Communicating with Contracting Officers

I wanted to share a few thoughts on the “Myth-Busting” memo that Mr. Dan Gordon sent out in February of this year to Senior Acquisition and Procurement Executives within government. For those who forget or haven’t had the opportunity to read through the memo, it focuses on addressing misconceptions to improve communication between industry and government during the acquisition process. If you’re like me, you probably get tired of trying to email, call, and meet with acquisition professionals as they seem to have a million reasons why they can’t share information. However, effective business development requires communication and collaboration with both the program folks (real buyers) and the acquisition professionals before the RFP release. With increasing budgetary pressures and overall spending scrutiny, the government acquisition community has become more influential in making award decisions to ensure “best value”. I believe it’s our responsibility to hold contracting officers accountable to provide the same level of service they would expect our firms to deliver to the government. I appreciate Mr. Gordon’s first point in his memo which highlights the common misconception that government program managers, users, and contracting officers cannot meet one-on-one with potential offerors. The truth is…the FAR actually encourages exchanges of information with interested parties during the solicitation process and there is no prohibition of one-on-one meetings. The following 9 points in the memo proceed to debunk other common myths within the government contracting community and provide facts (with sources) to help clarify. Regardless of how familiar you are with Mr. Gordon’s memo, I hope this post is a good reminder for what we can expect from the government acquisition community going forward.

Sara Coit