Doing business with the US Army/Department of Defense
1. Identify your product or service.
It is helpful to know the Product Service Codes (PSCs) for the types of products and/or services you provide; and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code(s) for the type(s) of industry in which your organization normally does business. Many government product/service listings and future procurements are identified according to the PSC (www.acquisition.gov; click on PSC Manual link) or NAICS Code (www.census.gov/naics).
2. Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and register in the System
for Award Management (SAM).
If you do not have a DUNS Number, contact Dun and Bradstreet to obtain one at
http://www.dnb.com/us/. After obtaining a DUNS number, you should register in the System for Award Management (SAM) for contracts. A DUNS Number and SAM registration are prerequisites for any contract award. SAM is a database designed to hold information relevant to procurement and financial transactions. SAM affords you the opportunity for fast electronic payment of your invoices.
3. Vendors must obtain a Contractor and Government Entity Code (CAGE) or NATO Contractor and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code.
The CAGE Code (for U.S. vendors) and NCAGE Code (for foreign vendors) is a required piece of data for registering in SAM. If you are a vendor located in the U.S. and do not have a CAGE Code, a CAGE Code will be assigned to you when you register in SAM system for the first time.
A foreign vendor must contact its country representative to receive its NCAGE Code assignment. A list of country representatives can be found at http://www.dlis.dla.mil/nato_poc.asp. The NCAGE Code request form is at http://www.dlis.dla.mil/Forms/Form_AC135.asp.
The CAGE Welcome information page is at http://www.dlis.dla.mil/cage_welcome.asp.
4. As a small business, explore programs with the Small Business Administration (SBA).
The SBA (www.sba.gov) offers assistance and certification in preference programs to small business concerns.
5. Identify current DoD procurement opportunities.
Identify current DoD and Federal procurement opportunities in your product or service area by
checking the Federal Business Opportunities website: http://www.fedbizopps.gov
Since many contracting offices also may have their own procurement websites, check with individual contracting offices for other possible sources of information as well.
6. Familiarize yourself with DoD contracting regulations and procedures.
Familiarize yourself with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (http://www.acquisition.gov/far) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) (http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/dfars/index.htm).
7. Investigate Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) and EMALL contracts.
Many DoD purchases are, in fact, orders on FSS contracts. Contact the General Services
Administration (GSA) for information on how to obtain a schedule contract (www.gsa.gov/schedules). To help vendors learn more about both the opportunities and the obligations of being a schedule contractor, GSA is launched a new education program, the Pathway to Success in the fall of 2006. Watch the schedules webpage for more information about this new seminar. Also, vendors interested in doing business as schedule contractors are urged to check out GSA Advantage (www.gsaadvantage.gov), GSA’s virtual shopping mall, to help
recognize the opportunities and competitive environment of GSA Advantage. GSA Advantage provides customers access to over 11 million products and services. The EMALL website (https://emall6.prod.dodonline.net/main/) provides information on how to be a supplier or vendor
for DoD EMALL. EMALL is the DoD equivalent of a dot.com mega store. It allows the DoD customer to have internet access to over 12 million national stock number products and commercial items for purchase and delivery at Government negotiated prices. Buyers can use
MILSTRIP or Government purchase card and have reconciliation power at their finger tips. DoD EMALL provides the transparency, velocity, and versatility that today’s DoD buyers and suppliers demand.
8. Seek additional assistance, as needed, in the DoD marketplace.
There are several important resources that are available to assist you in the DoD marketplace:
• DoD Small Business Specialists are located at each DoD buying activity to provide assistance on how to market to the DoD. See http://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp
• Procurement Technical Assistance Centers are located in most states and partially funded by DoD to provide small business concerns with information on how to do business with the DoD. See and click one of the following “Links”, “Doing Business with DoD, or “DoD Small Business Specialist” http://www.aptac-us.org/new/
• The DefenseLink website: provides links to the homepages of every DoD activity. See www.defenselink.mil. This information can be invaluable in researching the DoD marketplace and identifying your target market. They provide training and counseling on
marketing, financial, and contracting issues at minimal or no cost.
• The Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy website (http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/index.html) provides useful information for vendors doing business with DoD. Click on the ‘eBusiness’ tab for more information on a number of systems with which you should be familiar.
9. Explore subcontracting opportunities
Regardless of your product or service, it is important to consider our very large secondary market. We encourage you to investigate potential opportunities with these firms many of which also have 3 websites that may be useful. We encourage you to consider contractor teaming arrangements. The Small Business Administration’s SUB-Net (http://web.sba.gov/subnet) is a valuable source for obtaining information on subcontracting opportunities. Solicitations or notices are posted not only by prime contractors, but the SUB-Net is also used by other government, commercial, and educational entities.
10. Investigate other DoD programs.
There are several other programs that may be of interest to you, such as the DoDMentor-Protégé Program, the Small Business Innovation Research Program, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions Program. Information on these and other programs is available on the website of the DoD Office of Small Business Programs.
11. Familiarize yourself with the DoD’s electronic invoicing capabilities
We encourage you to register with Wide Area Workflow (WAWF). This tool is DoD’s primary system for the electronic processing of invoices and receiving reports. By submitting your invoices and receiving reports through the Web, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), or File Transfer Protocol (FTP), they will be routed electronically, resulting in more efficient payments to you. More information on WAWF can be found at https://wawf.eb.mil.
12. Market your product or service well.
After you have identified your customers, researched their requirements, and familiarized yourself with DoD procurement regulations and strategies, it is time to market your product or service. Present your capabilities directly to the DoD activities that buy your products or services. Realize that, like you, their time is valuable, but if the match is a good one, you can provide them with a
cost-effective, quality solution to their requirements.