The DOD and federal government procurement process in the U.S. means the method and process by which government agencies buy goods and services. When it comes to government contracts, the federal government is in the business of buying commercial products and services.
How it goes about doing both essentially meets the definition of what is a procurement. A substantial amount of federal funds is spent on construction projects.
The DOD procurement process for government programs also includes the spending of appropriated funds to purchase supplies, services and interest in real property. Contracting agencies use a regulated federal contracting process to buy services and products from the commercial sector. Some regulations and statutes govern how a federal agency makes invitations to solicit bids and proposals.
The agency starts by having the end users developing their needs to perform mission essential requirements. After the needs are finalized, and depending on the dollar amount, end users will approach the Agency’s contracting office to develop a process for procuring goods or services.
Government Programs – Procurement Process – Planning Stage: The federal government procurement process begins with the planning phase. See FAR Part 7. End users and government officials are supposed to set up forecasting for known projects. You want to set up forecasting plan to capture projects before they are ready for bid.
After this stage is completed, there is a market research stage. Sometimes, you will see that an agency publishes a “sources sought notice.”
- Agencies want to get an idea of whether companies actually can perform a service or sell a particular product.
- You should take advantage of these notices because it opens the door and lets the agency know that you are out there.
- The federal agency, in essence, scouts the commercial market and other agencies to find out best practices and estimated pricing.
- The procurement planning stage also helps the agency to write better statements of work and, therefore, promote competition.
Procurement Process – Purchasing Stage: The federal agency then moves into the purchasing phase. The agency publishes a solicitation that allows the commercial sector to place mostly a bid or submit a proposal. Solicitations are specially written and governed by statute. After receiving various proposals, the DOD procurement process allows the contracting agency to form a source selection board, who then evaluates each bid according to the solicitation’s stated criteria.
- It is important to understand that a government procurement agency has broad statutory power to make its business judgment decisions.
- Courts will not second guess the agency’s business judgment decision.
Contracting Officer’s Role in the Federal Government Procurement Process
In the federal government acquisition process, the Contracting Officer is the only person that acts as an agent on behalf of the agency and the only person that can legally bind the federal government. When a federal government procurement passes through the contracting office, the project is usually overseen by a contracting officer.
- Contracting officers have different levels of buying power.
- Depending upon the agency, contracting levels have varying dollar amounts and purchasing amount authority.
Developing a Plan to Sell to a Federal Procurement Agency? If you are contemplating selling your goods and services to the federal government, you must first learn about the procurement market. This means knowing what government officials typically buy your product or service. There is research that can be done to help you narrow your efforts. It also helps you budget your marketing dollars.
Contact a federal contracts attorney who understands the federal government procurement process. Call toll-free 1-866-601-5518 for immediate help.