BuyTrain News

July 2012

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Personal Safety Thought:

The safety lessons we learn at work are just as important for our family and friends.  The problem is finding a way to share safety suggestions, without being a pain in the rear. Try thinking of the problem as a work-related issue. The ability to influence others is a characteristic of good leaders and an important tool in supplier management. How to convince a project manager to provide a detailed specification - with a positive outcome? How to convince your spouse to wear eye protection when working in the shop?  A worthy effort and a good chance to practice our leadership skills.


Responsible Suppliers & Price Realism

Those of us working in the world of Federal Acquisition Regulations are essentially doing the same job as Supply Chain Managers in the commercial world. We are both trying to maximize the value of our supply chains by finding the right suppliers and creating successful contracts. The major difference is that government procurement regulations require a rather complex and well-documented process. One annoyance is that supplier protests [complaints] about the process have to be litigated to ensure all suppliers are given an equal and fair chance.

Although often decided based on arcane Federal Acquisition Regulations, some of the analysis provided by counsel, can be insightful and compelling. Even for folks who work in a strictly commercial acquisition environment, the principles described can be worthy goals in our quest to add value to Supply Chain processes.  Read the complete article

Suspect and Counterfeit Parts:

A recent GAO report and my comments . Bottom line: caveat emptor

Make sure you are buying from a responsible supplier. If it is a supplier you have not used before, do some homework: check references, verify business location and whatever else it takes to establish the supplier’s credibility. A responsible supplier won’t mind proving it – since it gives him a chance to proves he is better than the competition.  Read the complete article

Qui Tam Lawsuit & False Claims Act

The False Claims Act, provides severe liability for anyone submitting false or fraudulent invoices to the government. A Qui Tam lawsuit - refers to a way that some whistleblowers are rewarded for reporting the false claims made by contractors. Here is an article that describes the process. Link here

Personal Development

Professionals develop their own professional development programs! No one would want to use a doctor or a tax attorney who hasn't kept up with the latest advancements. If you doctor said " I don't keep up with current medicines because my manager won't pay for it," would you stop using that doctor?  Is our profession any different? Are we prima donnas who only learn what our managers require and pay for? Are we willing to let someone else will take responsibility for our professional development.  Read more....  Here is sample strategy

Contract Types

I was asked to provide a reference for determining contract types.

The type of contract used directly affects the cost risks and performance incentives for both the buyer and seller. As a result, determining the correct contract type is one of the most important tasks that a Buyer performs during the acquisition process. It’s a teamwork process with the Buyer in the lead, coordinating with the project, based on the work required and completeness of the Statement of Work, with analysis of the cost risks, cognizance of the Federal regulations about contract types and contract financing.

The rationale for the contract type and associated controls placed in the contract is a material part of the contract award process and file summary. It’s an auditable issue, particularly if the auditor thinks that we might have overspent the contract because we selected the wrong contract type.

Here are some training materials discussing contract types and the issues to consider when selecting a contract type.

DOE manual guidance on selecting the type of contract

DAU Contract type reference charts

DAU Article about selecting the correct type of contract

Misc. Definitions

7:45 am –  Work has a way of filling an empty space. Just a few of the different topics I’ve needed to look at so far today…………..

Q. What is a Certificate of Incumbency?

A Certificate of Incumbency is a document used to confirm the identity of the signing officers of a corporation. Sometimes it also confirms the names of directors and shareholders as well as minute book contents. A Certificate of Incumbency is often used to prove that a particular individual is authorized to enact legally binding transactions on behalf of a company.

Q: What does Escheat mean?

The term is often now applied to the transfer of the title to a person's property to the state when the person dies intestate without any other person capable of taking the property as heir.

Q: Where is escheat covered in Washington State Code?
(2) Escheat estates;

(a) Escheat of an estate means that a person dies, whether a resident of this state or not, leaving property subject to the jurisdiction of this state without being survived by any person entitled to the property under RCW 11.04.015 (descent and distribution) and the property reverts to the state.

Q: Where can I find a description list of Service Contract Act Exemptions:


My Resume... Note to Self:

Do you want a career that pays for what you do or pays for what you know?  It's a trick question. Neither is worth much on a resume - if it's exclusive. We all know very smart people who don't contribute much to the bottom line of the organization. Some people slave away, day after day - but fail to add value. Others pontificate - but don't produce.

Most managers can read between the lines on a resume. A successful career has to balance both knowledge and action. I know X and used my knowledge and experience to do Y.


ISM News

ISM Web Site - New and Improved!

ISM has revised their web site. It’s been a long process, but ISM has finally posted the new web site. Improvements include easier navigation, more direct links to often used resources and faster response.

 However – it will take some familiarization – because it’s really different!

I’d suggest you use this change as a program opportunity for members. I know everyone is busy planning programs for next year, and this would be a worthwhile program & relatively easy to produce. Give a geeky member a wi-fi laptop with a projector and let him/her lead the safari during your program.

 I’d suggest starting with a simple handout/roadmap of important information for members to know ( like how to log in for members-only content) and also take some questions from the audience. Make it fun and share knowledge or challenges about locating information on the site. 

Educational? Absolutely. ISM web site resources, and tools are a valuable part of membership. People who don’t take the time to learn about all the good information available – are missing out. Take a look at the menu item PRODUCTS, TOOLS & resources… for example.

Software Tips

Instead of railing against new technology – get even with it. Learn to use new software tools to your advantage. People who say they don’t have enough time to read instructions, learn about software tools and practice new features – never will have enough time.

Schedule Appointments in Different Time Zones

Following the Olympics – but challenged by the time zone translation? Display a second time zone in your Outlook Calendar.  Here’s a short example in Outlook 2003.  Note: this trick also helps at work when you regularly communicating with a contractor in a different time zone.

Speaking of time zones – kind of a geeky fact you can bet with your friends. Did you know that the sun rises earlier in Richland, WA than it does in Seattle, WA – even though we are in the same time zone!  How can that be?  No, I’m not going to explain it – but I will give you a link to a web site than you can use to find the sunrise/sunset times. If you need an explanation – waive a Twinkie around until you attract a 10-year old geek.  Resource:

 Here is another interesting site to visit – no it’s definitely not cute kittens.

My Favorite Word Spelling Tricks  

Q: How do I get spell checker to stop trying to correct duplicate words that are correct – like:  Walla Walla ?

 Q: How can I simplify the repetitive typing of the same phrase - like: Department of Energy?

Q: How can I avoid spell checker allowing a properly-spelled word that I would rarely ever use in a work-related document - like pubic?

Q: How can I use spell-checker to always flag words that I often mistype - like from and form?

Here's how


CCR, ORCA, EPLS moving soon!

SAM moving this weekend - they hope. SAM is the new government web site, which consolidates registration information about government contractors and vendors. 

Why do I care? I’m not a government buyer. Because the searchable database gives us a free and easy way to view detailed information about potential suppliers. It’s not comprehensive – but a resource worth becoming familiar with nevertheless.

For example: The Central Contractor Registry, includes the legal name, DUNS number, address, principle contacts, and industry classification. Good information to have on file.

CCR, ORCA and EPLS will be incorporated. Contractors will register in SAM and we will do our contractor searches using SAM.

Here is a cute SAM Flyer for the graphically oriented folks:

A link we’ll want to provide to our contractors: Federal Service Desk – Answer center 

SAM web site - System for Award Management (SAM)

I expect most gen-X and Y staff should be able to figure out the new site without help (come on, you know who you are).  I expect using SAM will be intuitive to any gen-z people (no droid app yet). The rest of us Baby Boomers – might need remedial demonstrations when time permits (don’t laugh – we remember when there were socially-redeeming TV shows like Dobie Gillis, I love Lucy and Leave it to Beaver) (if you are unable to discern your generation – get a head start here)

SCAMS & Confidence Tricks ;

Interesting list in Wikipedia  [No don't ask why I was researching this information ]

Census Results by State

Beneficial Reuse

Avoid disposal costs by sending surplus and used materials to be repurposed.

Revelation by GAO

Wonder how much it cost for them to finally figure this out. Recommendation is superb… “…see if you can think of something to do…”   More amazing, if you follow the thread - is that a congressional committee asked for the study.


Provide Feedback and suggestions for future newsletters at any time. I'll try and use what I can.

I really do appreciate those of you who take the time to write and comment on this newsletter! As always, you are welcome to use my articles or presentations for educational purposes. Just as long as you are not charging for the materials and credit the source.  



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