Why Manufacturers Should Call Their PTAC

Manufacturing Marketing Institute Podcast Features Colorado PTAC

The US government has thousands of requirements for manufactured items – from spare parts to large assemblies – and is always on the look-out for potential new suppliers. Manufacturers with a proven track record in the commercial sector may do well to consider the prospects offered by the government marketplace. For those that do, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) can be an invaluable resource, according to the Manufacturing Marketing Institute’s (MMI’s) recent podcast “What is PTAC and Why should Manufacturers Care?

Attn Manufacturers - Manufacturing Matters podcastIn the June 20th podcast, MMI’s Bruce McDuffee interviews Colorado PTAC Program Manager Dennis Casey and Procurement Counselor Stephen Crawford about government opportunities for manufacturers and how the PTACs can help. As explained by Casey, PTACs work with manufacturers – and other businesses – to develop a customized “road map” that includes:

  • Registrations and certifications
  • Market research to find the right opportunities
  • Communicating with buyers via effective marketing materials and responsive proposals
  • Post award debriefings, contract compliance, and contractor performance assessment reporting

PTACs across the country deliver this assistance through workshops, one-on-one counseling, bid-match and other resources, and “matchmaking” events which offer invaluable opportunities to talk directly with government agency buyers.

Crawford dismissed a common misconception that if an agency already has a supplier, it’s not worth the time to compete. “The DLA alone buys $35 billion worth of goods every year ….. They’re telling me they would really like to find additional sources for these items…. The Competition Advocates and Small Business Officers are there for that reason – to increase our industrial base. That’s very important to the federal government to have a solid industrial base with good competition where the taxpayers are getting good quality items for fair prices …. I definitely would encourage anyone who is thinking about moving with the government to contact a PTAC and get that started.”

The podcast discussion also covers how PTACs are funded, other services they provide – including how they can help businesses identify market opportunities – and a real-life example of how the Colorado PTAC helped a local manufacturer successfully expand its market. Although Casey and Crawford spoke specifically about the Colorado PTAC, they are quick to note that PTAC services are available in every state, as well as the District of Columbia and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam.

The mission of the Manufacturing Marketing Institute is to help manufacturing marketing organizations learn about modern marketing strategy, tactics, skills and technology, providing useful content about marketing in a manufacturing company and the Manufacturing Marketing Matters podcast. For more information, visit their website at: http://mmmatters.com/.

For help with the government contracting and subcontracting, contact your local PTAC.

Visit APTAC’s: Government Contracting Intelligence Blog

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Matchmakers: Bringing Small Businesses and Government Buyers Together

Matchmakers are invaluable opportunities for making connections

Meeting face-to-face with potential buyers is an invaluable component of marketing, whether in commercial or government contracting. But meetings with government purchasing officers can be difficult to obtain, especially for small firms. A great place to gain some exposure –and some experience – is at Government contracting “Matchmaking” events. Many Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) sponsor or participate in at least one major Matchmaker each year, and many government agencies hold their own events as well. Upcoming events around the country can be found on APTAC’s Training Events calendar.

Also known as Procurement Conferences or Government Expos, matchmakers typically bring together acquisition officers from a number of agencies or buying activities to meet with aspiring vendors. Major prime contractors are usually in attendance as well, seeking capable subcontractors to help them meet their requirements. Small business owners and their staff are the primary audience, with workshops offered on basic contracting issues as well as “How to do business with…” specific agencies. Networking opportunities – such as receptions, breaks or luncheons – are often part of the agenda, allowing participants to connect informally with both buyers and potential teaming partners.

Matchmakers - ICBS

But the highlight of the event is the “matchmaking.” A series of “round-robin” meetings – sometimes called speed partnering – is held, during which small businesses owners can have brief (usually 10-15 minute) appointments with agency or large prime contracting personnel to learn more about how they buy their goods and services and to showcase the company’s expertise, leaving the buyer with marketing materials for reference.  It is a rare chance to meet with multiple customers at the same time and place.

 

Matchmaking events can be tremendously beneficial for small contractors, and those that come prepared can gain a competitive advantage by attending. In short, these events offer a structured opportunity to practice all of the components necessary for successful marketing to the government, including:

 

  • Researching ahead of time which agencies are buying what you have to sell, and then further focusing on how you can help them meet their objectives
  • Honing your elevator speech and Capabilities Statement to highlight how your company fills their need
  • Listening closely to buyer requirements and purchasing processes
  • Observing and learning from your competitors – both their strengths and mistakes – and being alert to teaming or partnership opportunities.
  • Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.

Attendance may not directly lead to a contract award (most often it won’t), but the lessons learned and relationships begun can be essential stepping stones to multiple contracts in the months and years ahead.

Your local PTAC can not only alert you to Matchmaker opportunities in your area, they can help you prepare to make the most of them. Our previous blog post, Preparing for Matchmaking Events and Other Government Expos, offers some general tips that your PTAC counselor can assist you with applying to your business and your specific circumstances.

Some small business owners find value in attending several events a year, traveling out of state – or even across the country – for the opportunity to meet with a specific, target agency. Once again, your PTAC counselor can help you determine if this is the right strategy for you, and information on a wide range of PTAC and federal agency events can be found on APTAC’s website at: http://www.aptac-us.org/contracting-assistance/ptac-training-events/ .

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To receive assistance with any aspect of vendor registration with any government agency at no cost, please feel free to contact a PTAC near you.