Human Capital and Training Solutions Small Business (HCaTS SB)
Pool 1 OnRamping

Background

The Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCaTS) Program is the result of a partnership between the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the General Services Administration (GSA). HCaTS is comprised of two indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) governmentwide contract vehicles: HCaTS Unrestricted (HCaTS U) and HCaTS Small Business (HCaTS SB). These vehicles provide reliable, flexible, fast and efficient ways to obtain best-value, customized solutions for human capital management and training requirements.

HCaTS contracts provide solutions to all federal agencies through the effort of bona-fide executive, administrative, and professional employees as defined in Part 541 of Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). HCaTS has been designated as a Best-in-Class (BIC) solution for Human Capital and Training Solutions since October 2016. BIC contracts are recognized as being “good-for-government” purchasing solutions.

Summary Description

HCaTS SB provides all Federal agencies the flexibility to determine fair and reasonable pricing tailored to the ordering agency’s requirement dependent upon level of competition, risk(s), uncertainty(ies), complexity, urgency and contract type(s). HCaTS SB allows for all contract types at the task order level (e.g., Fixed-Price, Cost-Reimbursement, Time-and-Materials, and Labor-Hour). Task orders may also combine more than one contract type.

GSA awarded 24 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity HCaTS SB contracts in August 2019. The on-ramp HCaTS is open for all types of contracts at the task order level.

There were three Key Service Areas (KSAs), each covering several minor task areas. Below are the KSAs and their associated task areas:

KSA 1 — Customized Training and Development Services

  • Technical skills and knowledge training
  • General skills and knowledge training and development
  • Leadership, management, and supervisory training and development
  • Career development and management
  • Training program management support
  • All modes of delivery: classroom-based, web-based, mobile platforms, and blended solutions

KSA 2 — Customized Human Capital Strategy Services

  • Talent management
  • Performance management
  • Workforce planning and succession planning
  • Diversity and work–life programs
  • Knowledge and competency management
  • HR systems design and consultation
  • Branding, recruitment, staffing, communications, and outreach strategies
  • Employee engagement
  • Program implementation support

KSA 3 — Organizational Performance Improvement

  • Change management
  • Strategic planning and alignment
  • Organizational assessment and transformation
  • Business process reengineering
  • Data analytics for data-driven performance reviews

HCaTS in a Nutshell

Item

Details

Agency:General Services Administration
Office:Federal Acquisition Service (FAS)
Location:The Northeast & Caribbean Supply & Acquisition Center
Solicitation Number:QTA0016GBA0002
Contract Period:10.5 years
Type of Contract and Award:CR, FFP, T&M, LH, Hybrids of any contract type
Number of Awards:24
Contract Value:$3.45 Billion
Small Business Utilization:8(a), HUBZone, SDVOSB, EDWOSB, WOSB
NAICS Codes:611430 – Professional and Management Development Training
611699 – All Other Miscellaneous Schools and Instruction
624310 – Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Scope:Three Key Service Areas (KSAs):
1. Customized Training and Development Services.
2. Customized Human Capital Strategy Services.
3. Customized Organizational Performance Improvement.
Solicitation Page on fbo.gov:HCaTS SBPool 1 OnRamping
GDIC Webinar on HCaTS Replay:January 10, 2019
GDIC Articles:1. Human Capital and Training Solutions Small Business (HCaTS SB)
2. Are You Prepared for the HCaTS SB Pool 1 On-Ramping?
3. Ready for HCaTS On-ramp Pool 1 GSA’s Bid?

Evaluation Criteria

Bid Evaluation was based on a combination of the Lowest Price and Technically Acceptable factors. Past performance was a significant factor of evaluation. The agency chose to score proposals based on “Highest Technical Rated with Fair and Reasonable Prices” approach. The HCaTS source selection team performed the evaluation process in four phases:

  • Initial Review
  • Technical Review
  • Responsibility Determination
  • Pricing

Several aspects of the past performed projects were scored in this solicitation. The table below shows these aspects and the corresponding maximum score that an offeror could achieve.

Contract Type1800
KSAs covered7200
Aggregate KSAs1000
Annual Dollar Value1350
Period of Performance900
Past Performance15000
Subcontracting/Teaming510
Small Business Participation450
Cost Reimbursement100
Accreditions160
Total Score28470

After deciding the score for each of the above items in every contract offerors include in their proposal, they had to present evidence to substantiate their claimed scores. The evaluation by the government of the claimed score of each offeror rested on the evidence they presented with their claims.

Problems & Challenges

As stated above, HCaTS was a Self-Scoring bid. A Self-Scoring Worksheet was provided in the bid package for this purpose. As with all self-scoring solicitations, the offeror had to go through the following stages in order to prepare a response:

  1. Gather the documents related to all contracts with services covering one or more of the KSAs
  2. Extract the required information from those contracts
  3. Select the contracts that satisfy the minimum requirements of the RFP
  4. Score all selected contracts
  5. Select six contracts with the highest score to include in the response
  6. Substantiate your scoring by outlining evidence in the documents related to each contract

For companies that were participating in a self-scoring bid, the whole process is a great challenge. But even for those who had previous experience with this type of bidding process, going through the steps outline above was not easy and they felt they needed consultants like GDIC to provide them their experience and know-how and help them to extract the most out of their past performance and professional capabilities.

In particular, the substantiation of scoring was a complex and time-consuming effort. In addition to careful study and analysis of the existing documents, it needed a level of insight into what should be presented to the evaluators that can only come out of a deep understanding of the self-scoring evaluation process by the government.

GDIC Solution Methodology

GDIC used its experience in its completing over 60 proposals in previous Self-Scoring solicitations such as OASIS and Alliant and STARS II to put together a winning proposal for each of its clients bidding for an HCaTS contract.

As in other GSA self-scoring bids, the substantiation of scoring claims was the critical part of the proposal development process. To respond to this challenge, we used our previous experience to developed a solution that consisted of four components:

  1. Agile Project Teams: GDIC methodology relied on a team of three GDIC staff members experienced in self-scoring proposals to work on each the contracts package. The team followed an agile project management methodology, dividing the job into very short tasks and meeting every day to discuss and finalize the results.
  2. Audit and Self-Scoring Matrix: this was a contracts audit and scoring tool that saved valuable time for our clients as well as our HCaTS teams. With this tool, each of our clients could enter the contract data and see the result in terms of score and whether each contract satisfies the minimum requirements.
  3. Seamless Communication: The team made sure to get the client involved in all stages of the proposal process, because clients had a huge amount of knowledge about their contracts that was not present in the documents they supplied, or there were many documented evidence that did not look valuable to them at first look. Gathering such information enabled our teams to form the response in the best way possible, adding to the score and increasing the value of the evidence we presented in support of the scoring claims.
  4. Expert Review: The final proposal was reviewed and approved by the HCaTS program manager. Through this review, we brought in the quality of experience gained in similar past projects into every HCaTS proposal package we developed.

The above methodology HCaTS was the accumulation of GDIC’s self-scoring proposal development experience, resulting in 3 winning contracts and 100% win rate. Nevertheless, after the effort we summed up our strengths and weaknesses in the HCaTS proposal development process and enhanced our methodology and tools in order to provide higher quality of service to our future clients in this and other self-scoring solicitations.

GDIC HCaTS Tool

Why GDIC Excels?

General Services Administration is a major source of US government business opportunities in all sectors of industry. In recent years, GSA has been using more of the new contracting vehicle and solicitation evaluation framework called Self-Scoring Proposals rather than  from the traditional proposals mainly consisting of Management, Technical and Pricing section. By getting the contractors involved in the scoring process so that they become better aware of their strengths and weaknesses, GSA hopes that the outcome of this process is higher quality and better managed contracts at lower costs to the government. However, the new system has its complexities, and very few contractors can take advantage of the full potential of these solicitations to secure contracts.

GDI Consulting has been working on GSA proposals for years, and is an expert in Self-Scoring contract vehicles, both from GSA (e.g. OASIS, Alliant, STARS II, and HCaTS) and other agencies (e.g. SEC OneIT) with over 50 proposal completed and many wins. We provide consultation, full proposal development, and also proposal review services at different stages of its development. So, whenever you decide to enter into a Self-Scoring federal bid, let our vast experience bring out the best of your corporate assets and professional capabilities and support you in winning your desired contract.