A previous post, “Putting Commercial Back in Commercial Item Contracting,” lead to an interview Monday afternoon with host Francis Rose on Federal News Radio’s “In-Depth.” During the course of the interview Francis asked if I had seen changes in behavior as a result of the Administration’s “Myth-Busters” campaign. I responded by citing GSA’s willingness to engage with contractors as one example of Myth-Busters communication. Since the interview I have kept thinking about Francis’ question. How do we in the procurement community measure the effectiveness of the Myth-Busters campaign?
It is really a two part question. First, has communication between government and industry increased and/or improved? Second, has the communication lead to more efficient and effective procurements and/or outcomes? Ultimately, communications can improve but without corresponding improvements in outcomes, Myth-Busters will not have reached its full potential for success. Myth-Busters really depends upon shared contributions from all, including government contracting officers, legal counsel and program managers as well as their counterparts in industry. No one group has all the answers. Communications between government and industry acquisition professionals leads to greater mutual understanding of government requirements and commercial practices. The key test is whether that improved understanding is translated into more efficient and effective contracts and contract vehicles.
In the case of the GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program, communication and contributions by and among customer agencies, GSA and its contractors can shape an even more efficient and effective Next Generation MAS. Given the very sound, successful foundation of the current MAS program, the Next Generation has great potential to deliver even greater value to customer agencies and competitive opportunities for commercial firms. In many ways the dialogue regarding the Next Generation has already begun. Think about it. Today customer agencies, GSA and its contractors are engaging around a host of key procurement issues that will shape the future MAS: Other Direct Costs, data collection, the Price Reduction Clause and pricing policies, Enterprise User License Agreements, socio-economic opportunities, and contract duplication. Finding balanced, sound and efficient solutions to these issues will ensure that the Next Generation MAS delivers even greater value to customer agencies and even more business opportunities for MAS contractors.
As Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, would say “Make it so!”