Uncovering SEWP VI Draft RFP Q&A: Part 4 Everything Else!

NASA has just answered a LOT of questions regarding the SEWP VI Draft RFP that was released in September 2023. The final RFP is expected to be released by the end of winter 2024 (March 21). Answers to all 1,655 questions have not yet been provided, but NASA has responded to a great deal of questions and their answers provide more clarity on how bidders should respond to Categories A, B, or C.

We don’t see this draft changing much outside of the clarifications provided in these answers. Bidders should be heads-down working to complete these requirements and prepare their responses to this near-term RFP release. Remember, this is NOT a point scoring RFP! If you need help, Red Team is here for you with proposal management, capture management, writing, editing, graphics, and desktop publishing.

Red Team has compiled some of the remaining compelling questions in this fourth post with a bit of analysis for each answer.

Question 933: On pages 57-59, the Government lists all acceptable NAICS codes. Can an Offeror submit a response using projects with NAICS codes outside those listed in pages 57-59 if the type of work was similar in scope to Category A, B, or C?

Answer to Question 933:  The final RFP will be updated to state that only relevant experience projects with NAICS codes listed as in-scope for SEWP VI are to be submitted in response to A.3.7.1.(b).

💡 Red Team Take: All bidders MUST check their REPs to ensure that they meet one of the applicable NAICS codes. If a bidders’ REP does not have a listed NAICS code, it is not relevant for submission for Volume 1. There is currently no way to argue relevance if experience does not have a required NAICS. There is also no guidance on how to validate the proper NAICS code if the experience is commercial.

If a bidder has a project with a NAICS code that is not relevant here, there may be a path to have your CO/COR to update the NAICS code to one of the applicable SEWP NAICS codes. This is only possible if the project truly does better align to one of the applicable NAICS codes. We recommend that companies try to work with their CO/CORs sooner rather than later to get that done if needed.

Question 964:  DRFP Section A.3.7.3 (a) 5 and 6, how does this portion of the response differ from the Section A.3.7.1 (b) (Offer Volume, Mandatory Experience)?

Answer to Question 964:  The Final RFP will be revised to have DRFP Section A.3.7.3(a) 5 and 6 removed from solicitation.

💡 Red Team Take:  This one is interesting!  For Category A Bidders, this removes the requirement to include the product listing in Volume 3 – it will now only be required in Volume 1 of the RFP.   Our previous take on this requirement was that offerors needed to have a substantial amount of products included in the product listing due to this requirement being evaluated as part of Mission Suitability (Volume 3) where only “High Confidence” bidders will advance.

We will need to see the final RFP to find out if the Volume 1 submission of the product listing is still a pass/fail evaluation.  If so, our guidance may be changing on this requirement.

Question 67: Please provide clarifications for Joint Ventures. For example, for CMMI and ISO certifications – can either JV partner provide those? For REPs and Past Performance – can they be provided from either JV partner?

Answer to Question 67: The final RFP is being revised for further clarity to state evidence shall be provided that the certification is in the name of the CTA or JV, or in the name of each company in the CTA or JV.

💡 Red Team’s Take: We now have clarification on certifications for joint ventures – each member must have the certifications or the JV itself must have the certification.  While we expect similar guidance for SBA Approved Mentor Protégé Joint Ventures (MPJV), please note that the question only asked about regular Joint Ventures and not MPJVs.

Question 90: Page 95 (Program Management), The 100 requirements in a day for Category A seems adequate given the number of quotes that a VAR may respond to on a given day. The 10 requirements in a day for Category B large business also seem adequate. For Categories B and C small business, having the capacity or resources to respond to 10 requirements in a day seems unrealistic since most small IT services companies would rarely respond to 10 requirements in a day. Would NASA consider lowering the requirement for Category B and C small businesses to 5 requirements?

Answer: SEWP is utilized currently by 35,000 Government customers across the entirety of the Federal Government. It is anticipated that the usage will grow significantly under SEWP VI. 10 requirements a day is considered a minimum number of average request a day.

💡 Red Team’s Take: This is compelling feedback from NASA on what they are deeming to be important for a prime on NASA SEWP VI.

NASA’s plans for this contract are for a MINIMUM average of 10 requests a day is a strong hint that in order to achieve High Confidence, NASA will need to see that you have the capacity to handle more than 10 requests a day.

Question 162: As stated in Section 3.7.1 (a), for both Category B and C, it is required to have either a CMMI-DEV or a CMMI-SVC Level 2. We respectfully request that the government reconsider this requirement for Category B. With our current experience with the success of the SEWP V contract, there are numerous customers that purchase both product and services together which Category B will enable- which may not require a significant amount of services that are beyond installation or support services. As a result, the specific prime bidder need for CMMI level 2 seems, at this time, unnecessary and not what is required for many of the tasks orders existing today or in future. We do understand and agree that Category C scope seems well placed but for Category B, we would request a reconsideration based on existing successful business with SEWP V.

Answer: Thank you for your comment, as stated in the Draft RFP, Category B is an Enterprise Wide IT Services Category. Please note that the Categories in SEWP VI are not the same as SEWP V.

💡 Red Team’s Take: This is a very important answer. SEWP V is a successful contract that NASA is proud of. SEWP VI will be a different contract and is being competed differently. There are different scopes and objectives for SEWP VI that necessitate these changes.

Question 162 is questioning the need for a Category B from the perspective of being a SEWP V contract holder. If a government customer needs to purchase IT products with minimal services, that is what Category A is for. As NASA has previously stated, Category B is an Enterprise, Agency-Level scope that is significantly beyond that of SEWP V. We don’t recommend evaluating the Government’s scope from the viewpoint of the SEWP V contract and existing work. All bidders should look at all categories, but specifically Categories B and C, of this contract as new requirements.

Question 570: Is the requirement to utilize AbilityOne non-profit organizations applicable to Small Business Prime Offerors?

Answer: All Contractors competing and awarded a SEWP contract under NAICS Codes: 518210 Data Processing, Hosting & Related Services, 519190 All Other Information Services, 541513 Computer Facilities Management Services, 541512 Computer Systems Design Services, 541519 Other Computer Related Services, and 334112 Computer Storage Device have a mandatory requirement to utilize AbilityOne non-profit organizations as Subcontractors on orders utilizing any of the referenced NAICS codes. All Contractors competing and awarded a SEWP order using Product Service Codes (PSC): D321 – IT and Telecom- Help Desk, DE01 – IT and Telecom – End User: Help Desk; Tier1-2, Workspace, Print, Productivity Tools (Labor), DE10 – IT and Telecom – End User As A Service: Help Desk; Tier 1-2, Workspace, Print, Productivity Tools, 7E20 – IT and Telecom – End User: Help Desk; Tier 1-2, Workspace, Print, Productivity Tool (HW/Perpetual SW), have a mandatory requirement to utilize AbilityOne non-profit organizations as Subcontractors utilizing any of the referenced Product Service Codes.

💡 Red Team’s Take: AbilityOne is a requirement found in the middle of the Draft RFP and is a mandatory requirement for all three categories of SEWP VI. It’s not referenced in the Instructions or Evaluation Criteria, but AbilityOne subcontractors are a requirement within the contract and offerors must utilize these vendors.

Failing to mention how an offeror will do this could impact their rating in Mission Suitability.   One solution is to name subcontractors that you have already signed that are AbilityOne contractors in your Management writeup where you need to discuss teaming relationships. Teams are evaluated in Subfactor 1 of the management approach. Bidders should be identifying where they are strong and where they have needs for all technical areas of the categories that they are bidding. AbilityOne Contractors may fill that need.

Go to Source America to begin the search for your potential needs.

This is a 4-part blog series. In Part 1, Joe provides his thoughts on answers related to Relevant Experience. In Part 2, Joe discusses the use of NAICS Code 541512 and some related questions regarding reserved awards. In Part 3, Joe provides his analysis on Category A.