Unofficial Oral Proposal Guide
Instructions to Offerors
The following things need to be considered in your instructions to vendors (also referred to as offerors) so they can prepare their proposals and deliver them successfully. Think through your overall acquisition strategy before you craft your instructions. You will need to plan carefully so you can evaluate adequately, without wasting resources on things you don’t need or spending more time than necessary to do the work. You’ll also need to relay your instructions clearly.
TIP: When building your solicitation documents, make clear what part(s) of the proposal will be evaluated during the presentations and what will be evaluated with the written submission. You may need to be specific in the solicitation itself. Whether your procurement is competitive or sole source, early engagement with industry will help to resolve any ambiguous instructions. You can use draft solicitations, industry conferences, portions of draft solicitations, one-on-one meetings, and other communications to refine your solicitation.
Page Count vs Time Limit
For written source selections, you’re probably used to dictating exactly how many pages the technical proposal and supplemental material will be. Not just the page count, but the font, font size, margins, spacing, foldouts, graphics, and even how the volumes are bound and how many copies. Get all that out of your head. For oral proposals, you want to focus not on the printed page, but on the time allotted to the presentation and any resulting clarifications or, if necessary, discussions. Take a long, hard look at exactly how long each presentation should be. Whittle it down to the bare minimum. Three 8-hour days defeat the purpose of speed. How much time is the right amount of time? As with almost all acquisition-related questions, it depends. Dollar value and complexity are usually the drivers, but most efforts under a half billion dollars can be accomplished in half a day—including clarifications and the bulk of the evaluation. You can make that more complex; for example, having the vendor present multiple sample tasks that will require more presentation time, whether for an IDIQ or source selection, or adding a real-world task or test for the vendor on the spot to be sure they can turn a proposal quickly. For studies and services that are under $5M, I’ve found that 40-60 minutes is adequate for a vendor presentation, followed by a timed government caucus of 20-30 minutes maximum, and then timed clarification questions of 20-30 minutes maximum. This assumes no discussions, only clarifications (FAR Part 15) or exchanges (FAR Part 16). I’ve personally never been fond of awarding with discussions; I like for the proposal to stand on its own, with only clarifications needed—not discussions to work through deficiencies. If you need oral discussions, your schedule will need to take those into account. You could also send written questions after the initial round of presentations has been completed. For more complex actions or efforts over $50M, an oral presentation of 90-120 minutes tends to be adequate, unless you have a sample task or some other complexity that will require more time. These are personal observations, not hard and fast rules, but usually first time government teams overestimate the amount of time needed.
INSIGHT: The purpose of the time limit on oral proposals and clarifications is to focus on what’s important. Your team won’t have time to ask all the nice-to-knows or find out every tiny detail. Parkinson’s Law says that the job will expand to fill the amount of time you have to do it, so if the vendor has only 60 minutes to deliver a presentation, they won’t have time for the public relations dog-and-pony show. Instead, they’ll be forced to cover the important details that will win the contract. If the government evaluation team has an unlimited amount of time to evaluate, then the evaluation will drag on longer than desired. Limit them to 20 minutes to come up with all their clarification questions during a caucus, so they won’t have time to ask questions that don’t make a difference in selecting a vendor. Note: the team leader will need to maintain a strong hand in the caucus, just as in the presentation, to keep the team on track.
The oral presentation must be memorialized in some fashion – court reporter, audio recording, video recording, briefing charts, cocktail napkins, even written reports (which defeat the purpose). What works best is for the vendor to provide the charts they use to deliver their briefing. They’re usually going to brief from charts anyway, so it’s an efficient solution. You may also choose to record the presentation, though it isn’t necessary. If the acquisition is high-visibility, controversial, or high-dollar, the Source Selection Authority will probably be more comfortable having a video record.
TIP: Most briefings are in PowerPoint, which is currently the standard and which most government offices have. You may require vendors to provide their charts as PowerPoint slides, or you may allow them to use some other type of commercial software; however, make sure you can host their slides on the day of the presentations. Having the vendor bring the charts to the briefing to use their own computer and software can result in an unfair advantage for the vendors who have more time to prepare their briefings, so be aware of any potential inequities.
Under the techniques in this guide, the number of charts and how they are formatted don’t matter. What matters is what the vendor presents in a certain period of time. Ideally, they will provide bullet charts that outline key points. You may also have the vendor address certain things that match the evaluation criteria, such as technical approach, understanding the problem, transition plan, or staffing—all depending on your particular requirement—or you may evaluate those areas within the framework of their approach.
INSIGHT: You can expect some amplification of the bullet charts, but you don’t want the vendor to read the charts to you. You want the bullets explained, but the presentation should be aligned to those bullets and not to a different approach. You may determine as part of your strategy that you will not accept charts that differ, and decide whether the oral briefing or the written charts will take precedence in case they diverge.
If you hear something briefed that’s not in the charts—if you plan to incorporate them by reference into the contracts—then have the contractor add a bullet to the chart that was briefed or add what you want them to live by to the Statement of Work or Performance Work Statement. The charts may be in bullet chart format but may also include video, simulations, tables, graphics, and anything visual to explain their technical approach or any requirement they must address. It’s about time, not pages.
TIP: If you are conducting a mini-source selection for pre-Milestone A activities that flow eventually into government decision-making documentation, you may want to have the vendors structure their proposals to match the format of the final deliverable that will merge into the government document. For example, a Concept Characterization and Technical Description competition could result in an oral proposal and charts that follow that outline, resulting in a contract and deliverable that follows that outline and is easy for the government to incorporate into their final product.
The vendor’s team of presenters should be the personnel they plan to have work on the contract once it’s awarded. If you agree, you should specify this in your instructions to them. Some teams have hired professional speakers or actors to deliver a carefully scripted proposal, but they quickly fail when you reach the clarification portion of the oral proposal process and they can’t answer any questions. Far better to have the less articulate person who eats, sleeps, and breathes the technology they’re briefing—and then watch the light in their eyes when they answer clarification questions about their design. Usually, their nervousness over public speaking fades away when they have a chance to talk about their passion.
TIP: This is an excellent time to apply the equity lens and ask if any special accommodations need to be made for the presenting team.
Proposal Due Dates
Oral proposals need to be delivered on a common due date, and all vendors need to be treated equitably. The best way to achieve this is to have vendors deliver their briefing charts and any written material on the due date, just as you would with a written proposal. Accompanying the written submission should be a write-protected CD, DVD, or a file/folder if uploaded to a website that contains the charts for the presentation. The oral proposals are usually briefed beginning the next week, but because the government hosts the charts at the briefing, the vendor cannot make changes to them and must use them to support the oral presentation, whether they are the first vendor presenting or the last. Presentations can be face-to-face (recommended for large or very complex requirements), by phone, video conference, or some hybrid.
TIP: If you are using FAR 15 source selection procedures and are making an initial competitive range determination, you need to decide whether to keep or remove a proposal from the competitive range, even though you haven’t heard the proposal yet. One way to do this is to create a checklist or simple evaluation sheet to review the chart deck against. This checklist may be as simple as what you see in a quick review of the charts.
- Is the proposal as represented in the charts related to the requirement, or just an opportunity for the vendor to get in front of a coveted government team?
- Does the vendor have at least a cursory understanding of the requirement, or is their solution, “Trust us! We can do whatever you need!” without providing any substance.
In most cases, all vendors will remain in the competitive range at this point. Essentially, you are satisfying a regulation that doesn’t take oral proposals into consideration.
TIP: You may even have the vendor’s local representative in the same room with the Government team while the vendor is on the phone, but don’t forget that the local rep is present if you mute the vendor to complain or discuss a sensitive question. Talk about awkward!
The vendors’ presentation team can be any size, but I recommend limiting it to the size and sensitivity of your requirement. The size of the presentation room may limit the number of attendees on both the government and vendor teams, so that only the key vendor personnel and the evaluation team can attend—no interns or government personnel wanting to see how an oral proposal is done before trying it themselves. If you choose not to limit the number of vendor personnel, consider “recommending” instead, particularly if seating is limited. The most vendor employees I’ve seen brought to a presentation was ten, but fewer than half had a speaking part. Generally, five vendor employees are sufficient for any size oral proposal, but there may be a need for additional vendor employees. For example, if the requirement is classified, the vendor may bring security personnel to understand the government’s needs better, answer questions, or verify with their government counterpart that they have the right infrastructure in place to work together. In some cases, vendors want to know if the government will have legal counsel present, and if so, they will bring their lawyer(s) as well. Some vendors will bring their contracting personnel; some won’t, even when there are enough seats at the table. Occasionally, if the work is classified, a vendor will bring senior personnel on the project’s periphery so they can get first-hand knowledge of the acquisition that they couldn’t be briefed on elsewhere. This is why oral proposals are an especially excellent delivery method for classified solutions. If non-government advisors or evaluators are present, they will probably need non-disclosure agreements, and you will need to tell vendors they will have access to their proposals. This may or may not be a problem, but it isn’t specific to oral proposals. If you choose not to limit the number of vendor personnel, consider “recommending” a limit instead, particularly if seating or space is limited.
Solicitation Language Insertion – Instructions to Vendors
Actual examples of solicitation language are included below. You might include similar language in your instructions to vendors or in your Section L, Instructions to Offerors. Use these for a general idea or a jumping off point—not a copy/paste.
From a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), using a 2-step method of white papers/concept papers, then invitation to submit an oral proposal. This is the BAA in its entirety, for context, with the pertinent areas bolded. White papers/concept papers selected for Step 2 were invited via email letters informing the vendors that a period of between 40 and 60 minutes would be the time span allowed for oral presentations, as well as any other information specific to the selection.
PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION:
Proposals may be submitted at any time during the period the BAA is open, which is anticipated to be one year, at the conclusion of which the BAA may be renewed or superseded. However, prior to submitting a proposal, Offerors are required to submit a one-page PDF of a concept paper on their proposed research topic. Review of concept papers submitted and decisions to proceed with proposals will be limited to key representatives of the different technical organizations, such as tech directors, program managers, (Program) program manager, etc. Submit concept papers via Email to the following Contracting Officers: Mr. _______ (email address) with a CC to Ms. ____________ (email address). The purpose of the concept paper is to preclude unwarranted effort on the part of an Offeror whose proposed work is not of interest under this BAA. Those Offerors submitting concept papers that are determined through Government peer review to be of interest but requires more information will be discussed further by the Government and the Offeror. Such discussion, however, does not assure a formal proposal invitation and that a contract will be awarded. Note that there is no inherent funding associated with this BAA. Proposals submitted may be evaluated as they are received or held for consolidated evaluation. There will be no further correspondence between the Government and Offeror if the concept paper is not selected for award. Any concept papers received under this BAA will be kept in a digital repository for the life of the BAA. Secure access shall be provided to specific representatives of the related program offices for maximum consideration of proposed research. Any concept papers not selected during the open submission period will not be automatically rolled over to any subsequent BAAs. This policy allows for the freshest concepts to be under consideration. Offerors may submit multiple concept papers. Offerors submitting concept papers should reference the solicitation number, the technology area (i.e., X, Z, etc), and the capability need being addressed in the header of the concept paper, if applicable. The concept paper’s footer should include the company name, contact name, and email address. The remainder of the concept paper should describe the Offeror’s concept and should provide a period of performance and an estimated cost for the effort. Industry is encouraged to respond with information not constrained by proprietary data rights. However, if proprietary data is included in the reply, please mark it appropriately. Concept papers submitted via email must be unclassified. If classified material is anticipated, contact one of the Contracting Officers mentioned herein for special mailing arrangements. In the event the concept paper is selected for a formal proposal, the contractor will deliver an oral technical proposal. This may be accomplished by phone, video conference, or face-to-face. The Offeror will present the proposal orally, with briefing charts provided as written evidence of the proposal. The charts, with minor alterations, may be incorporated into the contract as the Statement of Work (SOW), or the contractor may provide a separate SOW to accompany the oral proposal. Any written documentation must be compatible with Microsoft Word 2003 format or higher. The number of charts or font size is not limited but the presentation of the charts is limited to one hour with possible clarification questions by the Government following the Offeror’s uninterrupted presentation. The oral presentation of the technical proposal should contain the following, with briefing charts summarizing key points:
- A reasonably complete discussion stating the background and objectives of the proposed work, the approaches to be considered, and the resources to be employed. Include the nature and extent of the anticipated results, and if known, the manner in which the work will contribute to the accomplishment of the agency’s mission.
- The names and brief biographical information of the Offeror’s key personnel that will be involved in the research.
- If Government support (e.g. facilities, equipment, materials) is requested by the Offeror, list the type.
- The names of federal, state, local agencies or other parties receiving the proposals and/or funding the proposed effort of a similar nature. If none, please state this.
- Identification of facilities, specialized equipment, or other real property to be used for the work, if appropriate for an understanding of the technical work to be conducted.
The Government reserves the right to request the technical proposal be delivered in writing instead of presented orally, such as when the proposal may contain classified information. When applicable, a proposal adequacy checklist will be provided as a guide for the development of the proposal. In the event an A&AS contractor is needed to attend the briefing with Government personnel in order to offer subject matter expertise to evaluators, the Offeror will be notified in advance and any non-disclosure agreement issues will be cleared before the presentation takes place. It is the Government’s intent to award Firm Fixed Price contracts. The cost portion of the proposal must be in writing and should contain the following:
- Proposal Pricing Cover Sheet for total proposal.
- Summary by cost element and profit for each contract line, sub-line item, and for the total proposal.
- Labor summary for total proposal by categories, rates, and hours. Include an explanation of how labor rates are computed, including base rates and escalation. Show the level of effort, if applicable.
- Identification of indirect rates by fiscal year and explanation of how established and base to which they apply.
- Bill of materials detailing items by type, quantity, and unit price, total amount, and source of estimate. Provide vendor quotes.
- Summary of all travels by destination, purpose, number of people, days, air fare, per diem, car rental, etc.
- Consultants by name, rate, and number of days or hours. Furnish copy of consulting agreement, and identify prior agreements under which the consultant received the proposed rate.
- Other direct costs by type, amount, cost per unit and purpose. Specifically identify any costs for printing and publication and computers.
- Subcontractor’s proposal with prime Offeror’s price/cost analysis of subcontractor’s proposal. If subcontractor was not competed, include justification.
- Forecast of monthly dollar commitments for the proposed contract period.
- Type of contract, or assistance instrument proposed.
- State whether the Offeror is a large business, small business, small disadvantaged business (SDB), woman-owned small business, HUBZONE small business, veteran-owned business, service disabled veteran-owned small business, university, or consortia (NAICS Code 541712). Under the provisions of FAR 19.12, all SDB participation will be evaluated accordingly.
- Identify and provide any evidence of approved accounting system. Provide Representations and Certifications through the System for Award Management (SAM) found at http://sam.gov. Provide CAGE and DUNS codes and the full mailing address of the organization proposed for the effort. Add any additional terms and conditions, if applicable.
The cost of preparing concept papers/subsequent proposals in response to this announcement is not considered an allowable direct charge to any resulting contract, or any other contract, but may be an allowable expense to the normal bid and proposal indirect cost specified in FAR 31.205-18. Companies responding to this announcement are cautioned that only a Contracting Officer may obligate the Government to any agreement involving expenditure of Government funds.
CONCEPT PAPER/PROPOSAL EVALUATION
A. At the invitation of the Government Contracting Officer, concept papers/proposals submitted in response to this BAA will be evaluated as received using the factors given below. The factors are listed in descending order of importance. No further evaluation criteria will be used in selecting the concept papers/proposals unless specifically stated in a BAA amendment.
- An integrated assessment of the proposed approach to include technical merits and associated risks, and the potential contributions of the effort to meet and fulfill program requirements. Potential value to the Government (technical promise) will be assessed, based on innovation, originality, feasibility, and desirability from the Warfighter’s perspective.
- The Offeror’s capabilities, related experience (include past and present performance — lack of experience will not be evaluated negatively), facilities, techniques, or unique combinations of these that are integral factors for achieving the concept paper/proposal objectives.
- The qualifications, capabilities, and experience of the proposed principal investigator, team leader, and other key personnel who are critical to achieving the concept paper/proposal objectives.
- The reasonableness of proposed price and profit and the availability of funds.
B. Upon receipt of a concept paper/proposal, technical staff will perform an initial review of its technical merit and potential contribution to the Air Force mission, and determine if funds are expected to be available for the effort. Concept papers/proposals not considered having sufficient technical merit or relevance to Air Force needs, or those in areas for which funds are not expected to be available, may be declined without further C. It is the policy of the (buying office) to treat all concept papers/proposals as privileged information, and to disclose the contents only for the purposes of evaluation. Concept papers/proposals not declined as a result of initial review will be subject to an extensive evaluation by highly qualified Government scientific and engineering professionals. The Offeror must indicate on the appropriate form/page any limitation to be placed on disclosure of information contained in the concept paper/proposal. Should portions of the concept paper/proposal be incorporated into a resulting contract, that portion may be subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act unless exempt from release. D. Each concept paper/proposal will be evaluated based on the technical merit and relevance of the specific research proposed as it relates to the overall mission. Papers/proposals for research in the same general area shall not be evaluated against others, unless specifically addressed in a BAA Amendment.
Our goal is to award up to ___% of these contracts to small businesses, over the life of the BAA. For the purpose of this BAA the size standard is 1000 employees (NAICS 541712). In the event sufficient acceptable proposals are not received to fulfill these goals, awards will be made to those proposals received, which are acceptable regardless of business size/category. This BAA may also be utilized for requirements that result in contracts that are awarded with End-of-Fiscal-Year funding. As such, quick contractor response and turnaround should be anticipated. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION All potential applicants are eligible. Foreign or foreign-owned Offerors are advised that their participation is subject to foreign disclosure review procedures. Foreign or foreign-owned Offerors should immediately contact the contracting office POCs for information if they contemplate responding. The subject line of all correspondence must reference the BAA number and title. Ombudsman: In accordance with AFFARS 5352.201- 9101, an Ombudsman has been appointed to hear and facilitate the resolution of concerns from Offerors, potential Offerors, and others for this acquisition announcement. Before consulting with an Ombudsman, interested parties must first address their concerns, issues, disagreement, and/or recommendations to the Contracting Officer listed above for resolution. The Ombudsman does not diminish the authority of the program director or Contracting Officer, but communicates contractor concerns, issues, disagreements, and recommendations to appropriate Government personnel. When required, the Ombudsman shall maintain strict confidentiality as to the source of the concern. The Ombudsman does not participate in the evaluation of proposals or in the source selection process. Matters of a routine or administrative nature concerning this acquisition should not be addressed to the Ombudsman, but rather to the Contracting Officer listed above. For any other concerns, interested parties may call the ____ Ombudsman___________ at (xxx) xxx-xxxx or submit the concern(s) in writing to ______________________.
This excerpt (altered from actual solicitations) represents Instructions to Offerors under a decentralized FAR Part 16.5 source selection using 2 sample tasks representative of work to be accomplished, with one task scenario presented with the solicitation and the other during oral presentation to gauge the ability to respond quickly. Areas specific to oral proposals are bolded; the non-bolded portion is for context. Under other IDIQ’s where the awards are centralized or used solely by one set of customers, the delivery/task order source selection process may be considerably streamlined. This example is provided because it was considerably more complex, and it’s easier to go from complex to simple.
Volume Section Title Page Limit/Time Allocated
Volume 1: Technical Proposal Volume
Factor 1 – Sample Task 1
No slide Limit, however, all slides must be presented in the time period allotted
Factor 2 – Sample Task 2
Presentation (Provided day of Oral Presentation)
No slide Limit, however, all slides must be presented in the time period allotted period allotted
Factor 3 –
Volume 3 – Cost Proposal – No Page Limit
Volume 4 – Business Proposal – No Page Limit
Signed Solicitation Cover Sheet
Completed and signed Section K, Reps and Certs
All volumes containing text shall have pages be single-spaced, on an 8 ½ x 11 sheet with a minimum one-inch margin all around. Font shall be no less than Times New Roman 10-point. Text within tables, diagrams, pictorial charts, or graphic material may use no smaller than 10- point font. 11 x 17 inch foldout pages are allowed for tables, diagrams, pictorial charts or other graphic material and will be counted as two pages. Every figure and table shall be numbered and included in a list of tables in the Table of Contents. Pages shall be numbered consecutively within each volume. The page limits prescribed are maximum page limits for each volume. When both sides of a sheet display printed material, it shall be counted as two (2) pages. Cover pages, tables of contents, cross-reference matrix, tabs, and glossaries shall not be counted against prescribed page limits. Pages submitted in excess of these limits will not be read or considered in the Government’s evaluation of the proposal. Each volume shall be submitted as a separately-labeled electronic file.
For Volume 1, Oral Presentation slides shall have slide numbers and include a presentation cover sheet inclusive of proprietary data markings, presentation team (including a listing of names, positions, and company affiliations for each presenter), and presentation agenda. Slides not presented within the time limit allotted during the Oral Presentation will not be evaluated. The slides submitted for Oral Presentations do not have font or margin restrictions; however, they must be legible to the evaluators when presented. Embedded links and/or documents shall not be included in the slides and all speaker notes shall be removed from oral presentation slides, as they will not be considered part of the proposal submission.
All text within Volumes shall be in or compatible with Microsoft Word 2010 or Adobe Acrobat. All slides in Volume 1 shall be in or compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint 2010. All spreadsheets in Volume 2 shall be capable of being manipulated in Microsoft Excel 2010 format, and shall be submitted with all formulas intact. Offerors shall submit all signature pages as scanned documents. Signatures must comply with the term “signature” as defined in FAR Subpart 2.101 and clearly express the Offeror’s present intention to bind the Offeror to perform in accordance with the solicitation. Typed text or initials do not constitute a signature. Proposals with such markings will be considered as lacking a required signature.
The Offeror shall present proposal information in a manner that facilitates a one-for-one comparison between the Offeror’s proposal and each Evaluation element with its section. Each section in the Volume shall be separated.
Each Volume shall be written on a stand-alone basis so that its contents may be evaluated without any cross-referencing to other Volumes of the proposal. Information required for proposal evaluation that is not found in its designated Volume will be assumed to have been omitted from the proposal.
Offerors must ensure that pricing information is only included in Volume 2. Do NOT include any Pricing information in any other Volume of the proposal. All unit and extended prices provided shall be rounded to the nearest dollar. Extended prices must be divisible by the number of units.
Volume 1: Technical Proposal Volume (Oral Presentation) The Technical Proposal Volume must be delivered as an oral presentation, supplemented by prepared PowerPoint slides that will serve as written evidence of the proposal. Proposed key personnel are the only personnel allowed to present the Offeror’s oral presentation.
The Oral Presentations described in Sections xxxxxxxxxx will be video recorded including audio and shall follow the process outlined in Attachment X, Oral Presentation Process. The Oral Proposal Presentations included within the Technical Proposal Volume should be specific and complete. Legibility, clarity, and coherence are very important. The Offeror’s responses will be evaluated against the Technical Factors described in the Basis for Award section. Provide as specifically as possible the actual methodology you would use for accomplishing/satisfying the factors. Address your technical solution for meeting or exceeding the Government’s minimum performance or capability requirements of each factor. All the requirements specified in the solicitation are mandatory. The Offeror’s proposal shall adhere to all requirements specified in the solicitation. Do not merely reiterate the objectives or reformulate the requirements specified in the solicitation.
Factor 1 – Sample Task 1
The Offeror shall submit an electronic file of the Oral Presentation slides for Factor 1 with its proposal by the due date/time for proposals listed in the solicitation. The Government will not accept for evaluation of this factor any documentation from the Offeror other than this Oral Presentation file. Slides which are not addressed in the oral presentation will be removed from the Offeror’s proposal and will not be evaluated.
Scenario: (Described here as well as what the vendor should address such as)
– Describe the methodology to
– Describe XXXX methodologies
– Describe interfaces with….
– Describe Management Approach
– Describe the risks associated with ….
Factor 2 – Sample Task 2 (Provided day of Oral Presentation) The Offeror shall NOT submit an electronic file(s) for Factor 2 with its proposal by the due date/time for proposal listed in this solicitation. A challenging problem, or scenario, will be provided to the Offeror on the day of the presentation, which will be related to ______(technical problem representative of requirement). The Government will provide the materials for response to the Offeror. There will be one (1) scenario and the Offeror will have one hour to develop the response and present this to the Technical Evaluation Team. The Offeror’s working session will be recorded as part of the presentation. The Government will not accept for evaluation of this factor any written documentation from the Offeror other than flipcharts, defined as easel pads, created during the Oral Presentation activities including Offeror Prep Time and Oral Presentation Response for Factor 2, Sample Task 2. Flipcharts not addressed by the Offeror during the Oral Presentation Response for the sample problem/scenario will not be evaluated.
Volume 2: Cost……
Volume 3: Business Proposal Section…….
This procurement includes Oral Presentations as a portion of the proposal submission requirement. There are Government Exchanges that are scheduled as part of the Oral Presentation activities. During these periods, the Government may seek clarifying information during each phase of the Oral Presentation as noted in Attachment X. All such conversations between the Offeror and the Government shall be solely for clarifying purposes, and Offerors will not be permitted to change or revise their presentations during these clarification periods. Oral Presentations and the conversations during the Government Exchanges shall not constitute discussions nor will discussions be used under this FAR 16.505 procurement as outlined above. The Government will not inform Offerors regarding any positives or negatives identified at any time during or at the conclusion of Oral Presentations. Furthermore, as outlined in paragraph X above, all Offerors may not be invited to provide an Oral Presentation. If the Government informs an Offeror, out of courtesy, that it is not going to be scheduled to provide an Oral Presentation, this courtesy is not a pre-award notice of exclusion from a competitive range since a competitive range determination will not be made.
This excerpt is from Section L of a large FAR Part 15 source selection. Some sections are overkill because the reviewers were traditionalists who wanted more meat in the paragraphs, but if your reviewers are also traditionalists, you might find the extra meat useful.
INSTRUCTIONS, CONDITIONS, AND NOTICE TO OFFERORS
L-1.0 SUBMISSIONS OF PROPOSALS
a. Offeror’s shall submit proposals no later than 3:00 PM CST on _____ and shall be addressed to the Contracting Officer (CO), in accordance with Table 2.2, and mailed or hand carried to:
b. Be sure to advise the Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) and the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) for prime and subcontractors that the proposal is “For Official Use Only” and “Source Selection Information – See FAR 2.101 and FAR 104”.
L-2.0 GENERAL INFORMATION
a. Respondents must officially request the Statement of Work (SOW) in writing, via email to the Contracting Officer. Offerors must include a valid and current DD 2345 “Military Critical Technology Data Agreement.” To validate the documentation release, the request must include; the company name, mailing address, email address, point of contact, phone number, current CAGE number and System for Award Management (SAM) registration. The written request must include acknowledgement of the Responder’s responsibility under the U.S. export contract laws and regulations. Upon verification of status and acknowledgement of responsibilities under U.S. export control laws and regulations, the requested technical data will be provided. Alternate proposals will not be accepted or evaluated.
b. The Offeror’s proposal shall include all data and information requested by this Request for Proposal (RFP) and shall be submitted in accordance with these instructions. The offer shall be compliant with the requirements as stated in the SOW, Contract Data Requirements List (CDRL), and Model Contract (tailor as appropriate). Non-conformance with the instructions provided in this RFP may result in the proposal being ineligible for award.
c. The proposal shall be clear, concise, and shall include sufficient detail for effective evaluation and for substantiating the validity of stated claims. The proposal shall not simply rephrase or restate the Government’s requirements but rather shall provide convincing rationale to address how the Offeror intends to meet these requirements. Offerors shall assume that the Government has no prior knowledge of their facilities and experience and shall base its evaluation on the information presented in the Offeror’s proposal.
d. Elaborate brochures or documentation, binding, detailed art work, or other embellishments are unnecessary and are not desired. Similarly, for oral presentations, elaborate productions are unnecessary and not desired.
e. The proposal acceptance period is specified in Section A of the model contract/solicitation. The Offeror shall make a clear statement in Section A of the proposal documentation volume that the proposal is valid through this date.
f. In accordance with FAR Subpart 4.8 (Government Contract Files), the Government will retain one copy of all proposals.
g. Government Point of Contact: The CO is the sole point of contact for this acquisition. Address any questions or concerns you may have to the CO. Written requests for clarification shall be sent to the CO at the address located in Section A of the model contract/solicitation.
h. Offeror’s Point of Contact: The Offeror shall notify the CO in writing of the name, phone, email, and FAX number of the individual to whom the Government shall give notice with the submission of the Offeror’s proposal.
i. Security: The majority of Delivery Order (DO) requirements on this contract will be at a minimum at the SECRET level. Security requirements shall be addressed at the DO level. However, not having a security clearance will not exclude Offerors from award on the basic.
j. The Government intends to award approximately # contracts under this solicitation. …..
L- 2.1 PROPOSAL ORGANIZATION
a. The Offeror shall prepare the proposal as set forth in the Proposal Organization Table (Table 2.2 below). The titles and contents of the volumes shall be as defined in this table, all of which shall be within the required page limits and with the number of copies as specified in Table 2.2. The volumes identified in the table shall be separately bound in three-ring, loose-leaf binders, as necessary. The contents of each proposal volume are described in the Instructions to Offerors (ITO) paragraph as noted in the table below:
|Table 2.2 – Proposal Organization|
|VOLUME||VOLUME TITLE||Medium||COPIES** Paper/ Electronic|
|Volume I||Factor I: Technical|
|Section I||Subfactor A: Program Management/Technical Requirements||Oral*||1/2|
|Section II||Subfactor B: Experience||Oral*||1/2|
|Section III||Subfactor C: Small Business Subcontracting Plan||Written||1/2|
|Volume II||Factor II: Cost/Price||Written||1/2|
* No presentation shall exceed 90 minutes.
** Any and all information contained in the slides not orally presented will not be considered as part of the Offeror’s oral presentation evaluation.
b. If Evaluation Notices (ENs) are required, page limits shall be placed on any responses. The specific page limits for responses to ENs shall be identified in the letter forwarding ENs to the Offeror. Excess pages submitted in response to these shall be removed and disposed of by the CO. Other deviations from the instructions shall be reviewed by the CO to ensure that no contractor receives a competitive advantage. Deviations resulting in a competitive advantage for an Offeror shall result in the proposal being determined to be noncompliant with the RFP requirements.
c. To the greatest extent possible, each written volume shall be on a stand-alone basis so that its contents may be evaluated with a minimum of cross referencing to other volumes of the proposal. Information required for proposal evaluation which is not found in its designated volume shall be assumed to have been omitted from the proposal.
d. Cross-referencing within a proposal volume is permitted where its use would conserve space without impairing
e. Each written volume shall contain a more detailed table of contents to delineate the subparagraphs within that volume. Tab indexing shall be used to identify
L- 2.2 PAGE SIZE/PRESENTATION SLIDE FORMAT
a. A page is defined as a face of a sheet of paper containing information. When both sides of a sheet display printed material, it shall be counted as two pages. Page size shall be 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Font shall be Times New Roman. Font size for text shall be 12 point with proportional spacing permitted, with the exception that Volume II – Cost/Price Proposal shall have a minimum font size of 10. Line spacing shall be set at 5.
b. Margins on all four (4) edges of each page shall be at least 1 inch. In header on upper right of all pages, include: RFP number, part and/or subdirectory title and page number. Company name and proprietary information notices shall be placed in top and/or bottom margins. Pages in each volume shall be numbered sequentially and consecutively. The cover page, table of contents, list(s) of tables and drawings, blank pages, and cross-reference matrix are excluded from the page
c. Briefing format instructions in subparagraphs a and b above do not apply to oral presentation slides in Volume Slides shall be legible and details concerning slide format are left up to the Offeror.
d. Each volume shall contain a glossary of all abbreviations and acronyms used, and with an explanation for each. Glossaries do not count against the page limitations for their respective volumes.
e. The printed Cost Volume (Volume II) shall be bound in a three-ring, loose leaf binder permitting the volume to lie flat when open. Staples shall not be used. A cover sheet shall be used to clearly mark the volume number, title, solicitation identification, and the Offeror’s name. The same identifying data shall be placed on the spine of each binder. Be sure to apply all appropriate markings including those prescribed in accordance with FAR 52.215-1(e), Restriction on disclosure and use of data, and FAR 3.104-4, Disclosure, Protection, and Marking of Contractor Bid or Proposal Information and Source Selection
f. Electronic proposal materials: Do not submit on flash drive media; all content shall be READ ONLY. The Offeror shall submit Volumes I, II and III on three separate labeled virus-free CD-ROMs. Identify the following data on both the disc and the disc jacket cover: RFP # ____ , Government Address, disclosure statement, and company name. Do not compress the files. AFLCMC uses Microsoft Office 2010 for all data access.
The CO will promptly notify Offerors of any decision to exclude them from the competitive range; whereupon, they may request and receive a debriefing in accordance with FAR 15.505. Offerors excluded from the competitive range may request a pre-award debriefing or they may choose to wait until after the source selection decision to request a post-award debriefing. However, Offerors excluded from the competitive range are entitled to no more than one debriefing for each proposal. The CO will notify unsuccessful Offerors in the competitive range of the source selection decision in accordance with FAR 15.506. Upon such notification, unsuccessful Offerors may request and receive a debriefing. Offerors desiring a debriefing shall make their request in accordance with the requirements of FAR 15.505 or 15.506, as applicable.
L- 4.0 ORAL PRESENTATIONS (FAR 15.102)
a. Each Offeror is requested to notify the Government via email (email addresses here) of their desire to provide an oral presentation two weeks after the release of the request for proposal. No oral presentation may exceed 90 minutes. One paper copy and two electronic copies (via CD-ROM) of all materials shall be submitted on the due date identified in block 9 of the RFP as amended. Briefing charts are to provide structure to the oral presentation. It is recommended that Offerors structure their oral presentations to follow the order of items in Attachment M-1 (evaluation criteria). The oral presentation shall be the basis for evaluation of Factor I. Any and all information contained in the slides not orally presented will not be considered as part of the Offeror’s oral presentation evaluation.
b. Offerors may not present any classified information either in their proposals or during oral presentations.
c. The location of the face-to-face oral presentations shall be in the (military installation) area. Presentations shall tentatively begin within one (1) week after the proposal due date. The Offeror shall notify the CO in writing of the name, phone, email, and FAX number of the individual to whom the Government shall give notice with the submission of the Offeror’s proposal.
d. The order of oral presentations shall be randomly generated. The Contracting Officer will notify Offerors within one (1) week prior to the proposal close date by phone, email, or FAX of the Offeror’s date, location and time of presentation. Offeror’s shall provide the Government with a primary and alternate point of contact to which the Contracting Officer should contact for scheduling purposes.
e. All oral presentations will be video/audio recorded.
Note: The Government reserves the right to ask clarification questions after the 90 minute presentation following a short break for consultation. The Q&A session will be considered in the Offeror’s oral presentation evaluation. Q&A does not constitute formal discussions. Any and all information contained in the slides not orally presented will not be considered as part of the Offeror’s oral presentation evaluation.
L- 5.0 COST OR PRICING RELATED DATA
All cost or pricing data shall be addressed ONLY in the Cost/Price Proposal and Contract Documentation Volumes. Cost/Price Proposal and Contract documentation will NOT be included in the oral presentations.
L- 6.0 VOLUME I – TECHNICAL: SUBFACTORS A, B, AND C
a. Subfactor A and B slide deck shall be provided in accordance with Table 2.2.
b. Subfactor A and B shall be presented via oral presentations.
c. Subfactor C shall be submitted in writing on the specified submittal date within the RFP.
L-6.1 SUBFACTOR A: PROGRAM MANAGEMENT/TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS
L- 6.2 SUBFACTOR B: EXPERIENCE
The Offeror shall provide recent/relevant experience in performing Program Management, and each of the Technical Requirements under paragraph M-3.1. Experience shall meet a recency period of within the past five years from the proposal due date. Each experience example shall relate to an entity (e.g. prime, subcontractor, etc.) that the contractor proposes to perform the particular type of effort under this contract. This information shall be reflected in the oral presentation.
L-6.3 SUBFACTOR C: SMALL BUSINESS SUBCONTRACTING PLAN
L-7.0 VOLUME II – COST/PRICE
a. Offerors shall complete <<snip>>
b. Cost/Price data shall not be presented in the oral presentations.
c. Although this <<snip>>
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