Naval Information Warfare Systems Command earned an honorable mention in the 2022 Scorecard, maintaining its top rating of a “good” forecast. While certain restrictions can prevent Department of Defense services and agencies from making publicly available a fully populated, timely forecast, NAVWAR stands out as a top DoD component in this regard. PSC commends NAVWAR for it continued outstanding work in providing valuable, relevant information on its opportunities.
Needs Improvement: Department of Defense Medical
Given the national and global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, PSC noted with surprise that the Department of Defense's (DoD’s) Defense Health Agency and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command saw marked decreases in scores since 2021. As noted earlier, certain restrictions can prevent DoD services and agencies from making a publicly available, fully populated, timely forecast. However, COVID-19-related activities – especially the use of government contracts with private sector partners to support a whole-of-nation response – translated into high expectations for health-related agencies to share accurate information to support companies' decision-making. PSC encourages DHA and USAMRDC to improve the timeliness and content of their forecasts.
How Does Industry Use Business Forecasts?
To provide federal customers with more timely, comprehensive, and thoroughly researched solutions when final Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are released, companies rely on the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and timeliness of an agency’s business forecast, especially though not limited to the publicly available website. Often, resource allocation and teaming decisions are made well in advance of the RFP
. A useful forecast would provide excellent, actionable information that can enable interested entities to determine potential staffing requirements, project needs, and costs. While PSC and the services contracting community fully recognize that spending priorities often change on short notice, significant course corrections tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule in the services sector.
Due to the number of agencies and subcomponents tracked and in order to be as objective as possible, PSC staff take a “snapshot” of agencies’ web-based forecasts at the beginning of the second quarter of the government’s fiscal year (i.e., January). The staff then begin the assessment process.
- Using 15 key attributes used by services contractors who seek to make go / no-go decisions based on available information, one assessor reviews each agency’s forecast and assigns point values in accordance with those attributes. Of note, each attribute is weighted in accordance with its relative importance to industry; PSC has vetted these attributes with contractors, with government officials, and internally within PSC.
- Other PSC staff then conduct a “blind” reassessment process wherein they are unaware of the score already assigned to an agency's forecast. This step encourages objectivity. In the event of a discrepancy between the two assessments for a particular forecast, the staff discuss their perspectives and resolve the discrepancy. This happened only twice for the 62 forecasts assessed in 2022.
- Finally, PSC compares total scores of the assessed agencies side-by-side, determining the distribution of scores into Good, Fair, Needs Improvement, or Not Found. These cleavage points often “pop out” of the assessment process.
PSC’s 15 Key Attributes for a Successful Business Forecast
1. Searchable Spreadsheet
Ideally, all agencies should have forecasts available in Excel format. This format allows industry to easily search for and organize information of their choosing and program offices can easily update it with new and recent information. In contrast, PDFs are often disorganized and undersized, complicating the user’s ability to utilize it efficiently. It also often indicates that the agency does not frequently update the forecast. Additional points are awarded for advanced Electronically Sortable Information systems which go above and beyond excel.
2. Date Modified Listed
Modification dates inform users whether the information is recent and updated. If the data are outdated, contractors might need to find relevant contracting information or other opportunities some other way.
3. Frequency Updated
Agencies are evaluated on how current their listed opportunities are in their published forecasts.
4. Project Description and Contract Number
Agencies are evaluated on the existence and comprehensiveness of a project description and if a contract number has been assigned.
5. Dollar Value and Base Option
Agencies are evaluated on whether the dollar value of their projects are listed and the specificity of the dollar values. Points awarded if base options are listed.
6. Program POC and COR PC Contact Info
Agencies are evaluated on whether a point of contact is specified for each opportunity, with an individual’s (not generic) email address and phone number.
7. Program Office and Buying Office
Agencies are evaluated on whether they specified their program and buying office for respective services.
8. NAICS Code Listed
Agencies are evaluated on whether the NAICS code is specified for each opportunity.
9. Recompete/Incumbent Listed
Agencies are evaluated on whether the incumbent is specified for each opportunity, or the forecast shows it is a new requirement with no incumbent.
10. Set Aside Type
Agencies are evaluated on whether they have small business set aside information available for their opportunities, including set aside specifications.
11. Contract Vehicle (IDIQ, BPA)
Agencies are evaluated on whether a particular contract vehicle is listed for each opportunity.
12. Anticipated Solicitation Release Date
Agencies are evaluated on whether the anticipated solicitation release date is specified.
13. Action/Award Type
Agencies are evaluated on whether the action, award type, and contract type are specified, such as competitive or sole source, and whether the award is cost-type, fixed fee, or time and material.
14. Anticipated Award Date
Agencies are evaluated on whether the anticipated award date or fiscal year quarter is specified.
15. Frequency Published
Agencies are evaluated on whether the forecast is published daily, monthly, twice a year, or yearly.