Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Procurement Services Executive Douglas Packard provided advice to small business representatives regarding how to add value, prepare proposals, and establish working relationships during a “Leadership in Action” event at the agency’s Headquarters Dec. 1.
The Leadership in Action speaker series, sponsored by DISA’s Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP), aims to educate small business representatives about the latest trends and challenges facing the DoD.
After giving an overview of the Procurement Services Directorate's structure and priorities, Packard discussed the need for small businesses to define their value proposition and consider what problems or challenges customers are trying to address.
This information can be useful to agencies before the procurement process begins, said Packard.
“As industry, if you have capabilities that can solve DISA problems, talk to the program managers now so portfolio owners know what services you can provide," Packard told the small business representatives in attendance. "Form a working relationship early so program managers know what's available."
He emphasized that preparing a response to a procurement request involves preparation and attention to detail. When responding to solicitations, writing a proposal that complies with all of the requirements is key to a successful bid.
"In your proposal, did you really answer the questions?" asked Packard. "Every word counts. Have one person read your proposal from beginning to end before submitting it."
Solicitations are carefully written to provide businesses with the information needed for a response. Packard mentioned a few elements for businesses to keep in mind when preparing proposals:
- Carefully read and follow the solicitation.
- Price is always important; offer pricing that is fair and competitive.
- Understand the agency’s needs and outline how to solve the problem or fill the need.
- Answer all of the questions and meet the established deadlines.
Packard’s final thoughts emphasized the benefits of networking, asking questions, and cultivating working relationships with program managers and experienced contracting professionals to learn more about the procurement process. He encouraged attendees to do this before and after the contract award.
"Don't think that you can't reach out and have dialogue with the contracting officer or contracting officer’s representative," said Packard. "Participate and encourage a post-award conference so everyone understands what the expectations are."
For more information, please contact the DISA Office of Small Business Programs at 301-225-6003.