MOLINE, Illinois -- More than 600 companies and 200 government representatives attended the Advanced Planning Briefing for Industry, a day-long event associated with the 10th Annual Midwest Small Business Symposium, at the iWireless Center, May 24.
The APBI connected government officials from U.S. Army Contracting Command-Rock Island and U.S. Army Sustainment Command with members of industry who hold -- or are actively pursuing -- contracting opportunities with the government.
Maj. Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general, ASC, opened the APBI by emphasizing the fact that the operational environment has changed and how this impacts the Army's logistical requirements. In particular, Daly said the industry will need to develop flexible and innovative solutions to meet the need of the warfighter, including faster acquisition processes.
"We have to look at the problem set differently," said Daly. "We can't do business the way we have done business over the last 10-15 years. The environment will not let us do that. The world events will not let us do that and the way the Army is going will not let us do that. We need to collaborate on how we move forward."
To accomplish this there needs to be open dialogue between the government and industry to improve current processes. In addition, contractors need to be accountable to performance standards and being cost conscious in how the government executes contracts, while focusing on expedited response and support for the warfighter.
"We have to be more flexible, more agile and more innovative in our approaches to meet the needs of the warfighter at the tactical and operational points of need," said Daly. "We need to have quicker, more responsive acquisition strategies and faster source selection processes."
The remainder of the morning, Michael Hutchison, deputy to the commanding general, ASC, engaged with the audience in discussing several acquisition hot topics. The conference was then split into two separate rooms in which briefings focused on requirements from various ACC-RI customers.
In the afternoon, Jay Carr, executive director, ACC-RI, introduced Tom Ischkum from the General Services Administration, an organization that, according to its website, "provides centralized procurement for the federal government, offering billions of dollars worth of products, services and facilities that federal agencies need to serve the public."
"Yesterday when we talked about all of the issues facing the acquisition corps right now, specifically the workforce, we don't have enough people to do our job, so we rely on these other activities that produce strategic sources for us to help us manage what we do and do things in a more effective and efficient manner," said Carr. "If you are looking for opportunities, from an ACC-RI standpoint, we are going to look very closely at using GSA in the future. We're not going to look first at awarding our own contract, we're going to look at the strategic sources that are out there."
The APBI concluded with a panel of ACC-RI contracting professionals and industry members who held a discussion and Q&A session on source selection. ACC-RI participants included Dan Miller, Pricing Director; branch chiefs Dean Brabant and Brian Donovan; and procuring contracting officers Stephanie Brown and Stephanie James (panel moderator).