside business. My analogy to folks who get wrapped around their own axles when it comes to pigeonholing themselves as a company focused on their socioeconomic designations rather than their capabilities.
Back to my point.
In the GAO case Steve writes about, VA and GAO opted to kick the "rule of two" and common sense to the curb by not setting aside a VA procurement although several small businesses responded to RFI. While responding to market research may not indicate capability or capacity, I echo Steve's sentiments about being troubled by how VA reached it's "not capable decision." You can click here to read his entire entry.
Here's the rub.
Sequestration is what we hear about every day, but other factors that diminish opportunities for small businesses and agencies to collaborate include:
- strategic sourcing - no one truly understands or agrees on the impact to small business, and no one in authority is doing much to address it.
- RFI TMI - too much information being requested in RFI's although FAR 10.001(b) cites "When conducting market research, agencies should not request potential sources to submit more than the minimum information necessary." Wouldn't submitting information in an RFI that will likely/definitely be requested in an RFP be considered more than necessary?
- dazed and confused? - legislation and policy overload when it comes to small business and government contracting has many in government playing it safe to the point of inaction, one possible root cause for greater than fifty-percent of simplified acquisitions being awarded to "other than small businesses." That's more than $15 billion dollars in FY11 and FY12 that could easily have been facilitated by any number of qualified and responsible small federal contractors.
These issues on top of the loss of "touch" opportunities due to canceled conferences stemming from economic and bad behavior factors, and the plethora of large companies taking advantage of current conditions to cut small subcontractors at breakneck speed is just confirmation small federal contractors as a community, truly need to achieve harmony and rhythm in order to sustain.
The Chief Visionary
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."
Visibility and Opportunities for Growing Small Federal Contractors. SAP Task Force™.