The federal government is taking steps to bring contracting processes into a new era through the development of the Acquisition Gateway, a new website and portal developed by the General Services Administration (GSA).

The initial intent is to provide “A workspace for acquisition professionals and federal buyers to connect with resources, tools and each other to improve acquisition government-wide” as an introduction on the home page states. The website, at hallways.cap.gsa.gov, follows the current style favored by those who use their phones as a primary Internet access tool, with large graphics and photos, and little written content readily available.

However, this belies the value to both government decision-makers and contractors.

What It’s Got

The welcome video is helpful and states that the Acquisition Gateway is the online hub for acquisition professionals and their daily activities. This is a crowd-sourcing site for (and by) contracting officers, contracts specialists, program managers, project managers and end-users, and it has two iterations: one for government employees and one for everyone else.

Within the website, currently 10 “hallways” are listed to organize category-specific information and tools. These tools include data, acquisition vehicles, market intelligence, prices paid information and analysis. Also included in a library are statements of work, a tool to locate appropriate government-wide acquisition vehicles, a project center to organize the acquisition and a community feature for live interaction with other professionals.

The current 10 (reduced from the original 17) “hallways” are facilities & construction, human capital, industrial products and services, information technology, medical, office management, professional services, security and protection, transportation and logistics, and travel.

However, what is there today will be different tomorrow, as the site is under constant change, adapting to the recommendations and feedback of the community using it. User involvement includes live discussions, contributions of statements of work, objectives, performance work statements and emailed feedback.

An Evolving Site

The constantly-changing nature of this website incorporates the agile development process, which is driven by user-centric design and a constant feedback loop — resulting in a growing resource or a maddeningly ever-changing website.

As a government decision-maker, any one of the professionals involved in the contracting process may use the solutions tool to identify specific contract vehicles for the needed product or service. They can find a library of documents as they create their own contract, as well as a live chatting function to ask and answer questions.

Another tool is the “prices paid” data set, which provides a historical tracking of labor rates and product pricing. These specific tools are available only to government users with appropriate credentials.

The Contract-Awarded Labor Category (CALC) Tool is now available to the government and to vendors. The intent is to help contracting professionals conduct market research and pricing analysis on professional service labor categories. The results shown are awarded hourly rates from GSA IDIQ service schedules; CALC is available at www.calc.gsa.gov.

From the contractor perspective, vendors see both benefits and challenges in this new tool. Hurdles are created because category management is a recent buzzword that roughly translates into fewer opportunities, but much larger contracts. The CALC Tool is a quick way to check competitive labor rates, a time-saver for contractors.

Another publicly available tool is the Forecast of Contract Opportunities. This forecast is searchable by keyword, place of performance, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, projected solicitation date, contract type and acquisition strategy. As of the late December 2017, there were 3,432 forecasted opportunities listed, which is just a fraction of what is ultimately available.

For instance, a recent test for forecasted opportunities including the keyword “cyber” yielded 14 results with the places of performance located from Maryland to California, with estimated contract values ranging from $1 to more than $327 million.

Another Tool

Success of this forecast listing will depend largely on the adoption of the tool by agencies and their willingness to post them on this GSA-built website. As a point of clarification, the site is not limited to GSA-only vehicles, but allows many types of government-wide and individual contract vehicles.

One of the Acquisition Gateway tools not yet public is the Vendor Finder Tool. The purpose of this tool is to help acquisition professionals with market research and analysis in identifying possible vendors for specific needs. The raw data resources used to populate the Vendor Finder Tool are www.SAM.gov, the SBA Profile at www.dsbs.sba.gov and the Federal Procurement Data System.

The intent is to eventually provide a full range of industry searches. Contractors of all sizes would be well served to immediately improve all federal registrations with appropriate NAICS codes, keywords and phrases, as well as past performance listings, so this new tool can immediately identify the best-matched vendors with the acquisition professionals requiring their services or products.

Gloria Larkin is president and CEO of TargetGov, in Linthicum. Email glorialarkin@targetgov.com, visit www.targetgov.com or call 866-579-1346 for more information.

AWARDED CONTRACTS

The following information regarding awarded contracts can be used to develop prime contractor, subcontractor and teaming partner relationships on these and other opportunities. For more information, contact TargetGov at 410-579-1346.

• Elta North America, Annapolis Junction, won a $39,270,867 contract from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center for counter unmanned aerial system supplies. http://eltanorthamerica.com/contact

• John C. Grimberg Co., Rockville, won a $46,630,000 contract from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command for replacement of a middle school and high school at the Marine Corps base, Quantico, Va. The work to be performed provides for the demolition of the existing middle school/high school and construction of a new, two-story middle school/high school, baseball field, related field lighting and parking lot improvements. www.grimberg.com/Subcontractors

• KBR Wyle Technology Solutions, Columbia, won a $69,301,409 contract from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division for the procurement of installation, systems integration, test and evaluation, in-service engineering, logistics, repair and validation, training, lab maintenance, quality assurance and technical management services for the Multi-Mission Datalink System. ww2.wyle.com/contracts/index.html

• Leidos Innovations Corp., Gaithersburg, won a $22,626,937 contract from the Army Contracting Command for service to Intelligence and Security Command G-3 Foundry Service, in Korea. www.leidos.com/contact

• ManTech Advanced Systems International, Lexington Park, won a $35,884,175 contract from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division for engineering and technical services in support of the Combat Integrated and Identification Systems (CI&IDS) Division for Systems Engineering and Technical Services Department (AIR-4.11.2) including systems engineering, research and analysis, technology assessment, requirements analysis, risk analysis, performance analysis and design engineering, test bed design and development, system test and evaluation, interface engineering, system integration engineering, installation and checkout planning, field engineering and technical support, engineering documentation, training services and quality assurance in support of CI&IDS. www.mantech.com/Pages/suppliers.aspx

• Melwood Horticultural Training Center, Upper Marlboro, won an $8,008,672 contract from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command for custodial services, including trash removal, cleaning, vacuuming, floor cleaning and scrubbing, re-lamping, specialized cleaning of the John Paul Jones Crypt, and basketball floor installation and removal at the U.S. Naval Academy. www.melwood.org/contact-us

• Raytheon Co. Space & Airborne Systems, Aberdeen Proving Ground, won a $30,377,500 contract Air Force Life Cycle Management Center for new and upgraded APX-119 identification friend or foe transponders in support of C-130H and C-130J programs. www.raytheon.com/contact/index.html?id=corporate

• The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, won a $125 million contract from the Virginia Contracting Activity for essential engineering, research and development capabilities to the Defense Intelligence Agency. www.jhuapl.edu/aboutapl/default.asp

• The Scale People, Columbia, won a $19,395,495 contract from the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support for hospital equipment and accessories. www.scalepeople.com/index.php/contact_us_the_scale_people_maryland_virginia

• Unity Technologies Corp., Myersville, won an $8,994,990 contract from the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution for professional support services. www.unitytec.com/government-services.html