August 10, 2012 at 8:09 pm #167663
The relationship between government an industry seems to be getting worse.
Case in point: I was speaking to a group of small businesses about strained relations with their federal clients. The conversation focused on acquisition personnel, who seemingly do not understand, or who simply do not want to be bothered with actually solving issues with contract performance.
As opposed to constructive relations with their contractors, and discussing performance issues constructively like a true business partnership, some contracting officials immediately start discussions by threatening contract termination.
This is the wrong approach on many levels, least of which is that these officials do not understand what it takes to terminate a contract. Many issues can be resolved if the contracting, or program officials, took the time to understand the issues, see where the real problems are, and fix them.
Firstly, what is the real problem? Try and get at the root cause. Is it a contractual issue? Has this occurred before? If so, why?
Asking questions in a non-confrontational environment is required to get answers to fix problems, lower risk to performance, and ensure both sides understand their roles and responsibilities. There is a possibility, after all, that the government is at fault and the contractor can not perform due to a poorly written contract, incomplete or inaccurate requirements, or other performance issues from the government’s side.
1) Have you done this to a contractor? If so, why?
2) Do you work with Contracting Officers who do this? What are the outcomes?
3) How have businesses worked in this environment?
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