It is Spring break this week and my family and I are at the Grand Canyon. I have never been before. It is truly an amazing, beautiful and wonderful place. We are truly blessed as a nation with awe-inspiring natural beauty. Being here also really helps put things into perspective!  It reminds me that the most important things are always right in front of you:  family, friends and community.

With regard to perspective, in my view, the role of the procurement community in the operation of our federal government cannot be overstated. Procurement literally touches every program activity, mission, and arm of government.  The infrastructure of government depends upon an efficient and effective procurement system.  The keys to an efficient procurement system that delivers best value to the taxpayer are the following:

(1) A highly qualified, professional acquisition workforce;
(2) Sound requirements development;
(3) Contract structures that increase efficiency, competition and access to the commercial marketplace; and
(4) Contract rationalization that eliminates costly duplicative contracts and contract vehicles.

To use football terminology, these are the fundamental “blocking and tackling” of our procurement system. Layer after layer of contract oversight and audit can be imposed on the system, but ultimately, the success of the system in delivering best value to customer agencies is dependent upon these four fundamentals.  Over the next four weeks my blog posts will highlight each of these fundamentals.

This week’s fundamental is “Contract rationalization that eliminates costly duplicative contracts and contract vehicles.”  At a time of significant budgetary challenges, the federal government and its contractor base can no longer afford contract duplication.  On April 5, 2011, the Coalition sent to its member firms a survey addressing contract duplication.  The purpose of the survey is to collect data on the costs associated with duplicative contracts for the same or similar services. Duplicative contracts unnecessarily increase bid and proposal costs as well as contract administration and overhead costs for both government and industry, costs that are ultimately borne by the taxpayer. The Contract Duplication Survey provides an opportunity to identify and articulate the impact of duplicative contracts.  The information collected from the survey will be used to develop a white paper addressing the costs of contract duplication.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s business case memorandum provides a good first step in addressing contract duplication.  In the spirit of Myth-Busters, the next step will be to identify potential solutions and recommendations to reduce unnecessary contract duplication and share them with the procurement community.