In a recent FCW article, Joe Jordan, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, was quoted as stating that in these uncertain fiscal times the government is going to have a hard time meeting the Small Business Goal of 23% in 2013. At the same time, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) introduced the Assuring Contracting Equity Act (S. 196), which would boost the 23-percent goal to 25 percent.

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 13, lays out a variety of purchasing methods collectively known as simplified acquisition to facilitate Government buyers in acquiring supplies and services. This generally covers all items bought below the micro-purchase threshold of $3,000 and those covered under the simplified acquisition procedures (SAP) threshold of $150,000 (higher in certain national security areas).

For years, the government has used simplified acquisition procedures as the primary means to meet the Small Business goals. Thousands of small business thorough out America make and/or sell the products and services that the government needs. Everything from office supplies to weapon system parts can be purchased from small businesses.

In the FCW article, Guy Timberlake, CEO of the American Small Business Coalition, recommended that Sen. Udal ‘s bill include wording to require agencies to make all simplified acquisition purchases with small companies. That change would make it much easier for agencies to achieve the small-business contracting goals.  The article further explains that from 2011 until the first part of 2013, the government has awarded $33 billion using simplified acquisition procedures. If all of these simplified acquisitions had been to small businesses, agencies would have come much closer to or even been pushed beyond the current small-business contracting goal of 23 percent.

One of the most underutilized simplified acquisition tools in the Department of Defense is the DOD EMALL. This DOD Enterprise-wide eCommerce site hosts over 1000 commercial catalogs with 20 million items on long-term government contacts. Over half of which are small-businesses. These businesses are clearly marked as small-businesses and provide a variety of products to DOD customers.  The DOD EMALL is available to all DOD and Federal agencies. Even state governments can use the site for federally sponsored programs. Yet for the last few years, the site has seen less than a billion dollars in sales. The DOD EMALL may be a well-kept secret in the DOD acquisition community, but it can certainly be used to bolster any agencies small business goals.

Do you think that requiring all simplified acquisition buys be directed to small businesses can increase small business goals? I’d love to hear your thoughts.