Subcontractors – Friends or Foes?

Has anyone noticed that the Government’s Past Performance (PP) citation requirements are becoming more and more stringent – tying the Contractor’s hands by forcing use of templates and in specifying incredibly detailed Section M evaluation factors?

CV’s writers noticed, and on a recent proposal development effort, crafted a detailed outline of information needed to fulfill evaluation factors for each of the 10 PP citation sub-sections (yes – 10!). The Prime and one its subs followed the outline, and although the writer needed to prod for better substantiation and more detail on company innovations and how those innovations benefited the customer, 4 out of 5 citations were worthy of scoring at least Green, if not Blue, and were ready to print on-time.

But one citation was not. And it was received from the other subcontractor late, 24 hours before production.

Upon review, our writer determined that not only was the response non-compliant with the outline and Section M, it was further technically inaccurate; if left as written, it may potentially call into question the validity of the other citations. The writer and one of the Prime’s VPs worked throughout the evening and early into the next morning – pulling the original PWS from Fed Biz Opps, mapping it to the current contract’s SOW, and reviewing scores of past performance data and proposals the subcontractor emailed at close of business (claiming “all the information is already there – we don’t have time to do anything else for you”) – doing all their work for them. While we ultimately delivered within the Government’s proposed timeframe, copyediting and production were pushed to the ultimate limit, leaving the door wide open for mistakes and potential non-compliance issues.

Sound at all familiar?

Lesson Learned: Prime Contractors Beware
Constant communication with your subcontractors has never been more paramount. Throwing out a casual data call (“Fill out Attachment J Past Performance template”) to your subs won’t cut it; some may undermine your effort by assuming they can cut and paste from a former PP reference and won’t even read the template’s directions.

How can you prevent it from happening?

We have some ideas … what are your thoughts and experiences?

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