Selling bulk metals and metal services to the Government is not an easy task. In fact, many companies trying to sell these goods or services respond to active Government bids, but fail to understand the process – these responses go unnoticed.
So what are they missing? Approval.
The Government has instituted a Qualified Suppliers List for Distributors (QSLD) Program through DLA for Bulk Metal products (Federal Supply Group 95).
The Metals Prime Vendor Program provides a variety of quality metal products when and where the Government buyers need them. It provides mill certification and documentation with every metal order, eliminating the need for customers to test the material once they receive it.
All QSLD contracts cover ferrous and non-ferrous metals, products and services. Internet-based catalogs allow customers to shop on-line and send orders electronically to the prime vendor.
The Government’s Benefits for Buying Through the QSLD
Scrap and Salvage for Removal Services
Customer Defined Ordering
Surge and Sustainment Provisions
Technical Support, Cutting, Shearing Services
Bulk Metals and Metal Services Covered Through the QSLD
Core Item Stocking
Qualifying for the QSLD
Qualification for placement on the Qualified Suppliers List for Distributors (QSLD) – You must display evidence of using a documented quality control program which meets the program’s criteria.
The objective of the program is to ensure that you routinely control your processes; to provide consistent delivery of products that conform to contract and specification requirements.
Does this mean that you need to be ISO Certified? Unless you want to sell bulk metals to the BIG Primes, ISO certification is not mandatory – ISO compliant is.
However, you must have a QAP (Quality Assurance Program) that shows trace ability and documentation. Your QC must be used for both Government and Commercial Business, and applied on a day to day basis.
If you have multiple locations it is important to note that each location must have a separate CAGE, and each location must be qualified for placement on the Qualified Suppliers List for Distributors (QSLD) – You must display evidence of using a documented quality control program which meets the program’s criteria.
Your Quality Control Check List
QC Manual Includes:
Delegation of QC Authority
Company’s Organizational Chart
The company shall maintain, for 6 years, the following categories of records as part of their quality records system.
Records to be kept:
a. Mill certification reports.
b. Material test reports.
c. Inspection results.
d. Customer orders, contracts, delivery orders, purchase orders.
e. Calibration documents.
f. Invoicing and receiving documents.
g. Non-conforming material and corrective actions, including recall actions and customer notifications and responses.
h. Internal & External Audit documentation.
i. Personnel training procedures and certifications.
Length of Time for QSLD Approval
DLA Troop Support’s QSL team will evaluate your compliance with established criteria and determine whether a site-survey is necessary. Overall qualification cycle typically requires about 8 to 12 weeks to complete (assuming company is reasonably compliant); you are notified of the results.
Once approved, you will be required to re-qualify every 3 years. To ensure that no gap in qualification status occurs, you should request a qualification package from the QSL Office at least 120 days prior to expiration of your current 3 year qualification period.
Just because you become qualified does not mean that you will get orders. As with most multiple awards, you should not overlook the importance of marketing directly to your buyers.
Identifying specific buyers and keeping your message consistent will gain you name recognition and increase the likelihood of more orders.
RFQs are not your only source for Government revenue, other sources include smaller Primes; such as fabricators, machinists and the construction industry