SEWP supports industry and government partners
Program office is ‘strict but supportive’ in managing contract holders
The relationship between government acquisition officials and contractors can be clouded by mutual suspicion and, when problems arise, thinly veiled hostility. The Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) IV program avoids this problem by providing multiple avenues for communication between program officials and contractors, recognizing that the two groups must work together to help government customers. “Industry is not the enemy. Industry is our partner,” said Joanne Woytek, SEWP IV program manager.
For their part, contract holders say the SEWP IV program office works just as hard to support them as it does to help customers. “I have never worked with a contracting shop that spends as much time and energy making sure that all parties are treated fairly and well,” said Mike Cogswell, senior director of contracts and compliance at GovConnection, who has been in the business for 40 years.
Contract holders can ask questions and raise issues with the SEWP IV staff through a dedicated e-mail address, regular face-to-face meetings and an open-door policy with SEWP IV officials. “SEWP makes it very easy for us to address any issues or challenges or problems that may arise,” said Jennifer Keating, director of civilian sales at CDW-Government Federal.
Contract holders also said SEWP IV is easy to maintain, and they especially like how quickly they can add new products for their customers. “It typically only takes us 24 hours to add a new product onto SEWP,” Keating said.
Woytek said the key to good contractor relations is continuous, effective communication. The SEWP IV staff won’t hesitate to tell contractors if there is a problem or they need to improve, but the staff will also help contractors rectify problems. “They are very strict, but at the same time very supportive,” GovConnection's Cogswell said.
Referring to the SEWP IV staff’s relationship with contract holders, Woytek said, “They don’t always like us, but they know that we will be fair and listen to them, and that we will help them sell their products and services. At the same time, we listen to the government folks and help them too. We’re an advocate for all sides.”