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Building Better Mousetraps by Adding Value to Technical Proposals

PACA Pulse

“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door” is the old saying, but the federal government seldom beats a path to the door of a contractor. Nevertheless, companies can win contracts by adding value to their proposals with technical discriminators.

Assuming a contractor is responsible, contract awards by federal agencies are generally determined by three sets of factors: price, past performance, and technical approach. Where contracts are awarded based on the government’s assessment of best value, distinctions among technical proposals are critical to determining the contract award. In best value acquisitions, technical discriminators, which serve to differentiate one proposal from another, are often what determine success or failure.

To increase the value of their technical proposals, contractors must make maximum use of technical discriminators. Yet, not all technical discriminators that could lend a competitive advantage to a proposal may be readily apparent. For that reason, it can be useful to look at best value assessments in other procurements. Many such evaluations are reviewed in bid protest decisions. These decisions frequently discuss the technical discriminators that agencies find significant.

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