There is no question doing business with the federal government is tough for many reasons, including competition. Depending on which side of the proverbial ball your company is on, competition can be a good thing, or not. In this installment we’ll look at how federal agencies leverage different competition methods when executing purchases using the Simplified Acquisition Procedures.

Previously, we established Fiscal Year 2013 simplified acquisition obligations crested $17 billion and referenced more than 1,200 different NAICS Codes which are the numerical designators that speak to the nature of the requirement for which the government is buying, and sets the size standard for small business participation in these buys for set-asides and subcontracting.

During this period nine named methods of competition were used (as referenced in the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation).

They are:
– Competed Under SAP (Simplified Acquisition Procedures)
– Competitive Delivery Order
– Follow On To Competed Action
– Full And Open Competition
– Full And Open Competition After Exclusion Of Sources
– Non-Competitive Delivery Order
– Not Available For Competition
– Not Competed
– Not Competed Under SAP (Simplified Acquisition Procedures)

To simplify and shorten this piece just a bit, all but $450 million of the total obligated during FY 2013 was ‘Competed Under SAP’ and ‘Not Competed Under SAP’ with just over $4 billion ‘Not Competed Under SAP.’

What’s this mean for companies looking to stake a claim in the land of streamlined purchases?

“Agencies overwhelmingly seek competition for simplified buys,” says Guy Timberlake, chief visionary of The American Small Business Coalition.

He believes too many companies forsake these types of buys as too small to matter and too wired.

“In the days when Simplified Acquisitions purchases were my bread and butter, the buyers I worked with spread out the winnings,” Timberlake says. “Even though a customer and the buyer knew me, liked me and trusted me, too many awards to the same companies would draw scrutiny.”

In total, FY 2013 saw just over $13 billion of the $17 billion in simplified acquisition buys competitively awarded which as compiled by The American Small Business Coalition includes the following methods: Competed Under SAP; Competitive Delivery Order; Full And Open Competition and Full And Open Competition After Exclusion Of Sources. Timberlake indicates his organization does not consider “Follow On” awards to be competitive.

So, who are the top agencies when it comes to competitive ‘simplified’ buys?

“The Department of Defense is the biggest spender regardless of the acquisition method, and they account for more than half of the competitive simplified acquisitions during FY 2013 coming in at just under $7 billion” says Timberlake.

Rounding out the top 10 are Treasury, Justice, State Department, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Transportation,Interior, Homeland Security and Agriculture. Together, these organizations claim all but $1 billion of the competitive dollars obligated via simplified acquisitions.

To see the full list of FY 2013 competitive obligations by agency, click here.

Curious how things are shaping up for the current fiscal year? Sixty-one federal agencies, boards and commissions have obligated nearly $4.8 billion in competitive buys since Oct. 1, 2013. The same agencies have obligated a total of $6.5 billion in competitive and non-competitive simplified buys FY 2014 YTD.

WNEW’s Amy Morris contributed to this report. Follow her and WNEW on Twitter.


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