Simplified procedures require fewer administrative details, lower approval levels, and less documentation. New procurement reform legislation requires all federal purchases above $3,000 but under $100,000 to be reserved for small businesses, unless the contracting officer cannot obtain offers from two or more small businesses that are competitive on price, quality and delivery.
Government purchases of up to $3,000 in individual items or multiple items whose aggregate amount does not exceed $3,000 are now classified as "micro-purchases" and can be made without obtaining competitive quotes. However, these purchases are no longer reserved for small businesses. Agencies can make micro-purchases using a Government Purchase Card (typical credit card).
Contracting officials search the System for Award Management (SAM)to identify qualified small business contractors. Therefore, any small business that wants to sell to the government should be registered in SAM.
When the government is merely checking into the possibility of acquiring a product or service, it may issue a Request for Quotation (RFQ). A response to an RFQ by a prospective contractor is not considered an offer, and consequently, cannot be accepted by the government to form a binding 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 a supplier accepts the offer.
Government-wide RFPs and RFQs are available daily for review at FedBizOpps. This electronic government service also provides a direct link to the request. In most instances, the government uses oral solicitations for purchases less than $25,000, written solicitations for purchases over $25,000, and purchase cards to obtain micro-purchases less than $3,000.
One of the most significant changes government acquisition reform is the increased importance of "best value." Best value means that, rather than making awards to the lowest bidder as it generally did in the past, the government can now make awards for the item that best satisfies its needs at a slightly higher price. If purchasers are going to make an award based on best value, they must state their intent in the solicitation document and include a description of the evaluation criteria, award factors, and factors other than the price that will be considered in making a contract award.
Contracting officials search the System for Award Management (SAM) to identify qualified small business contractors. Therefore, any small business that wants to sell to the government should be registered on SAM.
Consolidated Purchasing Programs
The use of these contract vehicles, including expanded use of GSA schedules has increased significantly during the last few years. These popular vehicles allow government buyers to quickly fill requirements by issuing orders against existing contracts or schedules without starting a new procurement action from scratch. Further, agencies can competitively award several or multiple task order contracts to different firms for the same products and services. This practice allows federal buyers to issue orders to any one or combination of several firms with relative ease.
The three largest interagency consolidated purchasing programs are administered by the General Services Administration, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Crater Procurement Assistance Center