Contracting Solicitation Process
BMGT 482 Advance Federal Contracting
29 November 2014
Dr. Lisa Davis
"A quotation is not an offer and, consequently, cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Therefore, issuance by the Government of an order in response to a supplier's quotation does not establish a contract. The order is an offer by the Government to the supplier to buy certain supplies or services upon specified terms and conditions. A contract is established when the supplier accepts the offer (Solicitation - ACQuipedia, 2014).” When the government wants to buy a good or service, it issues a solicitation. Solicitations are documents that make the government’s requirements clear so that businesses can submit competitive bids. Request for Proposals (RFPs) are one type of solicitation; with rising competition, more and more organizations are using the RFPs to compare different vendors to evaluate the best available option. A solicitation is any request to submit offers or quotations to the Government. Solicitations under sealed bid procedures are called "invitations for bids." Solicitations under negotiated procedures are called "requests for proposals." Solicitations under simplified acquisition procedures may require submission of either a quotation or an offer (Solicitation - ACQuipedia, 2014). The acquisition process begins with acquisition planning (requirements definition and funding); proceeds to solicitation, source selection, and award; and then proceeds to contract administration, which results in performance/deliveries. Upon acceptance of the supply or service the acquisition process concludes with invoicing, payment, and closeout (Acquisition Process - ACC, 2014).
Acquisition is a process that requires teamwork with each individual and/or group working together to ensure that the customer is provided the greatest overall benefit in response to their requirements (best value). Acquisition planning should start once the need for supplies or services are identified. Integrated Product Teams (IPT) should be used when needed to help develop the acquisition strategy. The use of these teams will reduce false starts and delays resulting from unclear scopes of work. In Figure 1 and 2 this process is clearly illustrated. From Pre-Solicitation through source selection all phases and steps should be carefully navigated. In the following paragraphs the steps in the acquisition process will be defined and discussed. The first step in acquisition planning is requirements definition which includes defining customer requirements, market research, and development of the statement of work (SOW). Identifying requirements that meets government’s minimum needs is critical to market research. Market research collects and analyzes information about the capabilities within the market that can satisfy the customer’s needs. It is essential to designing the acquisition strategy. The participants will depend on the organization and types of services or products needed. Teams are used depending on the complexity of the requirement. Teams may be composed of project officers, technical experts, end users, cost analysts, contract specialists and contracting officers. The market can be reviewed by publishing formal requests for information, contact knowledgeable individuals regarding market capabilities and practices, magazines, newspapers, attending trade shows, and internet searches. Market research should be utilized to acquire products or services faster, cheaper, and with better capabilities. It is also used to promote the preparation of acquisition documentation leading to best value acquisition decisions.
The second step is selecting the evaluation method. Determining the most effective evaluation methodology is one of the first steps to designing the acquisition strategy. When it is in the best interest of the Government to consider an award to other...
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