Alliant 2 – Lessons learnt from VETS 2

The VETS 2 proposal was due on the 6th but is now extended till 13th. My company has been working with 4 clients to prepare their VETS 2 proposals. The experience we have gained, I think, can be very valuable towards preparation for Alliant 2. Below I will explain some of the problems we faced during preparation of the proposals, in the hope that it will provide some insight into problems companies will face when preparing their Alliant 2 proposals:

FPDS Reports

Like VETS 2, Alliant 2 also requires that you provide FPDS reports as proof of your past experience information. Our 4 clients were submitting a total of 35 projects. Here is the situation as far as the FPDS reports were concerned:

  • 7 contracts were not entered into FPDS at all and did not have FPDS reports
  • 4 contracts had wrong contract numbers entered (e.g. acquisition number entered instead of contract number or …)
  • 9 contracts did not have all the task orders and delivery orders entered
  • 13 contracts had wrong NAICS codes

Lessons Learnt for Alliant 2:

Don’t wait until Alliant 2 RFP is out, instead:

  • Make sure that all your required contracts have the relevant report on FPDS
  • Make sure that the contract number, the contract and task order amounts, and most importantly the NAICS codes are filled in correctly
  • Work with the FPDS help desk to correct the issues. They are very helpful but the problem is that they do not fill in the information, rather the cognizant agency inputs into FPDS. Therefore, you will have to chase people around to get it resolved.

J.P-2 Form

In both VETS 2 and Alliant 2, if a contract does not have the FPDS report or its report is not filled in properly (NAICS code is not entered properly or the amount is not correct), then for Alliant 2 you have to fill in the J.P-2 form and send it to the Contracting Officer/COR of that project to sign it. The problem is that many projects belong to a few years ago and since then the contracting officer has moved on to other departments and jobs. The new contracting officers (if any at all or whoever has replaced them) do not take the responsibility to correct these mistakes. We ran into this problem on a number of occasions. For example, on a number of contracts, the NAICS code was wrong but the replacing contracting officers would not take responsibility to change them. This issue needs to be addressed very early on, as it will take some time to resolve. Therefore, again don’t wait for Alliant 2 RFP to come out; follow up on this now.

Past Performance

You get 20,000 points in VETS 2 (20%) and 17,500 in Alliant 2 (per draft RFP = 23%) of the total score from your past performance. In VETS 2 you need to supply 3 projects but in order to get the full score in Alliant 2, you need to provide 7 projects. Again, considering the issues and mistakes in FPDS reports and even the contracts (on the NAICS, the amount of the contract, and the documentation needed), it is essential to start now, resolving any issues with the relevant contracting officers; or you will lose the points for this section. Note that you might have excellent CPARS reports for all 7 but if the NAICS is wrong or any other problem mentioned above, then you are not going to get the points (for experience and for past performance).

Go/No-Go Documentation

There are some documentation that are Go/No-Go in VETS 2 and Alliant 2, specially for Small Businesses. These include the Professional Employee Compensation Plan, and Uncompensated Overtime Policy, and the Basis of Estimate narrative. Make sure that you don’t overlook these and prepare the proper documentation for them or they can make your entire proposal non-responsive.

Cost Accounting System and Audit Information

The text of VETS 2 and Alliant 2 are similar in this issue stating that you need to have an audit done by either DCAA, DCMA or CFA (Cognizant Federal Agency). Many companies get their audits done by private institutions and have letters from them in this regard. The language of the RFP seems not to accept this and the Q&A in VETS 2 did not clear this. Therefore, to stay on the safe side, try to resolve the audit paper, if possible, from DCAA, DCMA or the CFA in your case.

All of the above-mentioned issues have one message at their heart: You should have started on them many weeks ago and should not lose time waiting for the Alliant 2 RFP to come out.