Steamlined Fees, Expanded Outreach Set Mark for New SEWP

Even though the number of contract holders on SEWP V has more than tripled, the vehicle itself has become much leaner in many ways, which should make it even easier for both vendors and users to conduct business. The SEWP program office also intends to be more active in interacting with both customers and vendors on the use of the contract.

SEWP V is divided into four groups of contracts, lasting for a base term of five years with another fiveyear option. Each contract has a $20 billion limit:

  • Group A is primarily for large and small OEMs and manufacturers, and was a full and open competition.
  • Group B is a set-aside contract for small HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zones) businesses (Group B(1)), and Service Disabled Veteran Small Businesses (Group B(2)).
  • Group C is a set-aside contract for small businesses.
  • Group D is for both small and large businesses, and was also a full and open competition.

Each of the groups has the same scope.

Missing in the current contract is an open market CLIN (Contract Line Item Number) that had proved popular in previous versions because of the flexibility it provided users to quickly add products to the contracts they had with vendors. However, according to SEWP program manager Joanne Woytek, that didn’t mesh with SEWP’s new push to provide agencies with the control, insight and tracking of purchases they had requested.

Also, she said, many companies had dropped it during SEWP IV for fear of inadvertently breaking any procurement rules and regulations.

The fee structure is also changed in SEWP V, a part of Woytek’s goal to make the fee “as meaningless as possible” to users, while also providing the program office with the means to continue providing the services it now does. Under the new regimen, it will be incorporated into the whole order price instead of standing alone as an add-on.

“Both from our own experience and from comments from both users and vendors, it was obvious it had become something of a burden,” Woytek said. “They weren’t sure how to invoice for it and it had become too confusing, so we decided to standardize it.”

The SEWP fee is currently a flat 0.39 percent of the order size. That’s already one of the lowest for government contracts, but Woytek said the goal is to eventually drive that down to 0.25 percent.

The SEWP program office will also be stepping up its training and outreach efforts for both users and vendors. It will continue to do the one-on-one training and meetings it’s always done, but it’s also now doing those virtually through WebEx as well as increasing its use of videos to help extend its reach. It has an active training forum in which people can bat ideas and opinions back and forth, which is new, as well as an online chat facility for agency users, which more than doubled its usage in May alone.

The office is trying to plan for the growth that’s expected in agencies’ use of SEWP, Woytek said. With NASA’s own IT budget unlikely to increase much in the coming years, much of that growth will come from other agencies, and the program office needs to be prepared to extend services to them also.

“We’ll never be able to meet personally with everyone, so we need to find other ways to get information to them,” she said. “To that end, we’ve totally revamped the way we train and meet with people.”