Approximately two years before the end of a contract, your company should begin preparing for the Re-Compete. There are several tasks that should and can be done in advance of the solicitation being released. These activities include reviewing lessons learned, debriefings, contract growth and history, work to be performed, and business size status (if applicable).
Lessons Learned: Ideally lessons learned are processes discussed and documented shortly after the proposal is submitted. Often people think they will remember. However, memories fade and inevitably there are staff changes. What are the lessons learned from the previous time you bid on this work? If you did not discuss a “Lessons Learned” in the aftermath of the proposal submission, what are lessons learned from other proposals? What went well? What did not go well? The goal is to continue improving and make the proposal process less painful.
Debriefing: If you received a debriefing the last time the contract was bid and won, what were the company’s strengths and weaknesses according to the government? Was there a particular part of the technical section that could have been improved? How did your price compare to competitors? For more information on Debriefings see Debriefings: The Information Offerors are Entitled (and not Entitled) This is important feedback directly from the customer to capitalize on.
Work to be Performed: Has the Scope/Statement of Work (SOW) remained constant (e.g. janitorial or security guard services); or has the SOW changed significantly with emerging technology (e.g. software integration)? Do you expect the technology to change in the next couple/few years? Prior to the Request for Proposal (RFP) is the time to speak to the Program Office and provide input. Are there additional related services that could be added to the next RFP that may even provide your company a competitive edge (and grow the contract)? As the incumbent, use this to your advantage.
Contract Growth/History and Competitive Pricing: Has the company grown materially (i.e. impacting indirect rates) since the solicitation was bid? If so, can this be leveraged to lower the price to the government on the next proposal? Do you anticipate the contract growing over time? If so, you may be able to be more aggressive with your pricing by lowering the indirect rates based on the projected growth. Consult your CFO, Accounting Department or Pricing Consultant to discuss further.
One misconception many companies have is that when proposals are evaluated on “Best Value”, price does not matter. Price always matters. It varies only to the degree that it is important. In a Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) solicitation, as long as a proposal is technically acceptable, it will be awarded to the company with the lowest price. In a Best Value solicitation, trade-offs will be considered. The lowest price could still win. Companies often think that the “Toyota Camry” or the “Cadillac” version will win. It depends upon whether the Government determines whether the price difference is justified, the amount of added value, and importance. In short, do not lose sight of “answering the mail”. The Government does not always believe that faster, bigger, stronger is better.
Small Business Set-Aside: If the contract was previously a small-business set-aside and your company is currently “Other than small”, consider being a Mentor for a Protégé company through SBA. Mentors and Protégés must find and select each other. Being a mentor in the Mentor-Protégé program should not be taken casually. For complete rules and regulations, please see SBA Mentor-Protégé Program. According to SBA, after the Mentor Protégé Agreement (MPA) is received, it takes approximately 90 days for SBA to review. If your company decides to become a Mentor and SBA approves the agreement, the Mentor and Protégé can form a Joint Venture (JV). If the Protégé qualifies as a WOSB (woman-owned small business), HUBZone, 8(a), etc. the Joint Venture qualifies as well.
The average time for an opportunity to come to fruition in the Federal Government space is 18-24 months. Two years prior is an ideal time for the Contracts Manager to begin working with the Capture Management Team. (See the Circular Process at the top of the page.) After the Contract Award and when contract execution begins, an entirely new progression (circular process not pictured) begins for the Contracts Manager.
Contact SGC to discuss how we can assist in reviewing your current contract to prepare for recompete.