Ever wonder why it takes, or at least feels like it takes, so long to get an RFP out sometimes? In this session, we discuss what the government team is doing while contractors wait for the RFP to come out. We talk about schedule drives, mandatory reviews and approvals, documentation time, the relationship between the complexity of the requirement and that of the acquisition plan, and others. We share some of our experiences on why we took “so long” to get things done as COs. The requirement is the “what.”

Zone:Zone 1 and 2

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If you work in the Government acquisition world, this podcast is for you. (not just for Contracting Officers!)

Kevin and Paul provide an overview of the Acquisition Time Zones. The Acquisition Time Zones are a foundational concept of the podcast. Each zone aligns to a phase of the government acquisition process. The Acquisition Time Zones help our listeners understand how the content discussed in each podcast fits into the overall government acquisition process.

The Acquisition Time Zones are, in chronological order:

The Requirements Zone (Episode 012)

The Market Research Zone (Episode 013)

The Request for Proposal (or “RFP”) Zone (Episode 014)

The Source Selection Zone (Episode 015)

This episode provides a brief overview of each zone. The episodes above dive into the details of when the zones begin and end, what types of communication are allowed, and what government and industry professionals are doing (and thinking) during each zone.
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This episode is brought to you by Skyway Acquisition. To get help with the Government market, become a Skyway Community member. The Skyway Community ensures you are better positioned to take advantage of opportunities and better equipped to manage the challenges of government contracts. Members have access to one-on-one insights, time-saving tools, and training resources from Skyway’s team of former COs, including the ability to get the perspective of the entire team in the “Ask A Contracting Officer” Forum, get specialized training from on-demand webinars and articles, targeting support through the RFP Score™ assessment tool, as well as custom consulting from Skyway’s team of former COs who help solve your unique puzzles. To learn more, visit askskyway.com or call 877-884-5280.
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Kevin Jans and Paul Schauer created the Contracting Officer Podcast to help Government and Industry acquisition professionals understand more about how the other side thinks. Admittedly, the podcast’s name sounds very limiting. It is not just for contracting officers or even just for those in the contracting profession. Anyone with an interest in the Federal acquisition world can benefit from the insight and down-to-earth explanations of complicated topics provided by the hosts.

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One often-overlooked difference between the federal market and the commercial market is that federal market sales are won more by process than by relationships. Contracting Officers (COs) cannot buy based on relationships alone. Relationships matter (see FAR Parts 3 and 9), but relationships are usually not the most important factor. The relationship is 20% of the decision. The other 80% is the competitive process.

Compare this to the commercial market. Here the ratio is reversed. Our relationship with a company is often 80%, or more, of our decision to buy from them. The other factors such as price and past performance do matter, but not nearly as much as our relationship with the seller. How did you selected your doctor, your homebuilder, your banker, your car dealer, your airline, your computer, your grocery store? Was the decision to buy from a particular company driven by relationships with friends, customers, or because you bought from them before? I bet so.

Understanding this Relationship-to-Process ratio in the government market is key to winning. The relationship you build with an agency, a program manager, or even a contracting officer will only get you so far (about 20%). You win in the other 80% (the competitive process). Even on existing contracts, regardless of how good the incumbent’s relationship is with the customer, the CO must eventually re-compete it.

Both relationships and process matter. Just be sure to get your ratio correct. You will win more often by aligning your time and resource around 80% process and 20% relationships.

Time Zone:2 & 3

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Companies need help. They are awash in information (and data),but they are starving for insights on the COs’ perspective. As contracting officers, we saw so many companies overwhelmed by the rules, the process, the seemingly limitless options and the shear volume of opportunities in the market. They were, and still are, looking for insights to help them better understand how our federal government’s processes work. We created this podcast to improve the acquisition process by sharing COs’ collective perspective.       

Contracting officers need help. They are awash in information (and data), but are starving for insights on the contractors’ perspective. Since leaving our contracting officers positions, we see how some of our actions as COs, while well-intended, impacted companies in ways we did not know. We wish we knew then what we know now. We also created this podcast to offer COs some insights on the contractors’ perspective.                         

We want to “be the change we wish to see in the world”.
Many say that the procurement system needs more regulation(or less), or more oversight (or less), or more funding (or less),or more people (or fewer), and so on. We decided we’d startwith more communication (not less).