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Office of Acquisition and Logistics (OAL)

April/May 2014 | No. 56 FSS eNewsletter

 
Tel: (708) 786-7737 Fax: (708) 786-5828 fss.help@va.gov Contacts Survey
 

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Electronic Acceptance of Offers

In February we announced our intent to begin accepting solicitation proposals electronically.  And today, we are very excited to announce that on May 1, 2014 we began accepting offers electronically!

We realize that the offer submission process can be complicated and it is our hope that by accepting proposals electronically we will:

  • Simplify the documentation & promote electronic completion of all forms;
  • Eliminate the costs of printing & shipping a complete copy of the required documentation;
  • Accelerate the receipt & assignment of your proposal to an assigned contract specialist; and
  • Promote a more efficient & timely review of your proposal

Considerations

There are some things to consider when submitting an electronic offer:

  1. Be sure that you are using the most recent solicitation forms.  We will only accept proposals submitted using the most current forms.  Forms will be good for up to 90 days from the date of publication of the new solicitation.  After this 90 day grace period all outdated proposals will be returned without further action.  Check out theVA Schedules page to determine the solicitation version you should be using!

  2. All electronic offers must be emailed to vafssoffers@va.gov with the subject line FSS - Offer - Schedule ID - 1 of # (e.g. FSS - Offer - 65 II A - 1 of 4).  This email address serves as the central portal for processing new offers, therefore any offers that do not include this reference may be misdirected and thereby the review & evaluation of your off may be delayed.  Reference the table below for a listing of the acceptable Schedule IDs.

  3. For the immediate future we will continue to accept hard copy offers as we work out the kinks of electronic acceptance.  In accordance with 52.204-4, Printed or copied double-sided on recycled paper (May 2011), you are required to provide a double-sided print of your proposal in a 3-ring binder.  Hard copy offers should be sent to:

    VA National Acquisition Center
    Federal Supply Schedule Service (003A4B)
    Attn: New Schedule Offer
    P.O. Box 76, Bldg. 37
    1st Ave. One Block north of Cermak Road (22nd Street)
    Hines, IL 60141

Electronic Submission Logistics

Email:

vafssoffers@va.gov

Subject Line:

FSS - Offer - Schedule ID - Company Name - 1 of #

Attachment Size:

5mb

If your submission is larger than 5mb you can:

  • Send in multiple emails.  If sending through multiple emails it is essential that you identify the number of emails you are sending (1 of #) to ensure that we receive your entire offer.
  • Send a compressed zip file.  Zip files take up less storage space and allow for sharing of multiple files into one folder.  Check out instructions for zipping up your files here (PC) and here (Mac).
  • Send a CD-ROM.If your proposal is so large that it can't be compressed and is unmanageable to send multiple emails you can submit your electronic offer on a CD-ROM.  We are only able to accept CD-ROMs.

We cannot accept proposals submitted on a USB drive — submissions provided on a USB drive will not be considered.

Documentation:

Your proposal should be completed using a word processor — all of the solicitation documents are locked allowing you to complete the required form fields.  All documents requiring a signature must be printed, signed by the required authority, scanned & submitted with your electronic proposal. These documents include, but are not limited to:

  • SF-1449
  • Manufacturer letter(s) of commitment (if applicable)
  • Proof of liability insurance (if applicable)
  • Small Business Subcontracting Plan (if applicable

You will also need to provide electronic copies of your commercial price list, product literature, warranty, return goods policies, and any other documentation that may help support your proposal.

It is important that you review the required information for submitting a complete proposal.  If we do not receive all required documentation we may return your offer package without further consideration.

Email Submission

Your email should include:

  • Your company name, address, & contact information
  • Offer point of contact name, address, & contact information
  • Schedule name
  • Total number of emails required for your submission

Note that dissemination of information that is privileged, confidential, or otherwise protected will be limited to only authorized Government personnel and will not be shared with non-authorized users.

Need help?

Accepting electronic offers is a big leap for us and for you.  We are excited about the new process, but understand that there may be some kinks that we need to iron out.  Don't hesitate to contact the FSS Help Desk if you have any issues.

Be sure to keep a copy of your proposal for your records.  We also recommend that you follow up with the VA FSS Offer Help Desk to ensure that we received all of your offer documentation!

We are excited to begin accepting electronic offers and look forward to working with you to refine the process!

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Determination of Offers as Fair and Reasonable

The General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM) 538.270 requires FSS contracting officers (COs) to seek to obtain the offeror's best price prior to establishing a Federal Supply Schedule Contract and independently, GSAM 538.271 requires the COs to make a determination that the prices are fair and reasonable before an award can be made.

The CO's goal is to obtain better than, or equal to, the offeror’s Most Favored Customer (MFC) price.  GSA policy describes MFC price as “the absolute best price given to any commercial customer or Government entity, independent of terms and conditions, discounts, and/or concessions.” When conducting price analysis, GSAM 538.270 identifies six factors that the CO should consider, in addition to any other relevant information.  In order to conduct this analysis, the offeror is required to complete the solicitation's Commercial Sales Practice Format with information about its MFC prices.  Throughout the analysis of the submitted data and through negotiations, the CO will ask for any other relevant information that is necessary to ensure they have the information required to substantiate MFC pricing.

The FAR does not provide us a definition of what is fair and reasonable but it has generally been found to be that which reflects fair market value or total allowable cost of performance by a well-managed, responsible contractor plus reasonable profit, is realistic in the contractor's ability to satisfy terms, and is a price that a prudent buyer would pay considering market conditions, requirements alternatives, and non-price factors. FAR 31.201-3 states, “A cost is reasonable if, in its nature and amount, it does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person in the conduct of competitive business.”

GSAM 538.271 directs the CO to FAR part 15.4 as the basis to determine pricing as fair and reasonable.  Price analysis is the predominant method used when determining pricing as fair and reasonable for commercial items.  The CO may use a variety of techniques and may request additional information necessary to conduct the price analysis, including data other than certified cost or pricing data, defined as “pricing data, cost data, and judgmental information necessary for the contracting officer to determine a fair and reasonable price”.  The CO will review information obtained from other available sources and information identified through market research, in conjunction with contractor submitted CSP data as a means to determine pricing to be fair and reasonable.

It is the VA’s responsibility is to ensure that our veterans receive quality healthcare, and the COs at the National Acquisition Center strive to ensure that VA Medical Centers and other federal agencies have access to a wide variety of commercial products and services though Federal Supply Schedule contracts at the best possible prices.  The Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) requires VA personnel to use FSS contracts where available prior to soliciting open market offers.  The VA is a prudent buyer and will only award FSS contracts when the results of the price analysis and negotiations ensure that pricing is consistent with the marketplace and has been determined to be fair and reasonable.

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See what’s new with GSA’s reverse auction system!

Earlier this year GSA pushed out several updates to its highly successful, no cost reverse auction system.  Designed to create a more user-friendly and productive experience for buyers and FSS sellers the system allows

  1. Buyers to amend auctions; and
  2. Vendors to enter starting bids, including flat and proxy bids.

Additional enhancements include auction extensions, auction logic redesign, vendor “no bid” capability, start date display on auction description pages, and consolidated email notifications for auction invitations & closings.

Be sure to attend one of the new & improved training sessions to learn all about these and other enhancements to the reverse auction system!  Email reverseauctions@gsa.gov for more information!


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Public Law Corner

The FSS Service will be sending representatives to the 8th Annual “Big Four” Pharmaceutical Pricing Boot Camp slated for Monday May 19 — 20 at the Downtown Marriot in New York City. Key discussions will revolve around pricing concepts and methodologies regarding, but not limited to:

  • Veterans Healthcare Act
  • Federal Ceiling Prices
  • VA Schedule Contracting
  • Pharmacy Benefits Program

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FSS Online Training Program: May Webinar

Thank you to everyone who attended our April webinar: No Awards: Common mistakes, best practices, & other advice.  This was one of our best attended events yet!  Weren’t able to attend?  Don’t worry!  We are working to finalize our responses to the questions posed throughout the event — once finalized we will publish the final slide deck and No Award FAQ library.  Be sure to bookmark our training page to access this info as soon as it is published!

May 2014 Webinar: Determination of Fair & Reasonable Pricing

Join us on Wednesday, May 21st for the next event in our online training series — Determination of Fair & Reasonable Pricing.  At the end of this webinar, attendees should:

  • Understand the process to establish fair and reasonable pricing
  • Understand the proper documentation to provide to your CO for a determination of fair and reasonable pricing
  • Understand the definition of Most Favored Customer (MFC) as that customer or class of customers receiving overall best pricing
  • Review of pricing and/or circumstances taken in consideration of any combination of discounts and concessions offered to commercial customers (GSAM 538.270)
  • Available sources CO may use to obtain information to ensure fair and reasonable pricing

Download the draft presentation materials before the event!  Won’t be able to make it?  You can download a copy of the finalized presentation materials from our training page or email pmrs@va.gov for more information.

For federal employees

1 CLP will be granted for attendance to this training, CLPs are good for FAC-COR, FAC-CO, and FAC-P/PM certificate renewals.

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