Before Responding to a Solicitation, Vendors Need to Learn the Acquisition Ground Rules

When planning on submitting a response to a solicitation it is critical that the vendor understand the rules the Government will follow for that acquisition. For Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) buys, Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) part 15 procedures for contracting by negotiation do not govern competitive procurements under the FSS program.  Therefore, competitors need to review FAR part 8 and the solicitation to determine how the FSS acquisition will be conducted. 
For example, concerning communications between the Government and vendors, there is no requirement in FAR subpart 8.4 that an agency, when soliciting vendor responses prior to issuing an order under an FSS contract, conduct discussions with vendors in accordance with FAR 15.306 regarding the content of those responses.  Therefore, in Marine Group Boat Works, LLC, B-404277; B-404277.2, January 19, 2011, 2011 CPD __,  GAO found proper the agency’s communications with the FSS vendors concerning their technical responses to the solicitation without the agency establishing a common cutoff date and obtaining final revised quotations as required under FAR part 15 because there is no requirement under FAR subpart 8.4 that an agency must set a common cutoff date and obtain a final proposal revision.
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