Exactly how much do you know about procurement?

By Terry Miller

Are you a buying ace? Take this quiz to find out if you've got what it takes to survive in the federal systems buying market.


1: Which is faster: an invitation for bids or a request for proposals?

2: Which is more fair?

3: What is an IFB's dollar limit? Is an RFP's limit more?

4: How many IFB best-and-final offers can an agency have?

5: How about on an RFP?

6: Is a BAFO round mandatory for an RFP?

7: How many items that are not on schedule contracts can an agency buy through a schedule purchase order?

8: On a purchase-only schedule contract, how much can an agency lease?

9: Does any order of more than $20,000 have to be listed in the Commerce Business Daily?

10: Does any order of more than $30,000 have to be listed?

11: When is it OK to issue a solicitation specifying a brand-name item as the only item that can be bid?

12: Is is proper to state in a solicitation that Brand X, Brand Y and Brand Z are all OK to bid?

13: How large can a schedule contract order be?

14: What is the current purpose of the schedule maximum order limit?

15: Can a vendor buy from a schedule contract?

16: Does an agency have to list schedule orders in CBD?

17: How about a request for quotes for a $40,000 buy?

18: How about a $200,000 buy solicited via the Federal Acquisition Network?

19: If a vendor offers a bid below its schedule contract pricing will that affect the schedule contract?

20: Spell out the acronyms in the following list, and mark those government officials whose job it is to ensure the procurement process functions well and who conceivably will step in if it doesn't: * User * Techie * PM * CO * SBUO
* HPA * CIO * GAO official * IG * Hill

21: Can an agency ignore lifecycle costs for information technology projects in a competitive procurement?

22: Can an agency demand cost data in a competitive, fixed-price proposal? How about in a sole-source procurement?

23: Can an agency force a vendor to offer the most favored price, that is, the lowest price at which the vendor sold the goods or service to a commercial buyer?

24: Do government buys take significantly longer than commercials buys of the same size?

25: Is the government buying process more fair than commercial procurement? Is it getting more fair or less fair?


1: IFB, usually.

2: IFB, usually.

3: There is no limit on either type of procurement.

4: None.

5: No limit, but an agency must have a valid reason for each.

6: No.

7: The dollar limit is $25,000.

8: The value of the lease must be less than $25,000.

9: No.

10: Yes.

11: Only when an agency has a program.

12: Yes.

13: There is no limit.

14: The maximum order is the limit of which a vendor has convinced the General Services Administration of price reasonableness and above which an agency must limit discounts.

15: Yes, see Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 51.

16: No.

17: Yes, unless it's a schedule request for delivery.

18: FACNET buys cannot exceed $100,000.

19: Yes, see FAR Part 8, Section 4.

20: Most of these officials have a buying oversight role:

* User * Techie * Program manager * Contracting officer * Small business utilization officer * Highest procurement authority * Chief information officer * General Accounting Office official * Inspector general * Congress members

21: No.

22: No. Yes, but the vendor can opt not to play.

23: No.

24: I think not; how about you?

25: Yes; but fairness is slipping.

Terry Miller is president of Government Sales Consultants Inc. of Great Falls, Va. Send him e-mail at [email protected].


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