SEWP ratings keeps industry service levels high
Performance rating system promotes quality service
People often ask why nearly all of the contract holders for NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement IV have excellent ratings on the program performance system, said SEWP IV Program Manager Joanne Woytek. After all, one might expect at least a few problems among the 38 companies on the governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC).
The reason for virtually across-the-board excellence is simple, Woytek said. When an issue or problem between an agency and a contractor arise, the SEWP IV office focuses on resolving the problem and helping the agency get what it needs. The program office would rather have a satisfied customer than a poorly rated contract holder. “Our goal is not to punish people but to push them to be excellent,” Woytek said. "The rating system is a powerful tool to encourage people to show their excellence."
The program performance rating tool is accessible online and can be viewed by anyone — agencies, contract holders and the general public. Agency procurement officers, of course, can use the evaluations to help guide their decision-making, particularly when they are awarding orders based on best value. The SEWP IV program office tracks the performance of each contract holder based on feedback from agency customers in five categories:
- Reports — includes timeliness and accuracy of reporting.
- Customer satisfaction — includes the quality of products and services as well as responsiveness to customer complaints.
- Information distribution — complies with customer contract guidelines, including correct information on the company’s Web site, marketing materials and quotes.
- Contract adherence — attends required meetings, follows SEWP IV’s delivery policy, submits accurate reports and provides quotes in accordance with SEWP IV rules.
- Delivery — delivers orders by the expected delivery date and follows SEWP IV’s delivery procedures.
Contractors are awarded color-coded ratings of blue (excellent), green (very good), yellow (good) and red (poor) in each of these categories. In general, contractors that have multiple problems in a specific area within a three-month period will have their rating downgraded; they can raise the rating by performing without problems for three months.
Although SEWP IV officials tracked “delivery” in the past, it was added this fiscal year as a category that is publicly rated for contractors’ past performance. In addition, the program performance Web site provides the total number of orders delivered by each contract holder under SEWP IV and the average delivery time (measured in days).
Contractor holders pay careful attention to their ratings, said Mike Cogswell, senior director of contracts and compliance for GovConnection. “SEWP officials continuously monitor what’s going on in the contract, and they let us know what is expected of us,” he said. “If an agency customer has a problem or issue, I can assure you that the SEWP staff will follow up with the contract holders to make sure they are responsive.”
“We get phone calls from CEOs and presidents if their companies are downgraded from excellent, and so we explain why and what they need to do,” Woytek said. She considers the phone calls to be a good sign because it shows that the companies’ top officials are committed to the SEWP IV program and, consequently, will provide their program managers with the resources necessary to resolve issues and complaints.
“I don’t expect companies to not have problems; I expect companies to fix them,” Woytek said. “Ultimately, the goal of the contract is to have excellent companies providing excellent service to our customers.”