Today we conclude our five-part series on DoD's latest Better Buying Power procurement reform initiatives (BBP 3.0). This is not a comprehensive series on the matter. To read the full implementing directive, click here. Rather, our aim is to highlight those initiatives that will have a direct (and hopefully positive) impact on the small to medium sized firms desiring to do business with the Government. Today we look at the initiative to increase small business participation. What has this initiative have to do with reform? That has been the goal in Government contracting forever - the Government already tracks such matters and can never seem to realize its small business contracting goals already. Has someone got a better idea all of a sudden? And how does increasing small business participation lead to procurement reform in the first place when it is generally acknowledged that in the case of contracting with small and disadvantaged companies, the Government is willing to pay increased costs to further socioeconomic programs?
Well, the premise here in this initiative is that there is a lot of small businesses out there that could be solicited for work if only Government acquisition personnel had better market research tools. With the proper "tools", the Government could perform market research and ferret out those small businesses that are disengaged or not aware of Government contracting opportunities. With the proper "tools", the Government's acquisition corps could find small businesses to produce "innovative solutions for the Department". So, if some company has a better, more efficient, or more cost effective method of providing goods and services, the Government's market research activities will find them and bring them under contract. Pardon the skepticism but, yeah right.
DoD has established a number of specific actions under this initiative; improved suite of market research tools, study the feasibility of a rationalized approach to market research, study the feasibility of establishing a "superior supplier program" for small businesses, hold small business outreach events, and others. We appreciate DoD's goal to increase small business participation. We just don't understand how that initiative can be called "procurement reform" or how trying to find small businesses with innovative ideas is going to differ much from the already robust SBIR programs.
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