Massachusetts Procurement Technical Assistance Center


PTAC - Not Just For Small Business Anymore!


Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) around the nation have been helping small businesses compete for government contracts for years. Thousands of small firms have entered the governmental supply chains at some level, (prime or subcontract) with the assistance of a PTAC. The services have traditionally included the bid match, one-on-one counseling, proposal review, specifications and standards, Federal Acquisition Regulations and general facilitation through a relationship with a counselor. These services are important, even vital, to the smaller client trying to find their niche with the government customer. But, all of these services are available in-house for the major prime contractor or large business. So how can a PTAC help them?

The Massachusetts Procurement Technical Assistance Center has developed a product line especially for larger clients, including major prime contractors. The PTAC recently assisted two prime contractors in the formulation of a subcontracting plan, facilitating awards of major contracts. One contractor had previously lost a contract bid due to a deficient subcontracting plan. After working with the PTAC staff, their next bid was successful. The other example involved an award held up due to a plan that was deemed deficient by the customer. The PTAC staff were able to advise the contractor to a successful conclusion. These cases demonstrate the PTAC has the expertise to advise a company through the preparation of an individual contract plan, commercial plan or a master plan--whichever best meets the needs of the firm.

Once the right plan is developed, or if you have a working plan in place, it is time to determine if you are meeting your goals.

The PTAC can assist the large client with polling its vendors to see whether or not the goals are being met. Only a review of the actual vendors used in a program can yield if the prime contractor's reports (SF 294/295ís) are really accurate. The PTAC has developed an instrument to survey vendors in order to determine if they are small, SDB, Women-Owned, Service-Disabled-Veteran Owned, Veteran-Owned or HUBZone firms. The results of such surveys often surprise large clients. The results of a survey which was recently taken of the vendor base of a large Massachusetts client indicated that the company was meeting more of their goals than they thought. As eligibility for inclusion in the various subcontracting categories may change over time, a periodic analysis of your vendor base may be prudent. 

So now you have tuned up your plan and discovered that you need to add a few vendors of various demographic categories to your supplier lists. Now what? How about an event showcasing your firm, with an invitee list comprised of the kinds of vendors you need to fill out your subcontracting plan? The PTAC can facilitate such an event. If the plan gets filled out, great! If not, the due diligence would be noticed and appreciated. The PTAC works hard on your behalf to make these events successful. We also partner with other programs and agencies to assist in attracting the vendors your might need. DCMA is always an important invited guest, and when available legislative dignitaries are invited to attend.

Gee, the event was held, lots of vendors attended, some look pretty good, but they have some issues to work on before they can be considered as full-fledged vendors--issues like completion of a quality manual, or ISO 9002 certification, or specialized training. The PTAC can try to find a provider to assist these vendors in becoming more qualified to work in the most demanding environments.

So what is in it for the PTAC? First, we would try to enlist these vendors as clients, if they are not already. Then we would help them try to penetrate other markets, thus fulfilling our mission of working to increase the small business participation in government contracting. The key to it all is the triple win: Large Business, Small Business, America!