Jul 29, 2015

By Wayne Simpson

Most people would not wake up on their first day of vacation, pack, and head to the airport without a planned destination, reservation, a ticket or any idea where they are going to end up. But this is still how some folks plan to enter and expand in the Federal Marketplace. I find it amazing more effort is put into planning family vacations than how to enter and grow business in the Federal Marketplace.

Planning and doing some homework up front will help eliminate wasteful marketing efforts, and allow companies to target their marketing for a better return on marketing investment.

Unfortunately some folks believe relying exclusively on the Forecast of Contracting Opportunities, often referred to as the “FCO” is all they need for identifying upcoming procurement opportunities. Federal Law (P.L. 100-656) requires all Federal agencies with procurement budgets of $50+ Million (almost all of them these days) to publish an FCO. Sadly, most agencies FCOs are not robust, are hardly all inclusive and only tell part of the story.

Several years ago I did a comparison from data reported by one agency in the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and their FCO. FPDS is the official repository of all Government procurement transactions (see below for more on FPDS). Less than 14 percent of the procurements reported by this agency in FPDS could be identified and tied to a forecasted procurement opportunity in its FCO. Not very robust, correct? To truly know where procurement opportunities are, you have to know where, with whom, and how the Government spends its money, especially when multi-year contracts are involved and to know when those contracts expire.

My comparison of FPDS data to the published FCO showed me conclusively something I have known first-hand for many years: Most agency FCOs are not the end-all they are intended to be. There is false economy to rely solely on FCOs.

Fortunately help is on the way. On September 24, 2015, the Centre Law & Consulting will present its first-ever training class on Data Mining for Marketing.

This valuable dynamic one-day course unlocks the mysteries and power of FPDS for your company’s competitive benefit, and explains the distinct advantages of using FPDS vs. USAspending.gov.

FPDS is the real-time relational database serving the government acquisition community as the authoritative source of contract information, which contains summary level data and is used at all levels of the Federal government for policy and trend analysis.  The numbers and data in FPDS change every day.  FPDS contains millions of transactions and there are millions of permeations for extracting various combinations of data elements.

Unlike FPDS, the USAspending.gov website uses a static approach to capturing and reporting data, meaning the data is presented and simple charts and graphs which do not change until the next update, which is required every 30 days under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act.  Access to current and real-time data is invaluable.

This course provides an overview and requirements of FPDS reporting by Federal agencies, what transactions are required to be reported, what is available and what is not available through FPDS.

Participants in this course will create individual FPDS accounts and learn to create and run reports using the very valuable and powerful ad hoc reporting capability of FPDS, knowledge, skills and abilities which will be taken back to the workplace.

Unleash and harness the power of procurement data to enhance your company’s competitive position in the Federal market place. Don’t waste precious and scarce marketing resources targeting agencies where opportunities do not exist.  Data from FPDS allows you to focus and target your marketing efforts in areas which will offer potential returns on your marketing investments and efforts.  You will learn to identify every transaction reported Government-wide for a specific Product/Service Code which matches your products and services to identify new opportunity sources, for previous and current contracts, including their expirations dates. Product/Service Codes are but one way to gather data.

Understanding and using FPDS can obviate the need for time-consuming and often costly Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for data.  Course participants will learn to extract data in aggregate or at the transaction level.  Your competitors have this information and use it to their competitive benefit and advantage, why shouldn’t you?  Learn how to identify when your competitors’ contracts will expire, or when other contracts in your commercial line of endeavor are due to expire and be re-competed.

Learn who buys what, and how they buy, whether these procurements are conducted, through the Federal Supply Schedules Program, Other Government Agency Contracts, or on the open market.  Find if set-asides are used in acquiring the products and services you offer, and how to qualify.

Learn how to use FPDS to conduct your own market research to influence set-aside decisions when responding to sources sought notices.

This course will use a combination of both lecture and hands-on laboratory, whereby participants will access FPDS, create and run reports. If you want to be the “go-to-person” at your company for this type of data, you want your company to be more competitive, then this course is for you.



About Wayne Simpson:

Wayne Simpson is a seasoned former Federal executive and acquisition professional who is also a highly-motivated and demonstrative small business advocate, with nearly 38 years of Federal Civilian Service with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and its predecessor organization, the Veterans Administration. Mr. Simpson is currently the principal of FedBizAssist, LLC.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated expertise in pre-solicitation, pre-award, and post-award areas of Federal contracting.
  • Significant knowledge of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation.
  • Demonstrative small business advocate, subject matter expert in the Veterans First Contracting Program at VA.
  • Significant knowledge of the Federal Supply Schedule Program, compliance and contract administration issues.
  • Subject matter expert on Federal small business programs, and their often competing interests in the conduct of Federal acquisitions.
  • Analytical capabilities in reviewing contract documents and developing courses of action necessary for contract administration issues and compliance.
  • Expertise in all facets of Federal subcontracting requirements and program execution and administration.
  • Significant experience and expertise in working with Federal Procurement Data System–Next Generation (FPDS-NG).

Awards & Recognition:

  •  President’s Management Council – organization twice recognized for “Demonstrating and Promoting Government Management Excellence.”
  • Vice-President’s “Scissors Award” – Awarded to organization by Vice President Gore for quality improvements in the delivery of benefits to Veterans and their families.
  • Robert W. Carey Quality Award — Awarded by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for quality improvements in the delivery of benefits to Veterans and their families.
  • Numerous individual and group performance awards for Outstanding Performance Ratings and Special Contributions.
  • Training Experience and Executive Development.
  • Completion of the Contracting Officer’s certification program.
  • Numerous classes in government contracting, to include contract administration, compliance issues, small business program, and Government Contract Law.
  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Executive Potential Program (1994-1995)
  • Leadership VA Program, Class of 1998

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