By Charlie Shafer and Jeff Shen, Red Team Consulting
With the on-ramp process for NIH’s CIO-SP3 highly successful Small Business Government Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016, what can you do now to prepare your company to win a spot on one of the most desirable federal contracts?
The original CIO-SP3 SB solicitation states that the on-ramp process will use close to the same evaluation factors as the first solicitation. With the fact that on-ramp winners will enter the same contract structure as the original winners, it’s a safe bet that many of the clauses and other features for the on-ramp will be near facsimiles of the original solicitation. Therefore, reading, and understanding, the entire original solicitation will give you invaluable insight into the coming on-ramp. This is particularly important as CIO-SP3 has very specific rules on how offerors can demonstrate their experience and capabilities. Reading the historical question and answers will help answer many of the questions you might have after your first read.
CIO-SP3 does not allow offerors to use their subcontractor experience and capabilities in most parts of the proposal when those prime-sub arrangements are formed under traditional teaming agreements. Instead, to leverage experience and capabilities of other companies, you have to form a CTA, a legal partnership or joint venture under FAR 9.601(1), with those companies. These partnerships require a lot of planning and legal agreements on governance and operation of the partnership. That’s why it is important to analyze the technical requirements to determine how well your company matches up against the evaluation factors. If you identify gaps in your health-domain experience, capabilities, and past performance against the CIO-SP3 task areas, then you may want to consider forming a CTA with one or more small businesses that are in the same position as you, but complement the elements you are missing. Finding those companies, and forming the partnership, can take considerable time, so this step should be prioritized.