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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Changing Dynamics of Collaboration in Today's Small Business Service Contracting


Collaboration in government service contracting is changing dramatically. 

Gone is the emphasis on one-upmanship, closed exclusive relationships and protectionism based on the idea that the government has an endless stream of funding available for a marching army of proprietary contractors.

The government is becoming more open, opaque in its dealings, driven by dire efficiency issues and weighed down with a massive debt load. 

Budget and funding pressures, competition for scarce resources, efficiency and similar concerns are creating an environment where open, accessible communication and teaming at several levels can yield excellent returns for progressive small enterprises and their partners.
These advances are being enhanced by communication and processes made instant with technology, remarkably enabled for creativity and teamwork, as well as the lower operating costs of a small enterprise.  The new collaboration includes reaching out to clients, industry partners and suppliers. It also requires employee involvement at all levels in the dynamics of the collaborative process. 

Although sound, professional and business contracting techniques will always be necessary, together with prudent management and risk analysis, the collaborative dynamic is on the move. 


The A-76 Program - "Performance of Commercial Activities" 2001 -2009

The concept of A-76 first began as a statement of federal policy under the Bureau of the Budget in the Eisenhower Administration, and developed into a formal A-76 policy statement in 1966.

The policy stated that the government would rely on the private sector for the performance of commercial activities via competitions between government and contractors.
OMB Circular A-76 has been revised several times, the latest revision in 2003. Competitive sourcing through A-76 was a major initiative identified in 2001 by the Bush Administration’s Presidential Management Agenda. It was one of five government-wide initiatives to improve the management and performance of the federal government. Some Members of Congress were critical of the conduct of A-76 competitions between government and contractors under the Bush Administration, and this criticism and ensuing debate over whether to conduct future A-76 Competitions contributed to the current moratorium. President Obama signed into law the FY2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act which suspended all new A76 competitions government wide.

The government is seeking renewed recommendations on what to do internally and what to contract:

Federal Register
/ Vol. 78, No. 32 / Friday, February 15, 2013 / Notices

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) seeks input from the public on the practice of comparing the relative cost of performance by Federal employees versus contract performance in order to identify the most cost-effective source. OFPP intends to consider feedback received in response to this notice as it evaluates existing policies addressing cost comparisons and considers new ones to help agencies save money and drive better results. Feedback will also be considered in connection with the development of guidance required by section 1655 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Public Law 112–239. Section 1655 requires OMB to publish guidance addressing the conversion of a function being performed by a small business concern to performance by a Federal employee. Interested parties may offer oral and/ or written comments at a public meeting to be held on March 5, 2013. Parties are also encouraged to provide all written comments directly to!home

It can be assumed from the above history and recent developments that some form of renewed "Make or Buy" policy from the federal government will be forthcoming as agencies are forced to downsize and get the most from their allocated funding.


Now is the time to take the initiative in designing collaborative efforts with federal agencies, marketing solutions that maximize contractor and government resources and the best possible efficiencies in service solutions. Go in early, go in hard, go with a team concept and be open and objective with your primes, your suppliers and your customer. Engage your employees at all levels in the effort.
"In short, there will be a lot of bad news being doled out to prime contractors and their suppliers", Brett Lambert, deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy, said April 25 at a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum in Washington, D.C.

"There will be trades, we should make no illusions," Lambert said. "We will identify critical key suppliers that will go under because we will have made the assumption, based on our strategy moving forward, that that is no longer a critical capability to our future force. … Unfortunately there’s going to be a lot of bad news that’s given out to companies.

Many are planning strategically, are you?




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