We have observed over the last few years that bidding on contracts with the Federal Government is becoming easier and harder; a contradiction yes, but true just the same.
It has become easier because of the standardization of the award vehicles and bid consolidators like INPUT. The task of finding the right contracts to bid on and the less complex responses required make bidding easier; but now that it is easier, there are many more firms competing, which makes winning contracts harder.
We have a client who struggled with the chaotic nature of deciding which contracts or TO’s to bid on, who was responsible for what, how to make sure things did not fall through the cracks as well as the actual response language to the bid.
“So many moving parts and some of the bids require a few days turnaround” was the lament of another of our clients.
What these clients did, and what we are seeing in other Government Contractors (GC’s), is the use of process and technology to expedite and automate the on-boarding and workflow of moving a contract from in the door to a winning proposal. How did they accomplish this?
First, they hammered out their processes; acceptance criteria on a bid, or “go or no-go” decision metrics, and after a go is decided, who is responsible for what, and who is the first/second responsible party (and backup in the event of vacation or other key personnel out). From pricing, to resourcing, to writing the response, to searching for similar responses, and review, they developed and documented a repeatable process framework around which most of their responses could be tailored.
Secondly, they used technology to automate as much of the workflow and communication as possible. Technology cannot write the response, but it can search previously written responses and re-purpose language without all the headache of tracking down who wrote what and where it is now. Technology cannot make a response occur on time, but it can alert people that things are falling behind. Technology can and does make a “single version of the truth” manageable; how many times have we been ready to send a document to the client only to wonder “Is this actually the Final.Final.V2Final.5.13.4PMFinal”?