By Gloria Larkin on August 27, 2021
Recently, the Department of Defense (DoD) joined the General Services Administration (GSA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in severely curtailing use of the vilified Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) source selection criteria in the federal contracting process. The LPTA has long been decried by contractors as an unfair and dangerous method to cut costs and provide shoddy services and products to the federal government.
The Federal Register published a Final Rule effective on February 16, 2021, implementing LPTA restrictions for civilian agencies, as DoD had earlier implemented the same restrictions in October 2019. The timeline difference was related to DoD’s changes mandated by the 2017 and 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as well as civilian agencies catching up in the 2019 NDAA.
While this rule does not prohibit use of LPTA in the source selection process, it does give clarity as to when it may be used. For example, it states “…Section 880 does require contracting officers to avoid, to the maximum extent practicable, using the LPTA source selection process…that is predominantly for the acquisition of information technology, cybersecurity services, systems engineering and technical assistance services, advanced electronic testing, audit or audit readiness services, health care services and records, telecommunications devices and services, or other knowledge-based professional services-related procurements…”
The rule states that it “…aims to identify circumstances that must exist for an acquisition to use the LPTA source selection process and certain types of requirements that will regularly benefit from the use of tradeoff source selection procedures…” and that contracting officers are now required to document why they are using the LPTA process.
This formal rule change has the possibility of ushering in a dramatic upswing benefitting both contractors and federal agencies, resulting in better work products while spending tax-payers monies.
Now, if you’re looking to do your part in curtailing the LPTA in GovCon and advocate for best value contracts, check out my eight strategies for success below:
1. Have the PDF of the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Lowest Price Technically Acceptable.
2. Have the Source Selection Process Rule Dated January 14, 2021 ready to send when necessary. Email glorialarkinTG@targetgov.com for the PDF of the rule.
3. Research the history of your target agency, i.e., is it holding onto the LPTA concept or have they segued to best-value; are the contracting officers (COs) inexperienced or well-versed; and does the program level want experienced, informed contractors or are they OK with inexperienced, low-price alternatives?
4. Be proactive in communications with all decision-makers including contracting, program level, and if a small business, the related agency representatives as well as the assigned Procurement Center Representative (PCR) regarding the upcoming opportunities you have in your pipeline. This must be done before the RFP is released.
5. Always use the TargetGov Rule of Three™ before meeting with any decision-maker, whether it is contracting, program, or small business levels. This will dramatically increase your P-Win!
6. Before you pursue pre-opportunity capability briefings, always determine your company’s differentiators and metrics supporting those differentiators that shape the opportunity in your favor. Not sure how to do this? Contact our experts.
7. During the agency’s vendor outreach sessions, pre-opportunity, and prime contractor capability briefings, always be prepared with three or more opportunities to discuss ranging in target dates from now through the next year. Shape the opportunities around your differentiators and past performance.
8. Be relentless in regular, professional, persistent contact all year long, not just when the RFP is scheduled to hit the streets. If you wait too late to make an impact it will cause your PWin to tank.
Fine tune your customer service and past performance rating process in a trackable, measurable system. Not sure how? Contact TargetGov!
Want to learn more? Be on the lookout for Gloria’s upcoming appearance on our New Normal in Government Contracting series!
About Gloria Larkin
Gloria Larkin is the President, CEO, and Founder of TargetGov, a government procurement, business development, and marketing service offering the exclusive Federal Acceleration Strategies and Tactics (FAST™) Process, the KickStart Program™, Capability Statements, certification services, capture, and expert federal contracting services. In the past 7 years, Gloria and her team have helped clients win over $7 billion in federal contracts. Featured on MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, INC Magazine, and theStreet.com, Gloria is an American Express National Procurement Advisor and Author of The Basic Guide to Government Contracting: How to Build a Successful Government Contracting Business and The Veterans Business Guide, and of hundreds of federal contracting articles in print and online. Gloria represents millions of businesswomen nationwide as the Educational Foundation Board Chair Emeritus for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). Gloria may be reached at GloriaLarkinTG@Targetgov.com or 866-579-1346 x 325.