Technical Data-What Is It?
Technical data comprises of the specifications and standards that define the requirements for the material, product or service. It also includes the engineering design, manufacturing specifications, and drawings for determining whether those requirements have been met.
Under federal regulations, the specifications cover only the government’s minimum needs to encourage maximum competition. The government uses specifications only when they know exactly what it is that they want and need.
The government is moving to purchase more commercial products based on commercial specifications and standards. Therefore, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Part 12 applies when purchasing products or services.
Types of Government Specifications
There are two categories of government specifications:
- Federal Specifications – Federal specifications cover materials, products or services used by more than two federal agencies. The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for providing these specifications for all federal agencies. Federal specifications are found at https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/purchasing-programs/requisition-programs/gsa-global-supply/supply-standards/index-of-federal-specifications-standards-and-commercial-item-descriptions or contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).
- Military Specifications – Military specifications cover products or services that are intrinsically military in character or commercial products modified to meet special requirements of the military. Naval Publications and Forms Center (NPFC), located in Philadelphia, PA describes them. NPFC stocks and issues Department of Defense (DoD) printed and digital matter without charge to federal agencies and the general public. Documents distributed by NPFC include military specifications and standards, federal specifications and standards, Qualified Product Lists (QPLs), Military Handbooks, and Departmental Documents. Again, contact your local PTAC because many PTACs offer military specifications and standards as part of their services to their clients.
Getting Correct Specifications
These days, finding specifications and standards can be as easy as logging onto a subscription service on the Internet. Subscription services can get you the specifications quickly and easily but can be expensive. On the other hand, your local PTAC can provide you with the specifications you need and, in most cases, will either charge only a small fee or provide them for free. Either way, it ensures that you get the specifications required by the solicitation. You can find your local PTAC here: http://www.aptac-us.org/
CAUTION On Technical Data
If there appears to be a conflict or question regarding the specifications make sure you get it resolved immediately. Do not try to second guess the government. Making the wrong assumption about a specification can end up costing you big money.
Ordering Technical Specification
Normally when you order the solicitation from the buying office, they will send the necessary technical data package with it unless the documents are common and are only referenced. If the buying office doesn’t send the technical specifications, then you will have to contact the resource identified in the solicitation. Because of the government’s shift to the Internet and e-commerce environments, the solicitation may include a web site where you can download the necessary documents and the appropriate readers for the drawings.
Technical Data Helpful Tip
You may want to think about developing your own library of the specifications and standards that you use most often. Make sure to bookmark a website for later use when you find a good site on the Internet. Many products or service require government specifications. Review the solicitations that match your core business and save the technical data for future use. By building your technical data library now will help you in the future.
With the government making the move to procure more off-the-shelf solutions it is easier now than ever before your small businesses to be able to submit proposals on government solicitations. However, you are still required to make sure that your products or services meet the minimum standard identified by the government. It is also easy to obtain the specified drawings, diagrams and technical data need. Most of the time these items are contained in the proposal packages.
The only difficulty that you may face when bidding on military solicitations are higher tolerances on the products that you are producing. Remember that you must meet the minimum requires set forth in the solicitation package!
We hope that found today’s topic beneficial and can apply our helpful tips into your business strategy. For more topics on government contracting please go to our blog. As always, a copy of today’s show note will be available to our podcast audience. Until next time, be safe.