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PTAC Client Success Story : Protocol Networks, Inc.

Protocol Networks, Inc.

Protocol Networks is an all-inclusive I.T consulting firm, based in Johnston, RI, focused on providing technical and strategic solutions and excellent customer service to their clients. When Protocol Networks was founded in 2000, one of their core missions was to provide unbiased professional IT consulting services and expertise to their clients independent of any hardware or software vendors. Rather than focus on profit, their client-centric model assures clients that the solutions presented to them are the very best for their business requirements and complement core business strategies. Read their recent success story below:

“Protocol Networks began implementing a government contract strategy in early 2017 about the same time we became a RI PTAC client.  We realized that we needed to understand the liabilities and risk associated with individual solicitations and to get a larger picture of the government contracts market.

Recently we bid to provide Hanscom Air Force Base cabling hardware and installation services for a fiber optics upgrade to one of their buildings. The project solicitation period had a short lead time for response and provided no opportunity for a site visit prior to response.

We requested that Lou Francis, our PTAC counselor, talk with the Protocol Networks proposal development team to better understand the situation:  what components of the solicitation needed to be addressed, what the impact would be on to the total solution and how Protocol Networks could successfully execute a contract of this size as well as about DFARS regulations.

RI PTAC helped our team sort through the DFARS requirements, some of the contract terms and conditions and scope of work required by the Hanscom AFB solicitation, that were critical to make an informed proposal response. With PTAC assistance, Protocol Networks was awarded the contract valued at close to $475,000.

RI PTAC continues to work with the Protocol Networks team attending meetings with our internal resources via phone during planning phases, as well as jumping on the phone with the Protocol Networks account manager and the Hanscom AFB contracting team sorting out contract performance milestones.

Having RI PTAC help ensures that Protocol Networks understands each of the responsibilities required for successful completion of the contract, including ensuring that there is complete understanding on how Protocol Networks will invoice and be paid in a timely manner. Working with the RI PTAC team provides Protocol Networks a responsive, value added contracts professional to answer questions and provide research and clarification regarding government marketing and bidding activities.

As a RI PTAC client Protocol Networks will continue to engage PTAC for assistance on government contracting, understand best practices, assisting our team to review solicitations and bid submissions. Protocol Networks views continued  participation in the RIPTAC program as a major component towards becoming a successful, long term federal government vendor.”

To learn more about Protocol Networks, please visit their website.

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FAR Small Business Subcontracting Changes

Regulatory amendments related to small-business subcontracting will take effect on November 1, 2016.

On July 14, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council issued a final rule in the Federal Register to implement regulatory changes that the Small Business Administration (SBA) made. The final rule makes many important changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 19 and FAR clause 52.219-9 to implement the statutory requirements of Sections 1321 and 1322 of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-240). These changes, which take effect on November 1, are summarized below.

Use of Small-Business Subcontractors During Contract Performance

The new rule amends FAR clause 52.219-9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan, to require prime contractors to make good-faith efforts to utilize their proposed small-business subcontractors during a contract’s performance to the same degree that such small businesses were relied on in preparing or submitting the contract bid or proposal. If the prime contractor is unable to make this effort, it must explain in writing to the contracting officer, within 30 days of contract completion, the reasons why it is unable to do so.

Calculation of Subcontracting Goals

Under amended FAR subpart 19.704(a)(2), contracting officers will have discretionary authority to require a contractor to establish subcontracting goals both in terms of total subcontract dollars and in terms of total contract dollars. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council clarified that use of total contract dollars is in no way an attempt to influence a contractor’s make or buy decision and clarified that a contracting officer will make such decisions on a case-by-case basis. In addition, under the amended FAR subpart 19.705-1, the contracting officer may establish small-business subcontracting goals at the order level for indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts.

Subcontracting Plan Requirements

The rule provides a contracting officer with the authority to require a subcontracting plan from a prime contractor during contract performance in two situations:

  1. Under the amended FAR 19.301-2, contracting officers will be able to require a subcontracting plan in the event that a prime contractor’s size changes from small to other-than-small as a result of a size rerepresentation on a contract that contains FAR clause 52.219-9.
  2. In addition, the amended FAR 19.702 will allow a contracting officer to require a subcontracting plan when a contract modification of any value causes a contract’s value without a subcontracting plan to exceed the subcontracting plan threshold and subcontracting opportunities exist.

Assigning NAICS Codes to Subcontracts

Under the revised FAR clause 52.219-9, prime contractors will be required to assign a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and corresponding size standard to each subcontract with a small-business concern.

Subcontractor Discussions with the Contracting Officer

Under the amended FAR clause 52.219-9, prime contractors may not prohibit a subcontractor from discussing with the contracting officer any material matter pertaining to payment or use of a particular subcontractor.

Subcontracting Reports

Also under 52.219-9, prime contractors are directed to resubmit corrected subcontracting reports within 30 days of receiving notification that a report has been rejected.

Notification to Unsuccessful Offerors

Under the revised FAR clause 52.219-9, prime contractors must notify unsuccessful small-business offerors for subcontracts in writing and provide the successful offeror’s name, location, and socioeconomic status.

Subcontracting Credit

Historically, the agency that awarded a contract also received the small-business subcontracting credit. The new rule changes this model by allowing funding agencies to receive the small-business credit.

Conclusion

The proposed rule imposes some significant new compliance obligations and will require contractors to be vigilant in meeting those obligations. Large and small businesses alike should familiarize themselves with the final rule’s changes to prepare for the November effective date.

Article by Robert J. Sherry and Sheila A. Armstrong

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DoD Procurement Instrument Identification (PIID) Change

In order to standardize procurement transactions across the Federal Government, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 4.16, Unique Procurement Instrument Identifiers (PIID) has been amended to implement a uniform award identification system referred to as the Procurement Instrument Identification (PIID).

For DLA the new structure will continue to require use of Activity Address Codes (AACs) as the unique identifier for contracting offices, the current fiscal year, instrument type and a four-character serial number. Existing contract, purchase order, delivery order numbers will not change. Beginning October 1, 2016 manual purchase order numbers will change from “m” to “p” in the 9th position. Automated purchase orders will continue to use a “V” in the 9th position.

Beginning October 2017, Task/Delivery Order numbers will be issued with a unique 13-character delivery order number as described above, containing “F” or “M” in the 9th position; the current four-character supplementary call number identifier will no longer be utilized.
A “M” in the ninth position of the PIID will identify purchase orders and task or delivery orders issued by the enterprise FedMall system.
All modifications, including modifications to calls and task/delivery orders, will utilize a 6-character format, added to the 13-character PIID being modified.

If you have any questions or concerns about these changes contact your PTAC counselor!

To read Subpart 4.16 in full visit https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart%204_16.html

Please monitor the DLA Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS) https://www.dibbs.bsm.dla.mil/Notices/
and/or the Supplier Information Resource Center (SIRC) http://www.dla.mil/HQ/InformationOperations/Business/EBSSupplierResources.aspx for updates.

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The International Professional Series

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The Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University will be hosting The International Professional Series for both Novice and Experienced Exporters throughout October and November. The IPS provides participants with the expertise and hands-on information to help them succeed in the global marketplace. For those new to international trade, this is an excellent introduction to the key components of global business. For trade professionals, this is an opportunity to broaden your knowledge and stay current on the latest regulations and best practices.

To view the PDF in full: intl-prof-series-fall-2016-flyer2

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Keep Your CAGE Code Up to Date!

This month marks a significant change in the way the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) manages its Commercial and Government entity (CAGE) codes. Beginning August 25, any new or updated CAGE code will be assigned an expiration date. What does this mean for you, small businesses?

Really, all you need to do is keep your System for Award Management (SAM) registration up to date and you will be safe from expiration. SAM requires you to update your records at least once a year. If you do not keep your SAM registration updated your CAGE code is at risk of expiration and your company will not be able to do business with the Federal Government and you will become ineligible for government funding meaning you will not get paid for the work you are already conducting!

The good news is if your SAM registration does expire you do still have the option to renew it. Once it is renewed, the CAGE system will receive a notification and your CAGE code will be given a new expiration date. If you still have questions or need help registering or updating your SAM registration or CAGE code please contact us!