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Session 13: Vendor's Experience - Case Studies & Issues

Thursday, July 17, 1997
2:45 - 4:00 pm


The "Vendor's Experience - Case Studies & Issues" session was very well-attended (standing room only) and quite heated. In the session, vendors vented their frustrations at trying to secure government contracts. The frustration that was voiced by almost every vendor who spoke was the lack of awareness and communication within the government regarding procurement issues and regulations. Nearly every vendor spoke of quoting government regulations to a government official who was not familiar with some aspect of the process of procurement. Another frustration voiced repeatedly was that securing a government contract required filling out a prohibitive amount of paperwork and signing documents that appeared to be internally inconsistent. A third barrier offered by vendors in attendance was the necessity of competition between vendor's products for a contract to be awarded. Some vendors offer products which are environmentally superior to similar products but are unique in their composition. These products cannot  be purchased by the government because competitive bids cannot be found.

Thomas Wren, from the University of Pennsylvania's Small Business Development Center, had several pieces of advice for vendors who were frustrated by their attempts to secure government contracts. He said that the government must be catered to by suppliers just as any large organization must be catered to by suppliers. He said that in order to do business with the government one must, "be in the business of doing business with the government." He noted the Small Business Administration could offer help to suppliers trying negotiate their way onto government procurement lists and encouraged frustrated vendors to utilize this resource. 

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