The other day I had a good conversation with a GSA Contracting Officer interested in hearing how other Acquisition Centers are improving the wait time for a GSA Contract review. She seemed overwhelmed by the increase in workload over the past 2/3 years, and for good reason. The GSA has left the response in this much increased workload to the heads of Acquisition Departments. Many have put emphasis on (1) renewing options and (2) modifications, and if there is time left over then a new contract might get awarded. I am NOT criticizing this approach, the GSA is still among the best run agencies in government (in my opinion). However, there is a fatal flaw to this approach in that some very desirable and helpful products are likely not on schedule because they are still awaiting the GSA review and award.
I am not here to whistle-blow, but to try to bring together a dialog for solutions since the Acquisition Centers seem to be missing some really helpful solutions by not connecting with other Centers. Here are some of the approaches that I have seen some Acquisition Centers using, and they seem to be resulting in a higher yield of offer reviews.
- One of the attributes of a very fast acquisition center is that they don’t allow for long wait times. They put a very quick deadline on any needs and reject if everything is not received. This makes the Contractor have to respond quickly, and keeps the process moving towards progress (or the offer is rejected and no longer in the system).
- Quicker Acquisition Centers seem to have CO’s review a pretty high number of offers at once and again reject if vendors are not responsive. The Acquisition Centers that take a “one at a time” approach seem to be the most backlogged.
- Some Acquisition Centers do a pass/fail be a supervisor within the first 2-4 weeks and weed out the bad offers to make room for the good ones. This approach keeps the E-Offer system neat and tidy. Also, a contractor doesn’t have to wait over 6 months (to a year) for a rejection over something simple, which is just not fair.
I hope this helps. This is meant for dialog – so if anyone has anything to add it is most welcome.