The General Service Administration (GSA) Schedule programs avail significant opportunities for both small as well as large businesses. These Schedules program offer the first step in which businesses take when they want to do businesses with the federal government. Nonetheless, it needs to be made clear that being in the Schedules program may actually involve a huge investment of resources as well as time. As such, as a business leader, one needs to make sure that they possess the requisite resources to pursue a schedules contract as well as time to fight it out with other businesses and marketing. Further, it must be distinguished that the mere fact of being on the GSA schedule does not guarantee having government sales. Therefore, vendors need be aware that the mere fact that a contract is awarded does not obviate the need for marketing both their business as well as their GSA contract. The submission process for that solicitation may either be done electronically or through classical paper. We consider the electronic submission process as well as the security measures inherent in this method or approach of submitting.
When responses to schedule solicitations are submitted electronically, there are advantages in that this system provides both a secure and an interactive environment that makes the whole solicitation process simple for contractors. This electronic submission is mainly conducted through the eOffer/eMod which is a digital authentic technology that allows for both electronic signatures as well as ensuring the integrity of data. Some fundamental guidelines are necessary and needed to be followed by a vendor if he or she is to be successful in submitting an offer to the solicitations in an electronic form. At first, once a vendor is able to identify the solicitation, one should read the solicitation documents thoroughly and also follow the instructions enshrined therein. The next step is availing the information that is requested in a similar form as requested. The next fundamental step is making the submission of a completed Standard Form 1449 coupled with one’s electronic signature during the time of responding to the solicitation. Most significantly, the standard form should only be signed by a person who is legally entitled to enter into contracts on behalf of the business or company entering into the contract. The following fundamental guideline is tendering a copy that is dated of the commercial price list together with the suitable Special Item Number (SIN). In addition, there is a need for an inclusion of a Commercial Sales Practice Format (SP-I) which is necessary for the provision of details about the pricing history of the business. The next move is taking a closer look at the pricing subsumed in the submission and preparing for a negotiation for the best offer for the government. The electronic submission application process is a web based application which allows prospective contractors to both prepare and submit their GAS schedule offers and contracts modification requests. A prospective business requires a digital certificate to take part in this electronic submission process. There are a number of advantages associated with electronic submission processes. The eOffer/eMod used improves the modification process by introducing an easy to use progressive screen design through the submission of a schedule proposal. More so, this electronic process guides users through every step of both the solicitation and the modification process. Another advantage of the electronic submission process over the classical paper based application is that the submittal process of electronic transfer is automated.
On the question of whether my small company which produces very small remote control aircrafts has the chances equal to those of a large corporation in having its bid accepted, we examine the criterion used by the GSA. Firstly, the review process of the offers submitted by different businesses or companies usually take a period of between one to three months to be completed. The completeness and accuracy of the offer as submitted by the businesses determines the time spent for review and whether it has then a chance of being considered. As such, the chances of having a bid by my company accepted by the GSA will first be determined by the completeness and the accuracy of my offer. Indeed, a vast majority of the offers submitted by businesses are usually returned to the vendors for clarification and rectification. The review of the offers at the GSA is usually done by the GSA procurement contracting officer normally known as PCO. The PCO takes a number of factors into account whilst reviewing the offers for eligibility and consequently acceptance of the bid as presented. We make the case that the chances of having our bid accepted will also hugely depend on these factors irrespective of the size of the corporation. One of the significant considerations is responsibility where the business is in a healthy financial state. In this respect, the PCO looks at the availability of resources to perform the intended task. This factor, therefore, consider whether the business has the capacity to deliver the results as tendered. We, therefore, state that since my company has the ability, resources and overall capacity to produce the small remote control aircrafts primarily means that it has an equal chance with a large corporation such as Boeing. More so, the PCO examines whether the financial accounting system and the controls are in a good place. Further, the PCO also explores the past performance of a business and the evidence of a positive past performance helps enable the acceptance of the bid. We state that a large corporation has bigger and better prospects especially where such a company has evidence of positive past performance. On the contrary, if the past performance of a large corporation is poor, then the likelihood of such a corporation having its bid accepted, though large, are minimal. Since my small business has a good spell though short in the past, I consider that it still stands a chance of having its bid accepted. Another criterion used in the reviews of offers is responsiveness where the PCO examines the adherence to all instructions and the requisite documentation of the business owner or vendor. It means that if I follow the instructions to the letter and file all the necessary documentation, then my business stands an equal chance of having its bid accepted by the GSA. A significant consideration that may turn the acceptance of the bid relates to the subcontracting plan. It is the requirement by the GSA that large businesses have a plan for subcontracting a particular proportion of their work to other small businesses so as to enable the agencies achieves their socioeconomic goals. Given that the GSA is concerned that the large businesses subcontract their businesses to the smaller companies, it is likely that my small company has a better chance at having its bid accepted. The final factor that is taken into consideration is the pricing of the offer which needs to be both fair and reasonable and accompanied with suitable data supporting and explaining the structure of pricing. Based on this, I state that my small company stands an equal chance with large corporations such as Boeing in having its bid accepted by the GSA.
The acceptance of the bid or solicitation opens the door for negotiations of contract process award. In order to fulfill this negotiation process, we would schedule a meeting to discuss the terms and negotiate the pricing of the contract, where necessary. I would then argue for my company by showing the capacity and the ability of my company to deliver the results as expected. Following negotiations, if the offer is accepted, a schedules contract will then be drawn enabling my company to do business with the federal government in supplying the remote control aircrafts.
The most favored customer (MFC) is the customer who obtains the best pricing and discounts. Indeed, one of the significant goals of negotiations leading to the drawing up of a contractual agreement is the creation of a discount ratio with respect to the most favored customer. A final version of the offer inclusive of the discounts and other concessions that are agreed during the negotiation meeting are included in the contract. The impact of the value of our most favored customer on our business will be that it may play an impending role to our attaining the optimal contract with the GSA owing to the discounts in pricing and other concessions that are associated with this kind of customer or class of customers. With respect to contract administration and management, a small company has advantages over large corporations since for large businesses the value of their contracts and bids is usually large. As a consequence, it is usually involving, bulky and tiresome trying to manage the contract which is usually not the case with small businesses where the contracts are majorly fairly straightforward.
There are various methods of marketing to the federal government. One of the significant methods is through networking where a business owner or a prospective contractor builds relationships with influential officials in government through integrated marketing efforts coupled with efficient marketing throughout the year. Another marketing method is being aware of the latest federal directives and happenings and using such knowledge in framing a marketing strategy about selecting your products or services. The other method would be to offer year end special as a marketing method so as distinguish one’s business from the others and increase the chances of getting noticed. The other marketing method of the federal government is through marketing o the procurement officials in the government. It is crystal clear that the procurement officials in government are responsible for spending of funds within a governmental agency. As such, it would do some good if the company allowed a sideline marketing campaign targeting these procurement officers so to help them keep the name of one’s business at the back of their minds.
I would, therefore, use the method of marketing to the procurement officers as one efficient method. This is because the procurement officers hold the keys to the public purse as they hold sway in ensuring the effective usage of public funds. As such, good marketing to these officers will greatly aid in clinching a contact with the federal government. The second effective method that I would employ would be networking with the government officials. It is the case that though one’s products or services may be good, one may still be unable to clinch a deal with the federal government if they are relatively unknown. The third and final effective marketing method that I would use would be keeping up to date with the dynamics within the government and having intimate details of the developments so as to align my marketing strategy to suit these developments.
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Woolcock, A. (2010). How to Market to the Federal Government. Prosidian Consulting , 12-13.