How does the Federal government determine if I am capable of performing on a contract?
The Federal government is looking for good suppliers to add to their supply chain. Agencies will evaluate suppliers to make sure that they are capable of performing successfully on their contracts. The evaluation method varies by agency.
All Federal contractors must be registered in SAM – System for Awards Management at www.SAM.gov If you need assistance in registering please contact WPI staff at either 414-270-3600 / firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-427-2455 / email@example.com
Contracting Officers are required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 9 to make an affirmative Determination of Contractor Responsibility prior to making an award. The requirements are spelled out in FAR 9.104. A contractor must have: 1) Adequate financial resources to perform the contract, 2) Be able to comply with the required proposed delivery or performance schedule, 3) Have a satisfactory performance record, 4) Have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics, 5) Have the necessary organization, experience, accounting, and operational controls, and technical skills or the ability to obtain them, 6) Have the necessary production, construction, and technical equipment and facilities, or the ability to obtain them, 7) Be otherwise qualified and eligible to receive award under applicable laws and regulations. You can learn more by logging onto https://acquisition.gov/far/current/html/Subpart%209_1.html#wp1084059.
They will also check the Excluded Parties List System (ELPS) at the System for Award Management website (www.SAM.gov) to ensure a contractor is eligible for award.
The Department of Defense may ask for a Pre-Award Survey. The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) has a great document available at http://www.dscc.dla.mil/downloads/small_business/prospective-offeror.pdf. Whether or not you are a prospective award winner, this is a great document to use as a guideline for what the DoD values in their suppliers.
For the General Services Administration (GSA), a potential supplier must complete the required Open Ratings report with the initial submission of their offer. This report is available on line at www.ppereports.com. An offer submitted without an Open Ratings report will be rejected as non- responsive. An Open Ratings report is considered current for 1 (one) year from the date of issuance.
The US Small Business Administration’s Certificate of Competency (COC) program allows a small business to appeal a contracting officer’s determination that it is unable to fulfill the requirements of a specific government contract on which it is the apparent low bidder. When the small business applies for a COC, SBA industrial and financial specialists conduct a detailed review of the firm’s capabilities to perform on the contract. If the business demonstrates the ability to perform, the SBA issues a COC to the contracting officer requiring the award of that specific contract to the small business. Additional information is available at http://www.sba.gov/content/certificate-competency-program.
Federal contractors should be aware that information on past performance in the government marketplace is available to contracting officials. The Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) is a web-enabled, government-wide application that provides timely and pertinent contractor past performance information to the Federal acquisition community for use in making source selection decisions. Confidence in a prospective contractor’s ability to satisfactorily perform contract requirements is an important factor in making best value decisions in the acquisition of goods and services. The PPIRS website is http://www.ppirs.gov.