The Government’s Technical Data Packages (TDP) can be a bit tricky to read, but we will get you through it with minimal pain.
One of the biggest lessons that I learned in Government is that liability falls on the shoulders of the seller. That’s why it is critical to only use drawings obtained through your service provider for making a quicker bid/no-bid decision.
When proceeding on with a bid decision always obtain the complete TDP from the government, this will ensure that you have not overlooked anything that will effect your bid price.
Viewing Technical Data Packages (TDP)
Viewing government technical data can be a challenge. The problem that many of us have is the ability to read files provided in our Technical Data Packages (TDP). These TDPs usually contain a mixture of C4 and PDF files.
The government does provide a free C4 viewer that works well for viewing a single file, but is difficult to use in that it will not save the C4 file in other formats (like PDF), and is sometimes cumbersome to print from.
Download Free Government C4 Viewer
The government link above tends to load slowly; you can also try to Google; ImageView or IndexR. Using these free viewers work great for making quicker bid/no-bid decisions.
After making a bid decision, the best way to work with these files are to convert them into one PDF document. This allows us to easily browse the files for critical information affecting our pricing strategy.
You can Google: batch convert C4 to PDF (or image converter, image viewer/converter). At no to little cost, this type of software saves valuable time when it comes to printing our technical data package for production.
Note: Years ago we used the free version of reaConverter for converting C4 to PDF, occasionally the program did not convert all the files, but program notification always identified ‘no conversion’, so it was not a big issue to us.
We hear a lot of good things about the ‘XnView’ software through our clients, but have not personally checked it out at this time.
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Communicating with the Government
To ensure a better response from government buyers, we advise placing the following in your email signature; CAGE code, JCP certification number (if needed), and your company’s set aside(s)
Remember, these are known as your credentials for selling into the market. Having these listed in the email can remove the hesitation of a government buyer responding to you.
Whenever emailing the government, always be sure to ask for a read receipt. This shows them that you are documenting your request, and are aware of policy and procedures; increasing the likelihood of a response and not getting blown off.
Note: Always remember that liability is on the shoulders of the seller. Using this simple technique will have you in the habit of protecting your liability at all times.
If you have a phone conversation, simply send a confirmation email summarizing the conversation, this give you documentation.
A September to Remember
October 1st begins the Government’s fiscal year, so September is heavy with discretionary spending. The goal is to simply spend the remaining funds in their budget in order to maintain funding levels.
Discretionary spending is often referred to as low hanging fruit, because the government has the right on expenditures 3K or below, to place orders directly with us instead of posting and competing the request.
This type of spending is often done by using a Government Purchase Card (GPC), this is nothing more than a credit card. If you are not set up to accept credit cards, we strongly advise you do.
During this time many buyers will turn to the SBA’s Small Business Administration Profile page as a means of quickly looking for a qualified business meeting their objective. If you are not listed on this website you are missing out on some great exposure for your business and possibly some easy opportunities.
It is important that we document all conversations with the Government as a way of protecting liability. The burden of proof is on the seller and documenting prevents the he said – she said.
Have a question or concern? Feel free to contact us.