IDIQs are now one of the most used form of government procurement, and if your company is not on any of those vehicles you might be missing a significant increase in your revenue. One major difficulty with IDIQ contracts is that even if you got on the “bus” (an IDIQ vehicle) you’ll still need to compete for the “seats” (task orders), otherwise it will not worth the effort. In order to win task orders continuously you’ll need to be able recognize IDIQs and Task Order patterns and use them to your advantage, by implementing them in your Task Order Manual. Here is the list of what you’ll need to pay the most attention to:
- Task order response requirements. Each IDIQ has different rules, and you’ll need to address specific task order requirements in each response for those vehicles. Bidding on everything (while it is not an IDIQ requirement) can be a problem. But, many companies run into the opposite trap—being too choosy, and no-bidding on most task orders they encounter. Address this part in your Task Order Manual based on cautious observations and by carefully keeping track of what is coming down the pike on the vehicle.
- Task order frequency, size, and duration. This pattern might be hard to recognize before you have started IDIQ work, unless this is not a new vehicle, and you have learned what the historic frequency and patterns have been. It is usually safe to assume that the trend will continue. This information has to be updated on a regular basis, as it impacts your resource planning for business development efforts. Because each vehicle is so different, you can’t easily just cut and paste a piece of boilerplate from manual to manual – be careful!
- Typical task order proposal page count allocation. Task order proposals may have a certain limited page count. This page count allocation may vary depending on the type of task order, its value, its size, and even the level of importance. Noting these patterns and rules may help in resource planning and help newcomers understand the exact challenge they are dealing with. The shorter the task order response, the harder it is to prepare it in order to distinguish your team from the competition.
- Typical task order types and scope. As soon as you start noticing IDIQ patterns, you can start adding this information to your vehicle management documentation. Normally, you’ll need to describe here what kinds of task orders have been issued historically on an IDIQ you are working with. If the government publishes an awards history, paste it here. Otherwise, track this information on your own and use sources such as GovWin IQ. Add narrative to your manual shedding more light on the contract types and types of scope you tend to see. This will help you better prepare and predict future work, and better allocate your capture resources.
- Customer map. If you don’t yet know what this means, consider taking our Winning IDIQs and Task Orders seminar, or the Advanced Capture Management seminar on June 19-20, 2012, (http://www.ostglobalsolutions.com/events), where we provide detailed directions on how to develop a Customer Map and many other templates.
- Task order issuance and award process. You can find this information on the government’s IDIQ website, or ask the contracting officer to provide it to you or at least explain how the process works. This is not acquisition-sensitive information, and the government often publicizes it to advertise the virtues of the vehicle to other agencies. The IDIQ RFP also may have additional information on the task order issuance and award process. For example, information on whether you’ll receive an award after the government reviews your task order, or will you have to write another proposal upon downselect? This is important to know for planning and resource purposes.
- Task order evaluation process. The more you know about the source selection evaluation process the government uses, the better off you will be. You may want to request a meeting with them to find out exactly how do they make their decisions, and what do they prefer to see in you proposals to make their jobs easier.
- Government’s task order proposal preferences. This pattern is one of the most important ones to pay attention to when developing your vehicle management process and documentation. It requires your full attention and careful gathering of information and lessons learned over the course of customer meetings and win/loss debriefs. This information will help you join the ranks of consistent winners.
Remember, you have to focus on giving the customer what they need without assuming that you know better, and every single customer is different. Once you find the perfect formula for your task order proposals, you will reap consistent rewards.