Interested firms looking to do business with the Government must help themselves by learning how the
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and other military organizations conducts its business, and by seeking out those purchasing offices that buy the
products and services you can supply.
FedBizOpps (FBO) is a government
point-of-entry (GPE) for Federal Government procurement
opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are required to
publicize their business opportunities by posting information
directly to FedBizOpps via the Internet.
The Federal Supply System
The Federal Government buys, stocks, and uses over 7 million items. As a prospective supplier, you should know some basics about the system that manages those items.
EMALL is an electronic shopping mall that allows military and
Government customers to search for, and order, “off-the-shelf”
finished items from the commercial marketplace. DoD EMALL
currently has 143 commercial catalogs; 81 of those are small
DoD EMALL not only offers small
businesses an avenue to sell to the military and Government customer
but also provides an opportunity for fantastic business growth, and
does not require any additional overhead costs. A variety of
contractual vehicles are available for the small business.
Products are purchased by Government Purchase Card or fund code
depending on the contract type. Besides a large, ready-made
customer base, DoD EMALL provides a supportive, knowledgeable team
to help guide small businesses in developing, hosting, and
maintaining their Catalogs.
DoD EMALL has the ability to host
regional, nationwide, or worldwide catalogs. The Supplier may use
the National Stock Number (NSN), commercial part number or Universal
Product Code (UPC) to identify their catalog items. The catalogs can
be designed so that when a customer inputs their zip code or
Department of Defense Automatic Address Code (DoDAAC), the regional
pricing feature adjusts the product-shipping price according to the
customer’s location. Catalogs may also be set up for tiered
pricing for volume discounts.
To help our military and Government customers become aware of a new supplier, the DoD EMALL Welcome page
features a “Supplier of the Week” that provides information
about a supplier and their products. A “Supplier Support “
page contains information of interest to the supplier such as
Supplier Conferences being planned, how suppliers may enhance their
catalogs with illustrations, and highlighting the environmentally
friendly products in their catalog. In addition, DoD EMALL
suppliers and customers are supported by a world-class help desk
that may be contacted for assistance.
For information on how to become a
DoD EMALL Supplier, contact the DoD EMALL Help Desk at (888) 352–9333
Option 2 or visit the Supplier’s Corner at
All EMALL Suppliers must be registered in the Central Contractor
Registration (CCR) system. You may register online at
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI),
defined as the computer-to-computer exchange of routine business
information in a standard format between the Government and its
Trading Partners, can be made with the help of an intermediary known
as a Value-Added Network (VAN). A VAN is a third-party
communication company that provides services such as electronic post
offices, data translation, sorting, storage retrieval, and archiving
for registered Trading Partners. Trading Partners that do not
have the staff or the time to manage a complex communications
network may want to utilize a VAN for receiving and sending
transactions to and from the Government.
A list of VANs that have completed the
Electronic Commerce Interoperability Process (ECIP) and are
authorized to connect to the Electronic Commerce Infrastructure (ECI)
can be viewed at
(Defense Internet Bid Board System) -
DLA - BSM
(Business System Modernization)
DIBBS is a
web-based application that provides the capability to search for,
view, and submit secure quotes on Requests For Quotations (RFQs) for
items of supply included in the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)
Business System Modernization (BSM)
DIBBS also allows users to search and view Request For
Proposals (RFPs), Invitations For Bid (IFBs), Awards and other
procurement information related to BSM.
Solicitation (FAR Part 2)
A solicitation is any request to submit offers or quotations to the Government.
Solicitations under Simplified Acquisition Procedures
are called Request for Quotations (RFQ).
Solicitations under Sealed
Bid procedures are called Invitations for Bids (IFB).
competitive or Negotiated procedures are called Requests
for Proposals (RFP).
"Offer" means a response to a
solicitation that, if accepted, would bind the offeror to
perform the resultant contract. Responses to invitations for
bids (sealed bidding) are called "bids" or "sealed bids,"
responses to requests for proposals (negotiation) are called
Responses to requests for quotations
(simplified acquisitions) are “quotations,” not offers.
Request for Quotation (RFQ) is used
in simplified acquisitions. A quotation is not an offer and,
consequently, cannot be accepted by the Government to form a
binding contract. Therefore, issuance by the Government of an
order in response to a supplier's quotation does not establish a
contract. The order is an offer by the Government to the
supplier to buy certain supplies or services upon specified
terms and conditions. A contract is established when the
supplier accepts the offer.
Requests for proposals (RFPs) are
used in negotiated acquisitions to communicate Government
requirements to prospective contractors and to solicit
proposals. RFPs for competitive acquisitions will, at a
minimum, describe the
(1) Government's requirement
(2) anticipated terms and
conditions that will apply to the contract
(3) information required to be
in the offeror's proposal, and
(4) factors and significant
subfactors that will be used to evaluate the proposal and
their relative importance.
Methods Of Procurement
Simplified Acquisition (FAR Part 13)
The threshold for simplified
acquisitions is $100,000.
The purpose of simplified
acquisitions is to use simplified procedures to
reduce administrative costs
for small business concerns to obtain a fair
proportion of Government contracts
promote efficiency and
economy in contracting, and
burdens for agencies and contractors.
Some of the procurement methods
under simplified acquisition procedures are Purchase Orders,
Micro-Purchases, and Blanket Purchasing Agreements.
A purchase order, when issued by
the Government, means an offer by the Government to buy
supplies or services, including construction and research
and development, upon specified terms and conditions, using
simplified acquisition procedures. Purchase orders
generally are issued on a fixed-price basis. They specify
the quantity of supplies or scope of services ordered;
contain a determinable date by which delivery of the
supplies or performance of the services is required; and,
unless a special situation exists, the Government shall
inspect contracts at or below the simplified acquisition
threshold at destination for type and kind; quantity;
damage; operability (if readily determinable); and
preservation, packaging, packing, and marking, if
Micro-purchases are acquisitions
of supplies or services, the aggregate amount of which does
not exceed the micro-purchase threshold. The Government
commercial purchase (credit) card is the preferred method to
purchase and to pay for micro-purchases. Micro-purchase
threshold means $2,500, except (1) $2,000 for
construction subject to the Davis-Bacon Act; and (2)
$15,000 for acquisitions by or for the Department of Defense
facilitating the defense against terrorism or biological or
chemical attack as described in 13.201(g), except for
construction subject to the Davis-Bacon Act.
(The Davis-Bacon Act states that contracts in excess of
$2,000 to which the United States or the District of
Columbia is a party for construction, alteration, or repair
of public buildings or public works within the United
States, shall contain a clause that no laborer or mechanic
employed directly upon the site of the work shall receive
less than the prevailing wage rates.)
A blanket purchase agreement
(BPA) is a simplified method of filling anticipated
repetitive needs for supplies or services by establishing
"charge accounts'' with qualified sources of supply.
Contracting Officers may establish BPAs when there is a wide
variety of items in a broad class of supplies or services
that are generally purchased, but the exact items,
quantities and delivery requirements are not known in
advance. A BPA must be in place before vendors are permitted
to submit quotes electronically. A BPA is an agreement and
not a contract. The Government is neither financially nor
contractually obligated to place calls against an
A BPA is designed to reduce
administrative costs in accomplishing small purchases by
eliminating the need for issuing individual purchase
orders. The BPA is established for a specified period of
time, and if performance is satisfactory, it is
automatically renewed for the next specified period of time.
The period of time that a BPA is established may vary and is
dependent on the contracting office procedures, industry,
and commodities. The agreements are reviewed annually to
assure contractor conformance to the terms and conditions of
the agreement and satisfactory performance, as well as to
update clauses. This contracting type provides for
long-term coverage for small, repetitive buys that can be
extended indefinitely. When the BPA is combined with
electronic transmission, greater efficiency is realized.
A basic ordering agreement (BOA)
is a written instrument of understanding, negotiated between
an agency, contracting activity, or contracting office and a
contractor. A BOA may be used to expedite contracting for
uncertain requirements for supplies or services when
specific items, quantities, and prices are not known at the
time the agreement is executed, but a substantial number of
requirements for the type of supplies or services covered by
the agreement are anticipated to be purchased from the
Limitations. A basic
ordering agreement shall not state or imply any agreement by
the Government to place future contracts or orders with the
contractor or be used in any manner to restrict competition.
Sealed Bidding (FAR Part 14)
Purchases over $100,000 are made
by sealed bidding, by competitive proposals (negotiation),
or (in unusual circumstances) by other-than-competitive
Contracting officers shall
solicit sealed bids if—
time permits the
solicitation, submission, and evaluation of sealed bids
the award will be made on
the basis of price and other price-related factors
it is not necessary to
conduct discussions with the responding offerors about
their bids, and
there is a reasonable
expectation of receiving more than one sealed bid.
It is a method of contracting
that employs competitive bids, public opening of bids, and
awards. Procurement by sealed bidding begins with the
issuance of an invitation for bids (IFB) containing all the
information bidders need to respond. The IFB states the
needs of the purchasing activity and defines the work in
sufficient detail to permit all bidders to compete on the
same basis. It also identifies all factors to be considered
in evaluating the bids. A standard form is provided on which
bids are submitted, and a specific time is set for bid
opening. The opening is held in public (you can attend), and
the contract is awarded to that responsible bidder whose bid
offers the best value to the Government, considering only
price and the price-related factors included in the
invitation. No discussions are allowed under sealed bidding
Contracting by Negotiation (FAR Part
A contract awarded using other
than sealed bidding procedures is a negotiated contract. It
allows flexibility in defining the exact requirement or the
terms and conditions of the procurement.
The purchasing office issues a
request for proposals (RFP). RFPs communicate the
Government requirements to prospective contractors and
solicit proposals. After reviewing the proposals received,
the contracting officer ordinarily will negotiate with those
contractors that have submitted acceptable proposals (Note:
A contract Can be awarded without discussions.),
seeking the most advantageous best value contract for the
Credit card information
Purchase Cards provides a list of contacts for credit card managers
for the Department of Defense.
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Important vendor databases
PRO-NET lists only small businesses and can be searched for potential
vendors. It's a great passive marketing tool for a small business. Since
November 1, 2002, the site is a search tool for potential small
businesses. Note: You must register for all federal contract
opportunities will be through CCR.
Central Contractor Registration (CCR) is the major registration site
for all Federal Government and a one-stop registration point.
Registering here will ensure that federal contract documents will have
proper vendor information placed in the federal document. Also, Small
Businesses can have their data placed into PRO-NET automatically once
the reguired information has been inputted.
Get the CCR
registration form from our downloads page to help make your online
registration process easier.
The Department of Defense E-mall (DOD EMALL) is a site where DOD
buyers look for off-the-shelf, finished goods from the commercial
marketplace. Vendors who want to market their products to the DOD create
an online store in this electronic mall for government buyers to browse.
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Electronic Commerce Help
This web site provides information about issues concerning e-commerce
in the Department of Defense.
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Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
This is the resource everyone should go to first. Assistance is
provided at the local level through co-operative agreements between the
Federal Government and state, local or non-profit entities. Most of the
cost of the services provided is covered through cost sharing
arrangements under the co-operative agreement. All businesses, large and
small, should give PTACs a try. You'll be surprised at the caliber of
These individuals are employees of the buying office and a great
inside resource for you. If you don’t know who else to ask for at a
buying office ask for the Small Business Specialist.
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Small Business Administration (SBA) resources
This web site is the home page for the government agency that looks
out for the interests of small businesses in the United States.
This sub-web site lists the SBA regional offices by region.
These two sub-web sites provide a variety of information of interest
to women-owned small businesses.
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You can find subcontract opportunities at these two web sites. They
list large businesses that have a contract requirement to provide help
to small business in doing business with them. These directories list
over 5,000 large businesses with federal contracts. Contact information
for each listing is provided.
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General Services Administration (GSA) resources
These sites provide a lot of information on the General Services
Administration. The FSS site will help you get a GSA number.
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Special small business programs
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Learn the rules for contracting with the federal government.
DFARS is a user- friendly web site to look up the DOD supplement to
Opportunities in Chicago and Illinois
Cook County, IL
Illinois state government
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Other web sites worth knowing about
An online companion to the award winning book, we think this is a
great site to learn the steps involved in winning government contracts.
The following URL's are important web sites to be aware of for federal
acquisition purposes. Included are some comments on the sites to help you
understand their purpose. Each link below will open in a new browser window.