June 05, 2013

Does your company use Blanket Purchase Agreements? If not, why not? DCMA likes them, and has been known to recommend increased use of BPAs as a CPSR result.

DCMA makes that recommendation when it identifies a high volume of seemingly repetitive purchases from one or more vendors. From DCMA's perspective, if it is reasonable to anticipate a high dollar value of repetitive purchases from a vendor or group of vendors within a calendar year then the contractor should determine whether or not BPAs are a viable award option. The reason - public law compliance. Because the dollar value can be reasonably anticipated and the terms and conditions are set for the purchases (since the overwhelming volume of contractor item purchases are assumed by DCMA to be commercial item procurements it is anticipated during data call review that the terms, conditions and flowdowns are identical for repetitive item procurements), DCMA prefers that anticipated ceilings be set as high as possible to ensure documentation of adequate public law compliance applicable to the total purchase activity.

Besides being DCMA's preferred contracting method in certain situations, BPAs are a great tool for streamlining day-to-day documentation requirements. Because the BPA is an open contracting vehicle and compliance has been set at the high ceiling value, purchase orders issued during the period of performance are releases and do not require separate compliance documents as long as the items purchased were reviewed as part of the BPA award.

That means all of those small $31K files that require EPLS, Reps and Certs, Price Analysis, etc. disappear as the documentation is already there as part of the BPA. All that is needed are the requisition, the request and response, and the purchase order within the ceiling. Two additional considerations that won't apply to every BPA:

* EPLS should not be required for release POs over $30K in value, but it won't hurt to run EPLS if you're going with a "better safe than sorry" approach. DCMA has had a weird recent history with the imposition of the EPLS requirement so hedging towards "safe" may not be a bad idea.

* If the BPA or any portion of it is rated, please flow 52.211-15 in full text into the PO and get written acknowledgement for POs with a ceiling value exceeding $75K ("overcompliance" via obtaining written acknowledgement of rated POs with a lower dollar value is not necessarily frowned upon).