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 that they were opposed to the use of LPTA for services procurements.
Additionally, this view is shared by Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in his directive called Better Buying Power 2.0, which says that LPTA bids are inappropriate for procurements when the government would receive any value from proposals offering to exceed the minimum technical or performance requirements and specifically calls out professional services bids as generally falling into this category.
With such overwhelming opposition to the use of LPTA procurements, you have to wonder why they continue to show up in services bids.
If we are going to move away from LPTA bids, then we must offer an alternative that helps the government achieve lower acquisition costs, while not sacrificing performance in the process. We need a bid structure that lets industry strive for excellence, but also share in the government’s objective to drive down the cost of service delivery.
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This article was originally published July 28, 2014 in WashingtonTechnology.com.