In October, the chapter hosted Brian Zajick during its monthly luncheon seminar. Zajick presented an in-depth yet accessible life cycle of an Air Force procurement. Many Air Force military, civilian and defense contractors are familiar with the flow of the acquisitions process once a requirement is handed over to contracting for procurement.
What is a mystery to most is at what level you should engage the original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers and system integrators, as well as at what part of the process helps make the overall acquisition run smoother.
Engaging industry representatives before submission to contracting can and will allow your acquisition to run smoother and quicker in the market research requirements and specifications stage before submission to the contracting office. Industry representatives can also ensure you are requesting the correct stock-keeping unit (SKUs) and whether what you are asking for can be procured by verifying Trade Agreements Act and General Service Administration SKUs. They can also confirm lead times to allow the government customer to submit Defense Priorities & Allocations Systems ratings in case mission requirements dictate it.
Many procurements are bogged down with issues and questions that come back once it enters the contracting acquisition system. Everyone has seen procurements take six to eight months or not happen due to issues getting them through the system. Engaging industry representatives will help mitigate problems with the procurement process and solidify the requirements to assure an easier glideslope to procurement. Zajick's expertise in the procurement process enables decision-makers at all levels to navigate the complicated terrain of government contracting without needing to be in the Air Force Specialty Code.