News and Research

Veterans Affairs Acquisition Strategy Determination – “Rule of Two” in Practice

By Nicole Eger

Both VA Program Offices and Contracting Offices have the responsibility of performing market research during various phases of the acquisition process. The Program Office gathers information to ensure that their requirements are in line with what is available from the commercial market. The Contracting Office needs to know what the field of interested vendors look like concerning socio-economic category and the relative assertion that the interested firms are capable of fulfilling the requirements at a fair and reasonable price.

The US Supreme Court decision in the Kingdomware case solidified that VA has a regulatory requirement to adhere to the Vets First program. By law, Mandatory Sources must first be considered for contracting the need, but Kingdomware in practice means that if there is a contracting vehicle (General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Supply Schedule (FSS)) identified, then the Program Office and Contracting Office are to consider the following method for determination of an Acquisition Strategy for the effort:

  1. Are there two or more SDVOSBs on the GSA FSS that can do the work?
  • If yes, proceed with an SDVOSB Set-Aside acquisition strategy using FSS
  • If no, look at the commercial market for two or more capable SDVOSBs
  1. Are there two or more SDVOSBs in the commercial market that can do the work?
  • If yes, proceed with an SDVOSB Set-Aside acquisition strategy outside of FSS
  • If no, look at the GSA FSS for VOSBs
  1. Are there two or more VOSBs on a GSA FSS that can do the work?
  • These two can be a combination of one SDVOSB and one VOSB
  • If yes, proceed with a VOSB Set-Aside acquisition strategy using FSS
  • If no, look at the commercial market for two or more capable VOSBs
  1. Are there two or more VOSBs in the commercial market that can do the work?
  • If yes, proceed with a VOSB Set-Aside acquisition strategy outside of FSS
  • If no, look at the GSA FSS for SBs
  1. Are there two or more SBs on the GSA FSS that can do the work?
  • If yes, proceed with an SB Set-Aside acquisition strategy using FSS
  • If no, look at the commercial market for two or more capable SBs
  1. Are there two or more SBs in the commercial market that can do the work?
  • If yes, proceed with an SB Set-Aside acquisition strategy outside of FSS
  • If no, look at the GSA FSS for any two or more firms that can do the work
  1. Are there two or more firms of any size on the GSA FSS that can do the work?
  • If yes, proceed with a Full-and-Open acquisition strategy using FSS
  • If no, proceed with a Full-and-Open acquisition strategy outside of the FSS

Of course, there are several market research processes and steps between branches of the decision tree that assist with the identification of interested vendor pools with the capability, capacity, and viability to support an acquisition strategy that will result in reduced procurement risk.

Join Monterey as we continue to support our local veterans!

This time of year the VA receives a lot of canned goods and other food from several companies doing food drives this time of year. This time we would like to do something a little different. We would like to do a clothing drive to help out the VA in an area where they don’t often get a lot of support. While the food is always appreciated, there are many veterans without basic winter clothing to help them through the cold months.

Our goal is 200 items to donate to the VA. Everything has to be new. So while you’re out doing your black Friday shopping, please consider picking up some extra winter garments for your local veterans. The clothing drive will run form December 2nd to December 18th. Please bring all items to 5335 Far Hills Ave Suite 311, Dayton Ohio 45429. We will be taking everything to the VA in the afternoon on Wednesday. Below is a list of items the VA is in need of:

Coats (larger sizes)
Thermal socks (larger sizes)
Hats
Scarfs
Gloves
Long johns (larger sizes)
Thick long sleeve shirts (larger sizes)
Blankets
Lap blankets

Category Management in the Federal Space -Building the Support Structure

By Nicole Eger, SME, Market Research & Analytics

Category Management is the emerging practice in commercial purchasing. In fact, if you work in retail, you’re probably a Category Management expert. However, most of Federal procurement is once again behind the times.

The underlying cause is not that the significance of Category Management is not recognized, but rather the structural changes to Federal Programs and Contracting are not receptive to implementation. Federal Program managers must develop a team of subject matter experts, policy wonks, and other staff to put together their acquisition package. Many of those other team members are temporary, which makes establishing a baseline structure to support Category Management difficult. The development of a strong Category Management structure is the foundation for a successful Category Management program. This includes not only placing the right people in the right positions to support the effort, but correctly identifying and assigning the roles and responsibility of the Category Management team members.

Federal Procurement professionals spend most of their time putting out fires. Much of this boils down to the following:

  1. Multiple Directorate/Agency Responsibilities
    • Tasked with a variety of topics instead of being able to focus and excel in fewer areas
    • Meeting schedules
    • Supporting multiple mission objectives and other programs
  2. Demand Rates
    • Increased level of demand for acquisitions
    • Urgent need to replace failed contracts
  3. Availability
    • Finding time for large groups of stakeholders to meet
  4. Revisions
    • Document preparations
    • Revisions to the package after a rejection from Contracting
    • Revisions to the package after a rejection from the Small Business Office

These are not all-inclusive hindrances. Throwing money at a program and telling them to run a Category Management program is not the answer. It is past time that Federal acquisition employs a deliberate thought process to establish organic capability. As the tendency will be to hire someone else to do it, the dollars would be better spent to have a commercial firm mentor Federal staff on building the foundation of a successful Category Management program, train placed Federal staff on how to look at and perform the elements of Category Management, and develop Federal staff to take over the reins.

If you’re ready to transform your organization using Category Management best practices, reach out to us. We’re ready to help.

Monterey Holds Second VA Food Drive

This week starts another canned food drive! This one will run from June 17th to July 11th.  Donations will be accepted at Monterey’s home office located at 5335 Far Hills Ave. Dayton, Ohio 45429. This summer the VA has requested the following items:

  • Canned proteins
  • Coffee
  • Athletic shorts (medium to larger sizes, new only)
  • Flip flops (new only)
  • T-shirts (new only)

With the first canned food drive we were able to raise 300 cans for the VA Food Pantry.  This time around we have set a goal of 500 cans/items!

There are a few clothing items on here due to the warm weather they are in need of them.  Donations of canned fruits and vegetables will still be accepted, however the VA does have a partnership with the Dayton Food Bank and they purchase those in bulk.  So lets get creative and raise a wide variety of items for our veterans.

Monterey Consultants Employees Exceed Holiday Food Drive Goal

Monterey Consultants donated over 300 cans of food and an additional 300 dollars to the Dayton VA Food Pantry.

Originally with a goal of 150 cans by December 17th, Monterey employees exceeded this goal by December 10th and set out to double their goal. Monterey employees donated 302 cans in 3 weeks, with the company matching a dollar for every can donated.

The cans will go directly to the Dayton VA Food Pantry, but the money will go to help The Heart Failure and Diabetic Food Box Program. When Cardiologists and Diabetes Specialists identify a patient with food insecurities, they can write the patient a “food prescription”. The patient can then go to the Dayton VA Food Pantry where they will be given a box of food that fits their needs. It is estimated that these boxes will cost 18-23 dollars each.

This project is currently in the development phase while the VA continues to raise money for this project. If you would like to help those in need please make donations to the Dayton Food Pantry and specify that you want you donation to be directed to The Heart Failure and Diabetic Food Box Program.

While the food drive is over, Monterey will continue to help by setting up a company volunteering program to help the Dayton VA Food Pantry set up and restock.

Director of Medical Records Operations Abbey Williamson gives check to the Dayton VA Food Pantry

Director of Medical Records Operations Abbey Williamson gives check to the Dayton VA Food Pantry

Director of Medical Records Operations Abbey Williamson, Team Lead Casey Eagy, and Case Auditor Jennifer Gardner pose with all food donated by Monterey Consultants

Director of Medical Records Operations Abbey Williamson, Team Lead Casey Eagy, and Case Auditor Jennifer Gardner

Monterey Consultants Wins 2018 HIRE Vets Medallion Award

Monterey Consulants, Inc was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award recipient for our commitment to recruiting, employing, and retaining America’s veterans. The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is the only federal-level veterans’ employment award that recognizes a company’s commitment to veteran hiring, retention, and professional development. We’re proud to be a recipient of the U.S. Department of Labor’s HIRE Vets Medallion Program Demonstration Award.  Our company earned the Platinum Small Award, and is one of only 239 recipients this year.