If you haven’t heard, fiscal year 2015 was a record-setting year for agency spending under FAR Part 13 which saw 61 Contracting Departments ringing the bell with more than $20 billion in goods and services purchased using the Simplified Acquisition Procedures. Here’s a look at where things are for the current fiscal year.
– The Chief Visionary
After what happened last fiscal year for Simplified Acquisition spending, all I could really hope for was not to see a big drop. After all, based on what’s been reported, agencies averaged a one billion dollar increase in spending each year from FY2009 to FY2015, while overall government spending hemorrhaged over $100 billion in fiscal obligations during that time. Compare that with the Federal Supply Schedule (GSA specifically) which finally saw an increase in sales in FY2015 after years of losing one billion or more. What I saw when I queried contracting activity for the current fiscal year-to-date gave me hope we could be in-store for another year of growth.
Truthfully, I have an ulterior motive for the timing of this piece. As it happens, I’ll be presenting next week at APTAC 2016 in St. Louis on the topic of Simplified Acquisitions to the companies and PTAC staff in attendance. I’ll discuss my ‘15 Reasons‘ companies should include these streamlined buys in their pipelines so PTACs can add to their arsenal of helping small businesses around the nation. Besides, I’d like to see more folks become part of the 6800 small federal contractors that captured $9 billion this way in FY2015. Did I mention each of those companies received at least $250,000 in agency obligations? How about if we make it 10,000 small businesses that capture $14 billion in FY2016? It’s possible and I would be a fan!
Let’s get back to where things are now.
The results of my query are based on obligations occurring since the start of FY2015 through yesterday, which means the DoD number will only represent dollars obligated more than 90 days ago due to the OPSEC policy. Looking at the raw report, we’re at $5.4 billion YTD. That’s just two billion less than for the same period last fiscal year. Want to know what happens when you remove Department of Defense spending from the total for this year and last year? You find out agencies have spent more in FY2016 than they did during the same period last year, which again, was a record-setting year for obligations made this way. Over $50 million dollars more in fact. And they’ve done it with fewer agencies reporting so far.
Where’s the spending coming from? More than half of the Contracting Departments (35 of 60 for FY2016) have increased obligations when compared to this time last year. It’s not just the Cabinet agencies, a number of independent agencies and commissions have stepped it up this year. For example:
- Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has spent nearly four times more than in FY15
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has seen a tenfold increase YTD
- Corporation for National and Community Service has tripled their spend
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has more than doubled their Simplified spending so far
- Department of Justice has obligated $150M more than this time last year
and NASA, NRC, OPM, SBA, Smithsonian, SSA and State Department have all increased their spend when Simplified Acquisition Procedures were used.
What’s it all mean?
To me it means agencies across the board are finding it productive to leverage FAR Part 13 to get requirements filled much quicker (and more simply) than some other methods. Remember, Congress had language on the docket for the FY2016 NDAA that would have expanded the use of Simplified Acquisitions, all in the name of efficiency and cost savings to the Government.
Can’t make it to St. Louis? I’m hosting the ’15 Reasons’ session as a webinar on April 13th in case you’re interested. For those I’ll see in St. Louis, get your questions ready as I’m coming with lots of useful tips and some leave-behinds, too!
In the meantime, for the many American small businesses out there, would $250K or more in revenues this fiscal year via a purchasing method with a strong preference (and reservation) for small business, that costs less to pursue and has a shorter procurement cycle be of interest to your company?
“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”