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Is price reasonableness really unreasonable?

Washington Technology Article

Bob Lohfeld

By Bob Lohfeld

With so many IT and professional services contracts being awarded to the lowest priced offeror, you have to wonder if the government is worried about awarding contracts to firms whose prices are unreasonably low.

As it turns out, in many procurements the government does not look for unreasonably low prices, and in some instances, is prohibited from doing so. In these procurements, low price has no floor.

The rules for examining price reasonableness and cost realism are complex and generally not well understood by capture and proposal professionals, so I thought I would point out some of the more interesting aspects of these rules about how low you can go.

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This article was originally published December 15, 2014 in

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Let’s stop bashing LPTA and find an alternative

Bob Lohfeld

By Bob Lohfeld

One of the things I dislike most about lowest priced, technically acceptable (LPTA) procurements is that they are so misaligned with the values we have grown up with as government contractors.

No matter how hard I try, I just cannot get excited about writing a proposal where the objective is to provide the minimally acceptable technical solution—a solution that just squeaks by the technical evaluators—instead of one that dazzles them by striving for outstanding performance and showcases good ideas and innovations. I was brought up in an industry that prided itself on striving to be the best, and not one that sought to deliver minimally acceptable work to the government.

I’m not alone in this belief. In the 2014 Washington Technology Insider Report on LPTA procurements, 89% of industry and government responded…

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Can you improve your proposal operations (and your win rate)?

Despite poor results, we often continue to do things the same way. This pattern may apply to your proposal shop as well. Perhaps your win rate is stagnant or declining, your team is burned out, your technology doesn’t work, and/or proposal quality is at an all-time low. But how to improve?

To provide a roadmap for improvement, Lohfeld Consulting Group now offers an independent Proposal Improvement Assessment. This review is an objective analysis of proposal operations (people, processes, and technology) versus best practices as well as proposal quality versus our 7 quality measures proven to increase win rates. Based on the analysis, we provide detailed, actionable recommendations that will dramatically improve results.

I have conducted a half dozen of these reviews, and my observation…

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Should we have procurement reform or just improvement?

Bob LohfeldBy Bob Lohfeld

It seems like everyone has been jumping on the procurement reform bandwagon this year and has been saying that the government’s procurement system is broken. While reforming government procurement is a lofty goal and resonates well in the halls of Congress, the practicality is that it is more of a pre-election battle cry than a reality.

One organization, the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), has taken a different approach, stating that the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)—the rules that control government procurement—are fine and do not need to be overhauled. What is broken is the way the FAR is applied and interpreted in many government procurements.

According to APMP in their just-released survey report, Closing the Procurement Execution Gap, most government and industry professionals strongly agree about what improvements need to be made and…

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