This paper reviews the concept of government contracting and its application in the real business environment.
Form of contracting
In exploiting the opportunities associated with the concept of contracting, small businesses should consider adopting the fixed- price form of contracting with economic price adjustment. The rationale of this form of contracting is underlined by the fact that it provides a window for adjustment of the cost of the contract factoring changes arising from specific contingencies such as market price, labour cost, and material cost (Moses, 2015). Businesses do not have control over market changes (Massey, 2011). Thus, adoption of fixed price form of contracting will caution the small business against economic changes that might adversely affect the execution of the contract. Therefore, the small businesses will have an opportunity to plan and budget for the contract hence increasing the probability of successfully executing the contract.
Despite the fact that government contracts are categorised into two broad categories that include fixed-price contracts and cost-reimbursement contracts, the two categories are not appropriate. This arises from the fact that despite the similarities inherent in the respective categories, the differences should not be treated as trivial. On the contrary, the contracts require unique treatment with reference to the contract bidding and performance process. In order to succeed in undertaking government contract, it is imperative for businesses to understand the inherent differences in order to successfully exploit the inherent opportunities and to deal with the respective challenges.
In an effort to promote government contracting amongst small businesses, the US government has formulated different programs. Examples of such programs include the Woman-Owned Small Business, Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, Historically Underutilised Business Zone and Veteran Owned. These programs are not sufficient in offering business opportunities to entrepreneurs especially the youth. Therefore, the government should consider developing programs targeting the youth (Grefen, 2015).
THE Contract Administration Office
The Contract Administration Office is charged with the duty of undertaking different roles and responsibilities. The first role entails verifying that the contractor has successfully fulfilled the contract assigned in accordance with the specified requirements. Execution of this role requires the Contract Administration Office to apply effective procurement procedures. The second role entails undertaking an extensive quality assurance in order to ensure that the requisite quality standards have been adhered to. In line with the findings of the quality assurance activity, the Contract Administration Office should have a responsibility to make recommendations on how to improve contract quality (Grefen, 2015).
To successfully implement these roles and responsibilities, the contract administrator must have adequate knowledge with reference to contracting principles. Additionally, the contracting officer must maintain effective relationship between the buyer and supplier with reference to contractual aspects. This goal is achieved through integration of effective communication practices (Abramson & Harris). As a contracting administrator, the procurement role is the most difficult. One of the difficulties relates to the fact that it is comprised of diverse activities that are subject to change. Nevertheless, the contract administrator must ensure that the reforms are undertaken in order to factor the requisite changes (Ribeiro, 2009).
Do’s and Don’ts of Contract administration
There are different contract administration activities that must be observed in executing the contract. First, the contract administrator must provide the authorised purchase documents to all the parties involved. Secondly, an extensive review of the internal contract procedures and policies must be undertaken. The rationale of these activities is to ensure that the contract is executed within the set guidelines (Ribeiro, 2009). Some of the contract administration don’ts that the contract administrator should desist from entail instructing the contractor to commence work before the contract is fully executed. This approach might affect the outcome of the contract because of the contractors’ limited knowledge of what the contract entails in its entirety. Subsequently, the cost and time taken to complete the project might increase. The second aspects that the administrator must avoid entail allowing the contractor to bear the additional cost of the contract above the predetermined cost. This aspect might lead to loss for the contractor hence increasing the likelihood of non-compliance with the best contracting practices.
Despite the avoidance of the above aspects, the contract administrator must progressively monitor the contract expenditures in order to ensure that sufficient funds are available to complete the project. Secondly, the administrator must ensure that the work undertaken is accepted by the contract buyer prior to expiration of the contract period. This plays a fundamental role in ensuring adherence to contract quality.
Technology to improve contracting process
One of the technologies likely to improve the contracting process entails e-contracting technologies. Integration of e-contracting will stimulate future growth of government contracting. This arises from the fact that these technologies will simplify the contracting process by eliminating bureaucracies that make the contracting process complex with reference to time and cost. Adoption of e-contracting technologies will make the process seamless. For example, the contract buyers will be able to submit contract documents digitally. The US Department of Defence is one of the notable government departments that have integrated e-contracting technologies (Compton, 2010).
The course has led to development of critical insight with reference to government contracting. One of the aspects that I have gained relates to the best type of contract for small businesses. Additionally, I have gained adequate knowledge on the fundamental procedures and activities that must be followed in order to successfully exploit the opportunities offered by government contracting. From the knowledge gained, I will assist my cousin who intends to establish a start-up business specialising in offering Meeting, Conference and Workshop Event Planning services for government by seeking business opportunity in government contracting.
Abramson, M., & Haris, R. (2003). The procurement revolution. Lanham: Rowman &
Compton, P. (2010). Federal acquisition; key issues and guidance. Vienna, VA: Management
Grefen, P. (2015). Beyond e-business; towards networked structures. New York: Routledge.
Massey, S. (2011). Best practices for environmental project teams. Chicago: Elsevier.
Moses, F. (2015). Win government contracts. New York: Lulu.com.
Ribeiro, J. (2009). Procurement of goods, work and services in development projects; with an
overview of project management. Montreal: Press Internationales.