SeaPort-NxG: Major changes ahead require a revamped win strategy

Contractors interested in bidding on the new MAC must hone their win strategy nowSeaPort-e is a Multiple Award Contract (MAC) that contractors either love or hate. For most of the 3,196 award holders, the Navy’s flagship vehicle has generated little if any revenues. For the select few, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, CSRA, BAE, and General Dynamics, the $51 billon engineering professional services vehicle has been a reliable revenue generator. Less than 20% of prime contractors have received any awards (this is true for both the large and small business tracks).

Some contractors reoriented their focus to General Services Administration (GSA) One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) and/or other MACs, having had little success in cracking the code that makes Seaport-e opportunity development successful. However, the Navy determined that overlap between the two vehicles was not extensive enough to warrant elimination of Seaport. Interestingly, 23% of large businesses and 5% of small businesses that won SeaPort task orders (TOs) also hold OASIS MACs, but NAVSEA did not report on those who have NOT won any awards).

Most SeaPort-e contract holders don’t win TOs or give up bidding altogether. So, why should contractors care that the Navy plans to revamp the vehicle with the new SeaPort-NxG to be released in draft in April 2018?

The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)’s August 23 acquisition overview highlighted significant changes to the new SeaPort-NxG. Based on review of RFI comments, numerous outreach forums to both industry and government, and SeaPort metrics, NAVSEA will:

  • Restrict vehicle entry. NAVSEA plans to use defined admission criteria, perhaps in the form of self-scoring as was done on recent GSA Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCaTs), Alliant 2, and VETS II acquisitions. These criteria will include prime-only DoD past performance, and may include such factors as awarded TOs as well as percent of TOs bid. Once awarded, non-participating vendors will be off-ramped.
  • Increase TO competition. Related to restricting entry to successful vendors, the Navy wants to ensure more competition on each TO RFP. How they will do this is still unclear, but what is clear is that they want to ensure the available vendor pool participates and wins more evenly.
  • Remove zones. SeaPort-e has seven geographic zones, yet 50% of awards were in Zones 2 and 3 in Virginia and Maryland. Primes will no longer be restricted to bidding in specific zones and will be able to see all TO RFPs, and all competitions will be national.
  • Streamline ordering. To improve acquisition speed and efficiency, the government will issue a mandatory SOP for all ordering offices. As a result of zone elimination, NAVSEA will reduce the number of ordering offices from 121 to 75.
  • Reduce functional areas. Seaport-e currently has 22 functional areas, and SeaPort-NxG will only have two (Engineering Support Services and Program Management Support Services), with more than a dozen sub-areas each.
  • Create single NAICS code. The code is 541330, Engineering Services (new size standard $38.5M), which was used on 95% of all TOs, but NAVSEA may allow direct ordering authority for 8(a), HubZone, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), and Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) in accordance with Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations.

Also of note, Navy purchasing offices will still include Navy Virtual SYSCOM, but will no longer include Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP).

Contractors interested in bidding on the new MAC must hone their win strategy now, realizing that preference will be given to the current base of successful vendors. If you haven’t participated in the current SeaPort-e recently, it may make sense to bid on TOs now. Lohfeld Consulting can help you with such services as training, capture readiness review, TO RFP proposal support, and, once the draft RFP is released, proposal support. Contact Beth Wingate today to learn more.

Take a look at our related MAC-, capture-, and proposal-related training for you and your team.

by Lisa Pafe, APMP-NCA President, CPP APMP Fellow, and PMI PMP

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