Tips for Creating a Winning SEWP VI Proposal

Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) is a lucrative contract vehicle with $62.8B in sales to date, according to the SEWP VI Industry Day on October 23, 2023. SEWP contract revenues have consistently grown since its inception in 1993, and SEWP VI promises to be even more lucrative, given its expanded scope and capabilities.

Winning a contract under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) SEWP VI program can be a game-changer for your business. However, creating a high-scoring proposal requires meticulous attention to detail and a clear understanding of NASA’s requirements. This blog provides tips for jump-starting and crafting a high-scoring proposal. Lohfeld Consulting will continue to update the blog as NASA releases changes.

SEWP VI Proposal Down-Select Process and Overview

The preparation of SEWP VI proposals will proceed in three phases, as depicted in Table 1. After each of the three evaluation phases is completed, the Government will make a firm down-select decision, notify each Offeror if they are no longer eligible for the award, and provide a brief rationale statement. Important dates in the SEWP VI timeline include:

  • June 7, 2024, 4:59 p.m. ET: If you have questions about the request for proposal (RFP), please submit questions in writing to Andrea Ross, Contracting Officer, using the SEWP VI RFP Application (https://www.sewp.nasa.gov/sewpvi/) on or before this date.
  • June 4, 2024, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET: NASA plans to hold a Virtual 2nd Industry Day. Interested parties can register on the SEWP VI procurement site through this link: SEWP VI Informational WebEx
  • July 11, 2024, 12:00 p.m. ET: Proposals are due.

Table 1: SEWP VI Proposal Overview and Down-Select Phases

VolumePhaseVolume Name and RequirementPage Limits
IIOffer Volume 
  SF 1449 Blocks 12 and Offeror fill-ins in the causes, provisions, and attachments support the Teaming Agreement, Subcontracting Plan, Ability One Commitment Letter, and Meaningful Relationship Commitment LetterExcluded
  ISO 9001 and CMMI CertificationsExcluded
  Mandatory Experience ExhibitExcluded
  Mandatory Experience Letter of AuthorizationThree pages
  Offeror NAICS Size Standard CrosswalkExcluded
IIIIPast Performance Volume  
  Information from the OfferorTwo pages
  Cover Page, Indices, Customer Evaluations, and Termination/Descope InformationExcluded
IIIIIIMission Suitability Volume 
 III-ATechnical Approach Volume 
  Cover Page and IndicesExcluded
  Category A – IT Solutions15 Pages
  Category B – IT Enterprise-Wide Solutions15 Pages
  Category C – IT Solutions15 Pages
 III-BManagement Approach Volume15 Pages
  Cover Page, Indices, Exhibit 5 (Proposal C-SCRM Attestation Form)Excluded

Create a compliant proposal template with the annotated instructions in Table 2 to jumpstart your proposal preparation.

Table 2: Prepare a Compliant SEWP VI Proposal Template

No.RequirementTip
1All information found in the proposal must be precise, factual, detailed, and complete.Arrange for multiple independent reviews to verify the authenticity and integrity of your proposal before the submission date.
2Page size: 8.5″ x 11″ Margin: 1 inch, all sidesFont: Times New Roman, 12-pointSpacing: 1 vertical line between linesCharacter spacing: normalNo proposal content in headers or footersFoldout pages: count as 8.5″ x 11″ pagesExcel fonts: Times New Roman, 9-12-pointDiagrams, tables, artwork, and photographs may be reduced and, if necessary, landscape to eliminate oversized pages. Text in diagrams, schedules, charts, tables, artwork, and photographs shall be no smaller than 10-point type in Times New Roman font.Diagrams, tables, artwork, and photographs shall not be used to circumvent the text size limitations.Double- and triple-check your proposal template to verify it meets all the criteria listed in the RFP.
3Proposal sections that do not have an associated page limit shall be strictly limited to the information described in that section. Proposal sections with page limits must be strictly adhered to.As part of the independent review, verify that all proposal sections are within the page limit and relevant to the RFP requirements.
4Present your best technical terms in your initial proposal because the Government can award without discussions.Prepare a strong proposal full of strengths submitted by factual evidence.
5Provide verifiable evidence supporting any redacted documentation in the proposal. Mark pages containing sensitive or proprietary information with an appropriate legend in the header or footer. Do not submit classified information without redaction, sanitation, and Government official authorization.As part of the proposal template and review instructions, verify that all requirements relating to redacted, proprietary, or classified information are adhered to.
6Any proposal containing duplicate or replicated information from another proposal will be ineligible for award unless the RFP instructions expressly allow it.As part of the independent review, verify no duplication is present.

A unique requirement in Volume I requests Offerors “identify any consultants, generative artificial intelligence (AI), and/or subcontractors used in writing this proposal (if any) and the extent to which their services will be available in the subsequent performance of this effort.” This requirement might help evaluators understand the continuity and reliability of the team that produced the proposal, the tools they used, and how they might be pivotal in executing the contract in the future. Therefore, Offerors should identify and describe the roles of consultants and subcontractors used, list any AI tools used, and explain if the consultants, subcontractors, and/or tools will be available for use after the contract award.

Early in the proposal process, prepare a proposal submission checklist you can review with your company’s contracts manager as depicted in Table 3 to verify a compliant submission.

Table 3: Submission Checklist for Internal Review

No.Instruction ChecklistDone
1Number and identify Volumes I-III with the Offeror’s name, RFP number, and date.P
2Provide a table of contents with figures and tables listed separately.P
3Put Volumes I-III in separate folders in one zip file, virus-free, and no larger than 120MB per file. Do not password-protect the files.P
4Label the zip files as follows: OfferorName_80TECH23R0001_Category Submission. If you are submitting more than one scope category, label the zip file with each intended Category letter at the end of the label (e.g., GetItDone_80TECH23R0001_CategoryA GetItDone_80TECH23R0001_CategoryB).P
5Submit the files in a single, searchable PDF file (compatible with Adobe Reader version DC or 2017) with appropriate bookmarks (at least at the section header).P
6Convert spreadsheets to PDF in the most readable manner and submit them as part of a single PDF file.P
7Format each proposal volume in parallel in compliance with the evaluation factors and subfactors contained in the RFP.P
8Specify the evaluation criteria being addressed and provide a table of contents aligned with the RFP evaluation criteria in each volume.P

Generate a High-Scoring Proposal Consistent with the Evaluation Criteria

To produce a high-scoring SEWP VI proposal, it’s crucial to meticulously address the evaluation criteria outlined by NASA. By aligning your proposal with these criteria, you can enhance your chances of success. Table 4 provides a structured approach to ensure your proposal meets and exceeds the expectations outlined in the RFP, guiding you through each phase and volume to create a competitive and compelling submission.

Table 4: Prepare to Create a Proposal that Scores Highly

Phase, Volume, Name, and Evaluation Criteria  Tips for Creating a High-Scoring Proposal
Phase I, Volume I: Offer Volume   Criteria: Pass/FailAll the information you present must be timely, accurate, factual, and complete. This includes valid ISO 9001, CMMI Certification, and exhibits for your proposed categories.   If you claim meaningful relationships to support your suitability for an award, you must provide evidence that your shared resources are present, available, and add value to your bid. Meaningful relationships refer to partnerships or affiliations with other entities (such as parent companies, affiliates, or subcontractors) contributing to the proposal. The proposal must include concrete evidence that the resources from these relationships are available and will be effectively used in contract performance.   The Government may attribute the experience of a first-tier subcontractor, parent, affiliate, or predecessor company to the proposed prime contractor if the proposal demonstrates that the parent’s, affiliate’s, or predecessor company’s resources will affect the proposed prime contractor’s performance.   In these cases, small businesses can use the experience of their subcontractors, parent, affiliate, or predecessor companies. However, the proposal must show that these entities’ resources can significantly affect the contract’s performance. The involvement of these resources must be substantial and integral to the contract performance, not just nominal or superficial.
Phase II, Volume II: Past Performance Volume   Criteria: Satisfactory Level of Confidence, Level of No Confidence, or Neutral   Only those with Satisfactory or Neutral ratings pass to the next phaseTo be considered for this phase, you must meet the requirements for recency (within the last three years of the RFP release date), relevance, and minimum average cost/fee expenditures by providing timely, accurate, and complete information to substantiate your narrative. The performance evaluation will be based primarily on customer satisfaction and/or contract data to meet technical, schedule, cost, and management requirements. Therefore, review your CPARS and current performance with your Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) to verify that you have delivered outstanding performance to meet the requirement of a Satisfactory Level of Confidence.   Review other relevant performance indicators such as contract administration, occupational health, safety, security, subcontracting plan goals, and small disadvantaged business participation targets as applicable.
Phase II Mission Suitability, Volume III: A Technical Approach Volume   Criteria: High confidence ratingThe Government will evaluate the Offeror’s technical approach, specified in Section A.3.7.3 (a)(1), Section A.3.7.3 (a)(2), Section A.3.7.3 (a)(3), for effectiveness, reasonableness, and efficiency and give it a confidence rating.  
Mission Suitability Volume Volume III-B: Management Approach Volume   Criteria: High confidence ratingThe Government is evaluating the Offeror’s commitment to support chain management, sustainability, product and service diversity, and program management for effectiveness, reasonableness, and efficiency.

In the case of Volume III: A and B, the Government’s definition of high confidence emphasizes the Offeror’s comprehensive understanding of the requirements, the soundness of their proposed approach, and their ability to execute the project with minimal Government intervention.

The Government’s definition of effectiveness, reasonableness, and efficiency might include the following:

  • Effectiveness might refer to the degree to which the proposed technical approach can successfully achieve the desired outcomes and meet the specified requirements of the contract. The Government may look at the Offeror’s alignment with objectives, problem-solving capabilities, and ability to implement a clear, logical, and practical solution on schedule.
  • Reasonableness might relate to the practicality and feasibility of an Offeror’s technical approach. This includes whether the proposed methods, technologies, and resources are appropriate and sufficient for completing the project. Key factors include feasibility, justification, and risk management processes and solutions.
  • Efficiency might focus on the optimal use of resources to achieve the desired outcomes at a competitive price. This includes how well your approach minimizes waste and maximizes productivity. The Government will consider resource use, cost-effectiveness, and operational efficiency when assessing efficiency.

Conclusion

Creating a winning SEWP VI proposal requires meticulous attention to detail and a comprehensive understanding of NASA’s requirements. By ensuring your proposal is precise, factual, and complete, you can demonstrate your readiness to handle the contract with minimal intervention. Using meaningful relationships and presenting a feasible and efficient approach will significantly enhance your proposal’s chances of success. Engaging in frequent independent reviews to validate your proposal will mitigate the risk of the Government rejecting your proposal because of an inaccuracy. Following these tips, you can position your proposal for success in the competitive SEWP VI landscape.

Request for Assistance Need expert guidance to craft a high-scoring SEWP VI proposal? Let Lohfeld Consulting help you navigate the complexities and maximize your chances of winning. Our team of experienced professionals specializes in Government contracting and can provide the tailored support you need. Contact Lohfeld Consulting today to ensure your proposal stands out and meets all of NASA’s stringent requirements.

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals. As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $170B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and YouTube(TM).

author avatar
Brenda Crist