Source Approval Request programs are at the top of the competition enhancement programs administered by the Competition Management Office (CMO).
The success of any Source Approval effort is dependent on open dialogue and an honest collaborative partnership among all parties.
The most important step in the Source Approval process is the preparation of the Source Approval Request Packages which contain three components.
Source Approval serves the military by providing a way for manufacturers and suppliers to tap a market that has little competition. Source Approval serves TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) by creating price competition into the procurement process and generating saving, reduce delivery schedules and producing better quality products for the Soldiers and the army.
The Source Approval Program provides ways for suppliers to compete for business on sole source or restricted spare parts.
To successfully compete in the Source Approval Program, the responsibility, and burden of preparing or completing technical data packages is on the manufacturers or suppliers of the part to demonstrate that their part is equal to or better than the part TACOM Life Cycle Management Command is currently using.
Generally, manufacturers or suppliers offering restricted parts for demonstration occur in two phases;
Source Approval Request (SAR) package.
The review process normally takes 30 to 60 days before a decision is made.
If an approval decision is given during the SAR phase, the manufacturers or suppliers is then given authorization to move into the qualification and testing phase.
Upon receipt of approval and eligibility status, the manufacturers or suppliers can legally compete against other approved sources to supply parts for government requirements.
It is imperative that manufacturers or suppliers are aware that becoming an approved source only grants them an opportunity to compete.
The procurement of these parts is restricted only to “approved" sources that have demonstrated their ability to produce the parts, it does not guarantee future contract awards.
Source approval is not easy.
Source Approval requires the commitment of the manufacturers or suppliers to produce a Source Approval Program and in most cases, fund the qualification and testing requirements.
It also requires the manufacturers or suppliers to remain actively involved in the SAR Process through inquiries and follow-up, timely submission of supplemental data, clarifications to questions asked, and revised documents as requested by TACOM LCMC’s engineering staff. Similarly, TACOM LCMC is responsible and obligated to providing manufacturers or suppliers a prompt and objective evaluation of their Source Approval Request qualification and testing results.
Moreover, TACOM LCMC is also obligated to provide manufacturers or suppliers the opportunity to rework or retest various qualification and testing components when feasible.
The Competition Management Office (CMO) is the manger of the Source Approval Program and is responsible for receiving and initially reviewing all SARs before forwarding them to the appropriate engineering department for final evaluation and approval.
If other departments, such as Quality Assurance or Maintenance need to be involved in the SAR approval process, the CMO will ensure their participation in the process. On the other hand, if the process comes to a halt for any reason or requires expediting, as the manufacturers or suppliers advocate, the CMO works to get the process back on track.
What Source Approval Is Not
The Source Approval Program bears a very close resemblance to the Qualified Products List (QPL) or Qualified Manufacturers List (QML) programs but they are in fact, distinctly different!
The QPL and QML Programs are for items with identified specific qualifications and quality requirements for which the US Government already has a developed written qualification test plan.
Except for the need to control some critical need through the manufacturing process, these items would be completely competitive build-to-print items from available Level III technical data packages.
However, items in the Source Approval program do not have complete technical data packages and also have some crucial manufacturing or quality details missing that prevents them from being fully competitive.
In addition, in most cases, the US Government has not developed a qualification test plan for these items.
Therefore, the technical knowledge required to manufacture and test these parts rests with current producer(s).
The QPL and QML Programs are administered by the TACOM Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC).
or information on TARDEC and its available programs see Appendix
All unsolicited proposals should be forwarded to the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), National Automotive Center for review.
Source Approval Requests are only for items already existing in the Army’s logistics and supply system with assigned National Stock Numbers or Military Part Numbers.
They are parts that are already being used on TACOM LCMC's vehicle
fleets. Offerors interested in bidding on items with pre-existing Level
III TDPs should visit the TACOM LCMC-Warren’s Acquisition PROCNET
Website to view all open solicitations at
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