Best value is often described as the tradeoff between cost and performance that provides the greatest overall benefit. However, the word tradeoff to some may imply that one must either sacrifice cost to increase performance or sacrifice performance to reduce cost. Partnet prefers to define best value as the optimal blend of quality and performance delivered at the lowest possible cost and in the least amount of time.
It appears that Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics agrees with us on our best value definition. In a white paper published on September 19, 2014, Mr. Kendall says that Better Buying Power (BBP) 3.0 continues with a shift in emphasis toward achieving dominant capabilities through innovation and technical excellence.
Although overall cost continues to be a concern for the DOD, BBP 3.0 puts a strong emphasis on innovation. A series of new initiatives are listed below under the topic of Incentivize Innovation in Industry and Government:
- Increase the use of prototyping and experimentation.
- Emphasize technology insertion and refresh in program planning.
- Use Modular Open Systems Architecture to stimulate innovation.
- Increase the return on Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR).
- Provide draft technical requirements to industry and involve industry in funded concept definition to support requirements definition.
- Provide clear “best value” definitions so that industry can propose and DOD can choose wisely.
- Increase small business participation, including more effective use of market research.
As a small business we appreciate the acknowledgement that we an important part of the DOD Acquisition Cycle. As stated in the white paper, “Small businesses remain one of DOD’s most productive sources of innovation — in services as well as in products.”