OMB reports over use of "Name Brands" in Specifications
Challenge to Government Contracting Officers:
"Don't Use Name Brands in RFPs"
A memo was sent April 11, 2005 reminding all Chief Acquisition and Information Officers as well as Senior Procurement Executives from the Office of OMB, not to use Name Brands in acquisition specification requests, according to a recent article written by Kimberly Palmer and published in GovExec.com on April 26, 2005 entitled, "Brand Names Prove Hard To Shake In Acquisition Requests."
According to the article, David H. Safavian, Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy and Karen S. Evans, Administrator, office of Electronic Government and Information Technology stated in the memo, "The purpose of this memorandum is to reinforce the need to maintain vendor and technology neutral contract specifications and to comply with the requirements in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) regarding the use of brand name specifications."
The memo actually quotes the FAR 11.05, stating, "agency requirements shall not be written so as to require a particular brand name, product,or feature of a product, peculiar t one manufacturer, thereby precluding consideration of a product manufactured by another company."
Of course, the memo identifies an exception to this rule, saying using name brands are "allowed only if there is a written justification and a particular name brand, product or feature is essential to the Government's requirements, and market research indicates other companies' similar products, or products lacking the particular feature, do not meet, or cannot be modified to meet, the agency's needs."
The memo continues to state, "We are concerned the use of brand name specifications in agency solicitations may have increased in recent years, particularly for information technology procurements."
While they expressed their concern in the IT arena, they used a specific example of a federal agency (unnamed in the memo) issuing an RFQ for approximately $81 million in office supplies. "Throughout the RFQ, office supplies were identified by a vendor number unique to one large office supply company," says the memo.
"There is also a significant risk of severely limiting small business participation in these cases. To ensure agencies are providing for maximum competition and are purchasing the best products to meet agency needs, solicitations should limit the use of name brands in accordance with the FAR."
Eileen's Thoughts: "What a Surprise! I'm Shocked!"
So you thought they were all fair and open competitions? Guess what? They're written with someone already in mind and here's the proof. So what if the name brands are taken off the RFP? They will still indicate the best values of the company they know and trust to win the business.
What is your strategy now? Get in there early -- no matter the size of your business and develop a trusting relationship. Show them you have the best solution and they'll use your best values to write the next bid specifications. That's the game. Don't sit on the sidelines and wait for the RFP to come out on fedbizopps.gov -- get in there and meet these people.
Government business is a "contact" sport - so get embedded in there and start making contacts!
Here's to six more sales calls today and telling everyone your best values!
Choose three best values from this list. Depending upon the agency requirements and project needs, you will probably modify your best values based on the situation:
- We're a Small Business (Woman Owned, 8a, HubZone, Disabled Veteran, Native American, Alaskan, Hawaiian)
- We're Local
- We Have A Security Clearance
- We're On GSA Schedule
- We Have Expertise In Our Area of Service
- We Deliver Fast
- Our Products are Made in the USA
- Our Products are Made of Recycled Material
- Our Products are Easy to Use (Best Value - 0 Cost to Implement)
- We're A National Company (this is for large businesses - name brands)
- We Have Past Performance With Your Agency
The following is the link to this memo:
The following is the link to the GovExec Article: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0405/042605k1.htm
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