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  1. #1
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    Default Sole Source letter

    I recently quoted a project for a local police department - minor modification to a search and rescue boat.

    Got an email from my contact in the PD, and was told that due to the project cost, he'd normally have to get 3 bids, but he can't find anyone else in the metro area that does this sort of work, specifically for marine applications, and as such, I'd have to provide a 'sole source' letter.

    Is this typical for the vendor to provide such? Seems like a conflict of interests.

    The project is a fairly simple fabrication job. No intellectual property, no proprietary parts or tooling. On the one hand, I imagine this is just a technicality, because some paper pusher just needs a piece of paper to put in a file, but asking me to confirm a negative seems like it could be held against me in an audit down the road. Project is fairly small - total quote in the $2k range.

    How does this usually get handled?

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    I've never been asked for a sole source justification, but I've done quite a bit of work for municipalities in the past. There always seems to be one hoop or another they make you jump through.

    It's a CYA thing. Will probably never be questioned.

    If it was me, I'd put something in there to state that it was not you that determined you are the sole source, it was the PD who could not get other bids for the job.

    Another option might be to split the work into 2 invoices and stay below the dollar threshold.

    You should ask your contact if they have a form or template to follow- that will make it easier to include the pertinent info- requirements vary.

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    In my experience the PD has this wrong to ask you for a letter.

    I've worked on the contractor and govn't side of DoD procurement. It sounds like someone who doesn't work in contracts is administering this job. Like the maintenance guy instead of the financial folks at the PD.

    The letter is their job. They are doing the source selection. It is they who have some requirement (likely as a govn't agency) to get multiple bids, and it is they who must justify only having one on the books. Maintenance guy needs help from finance folks...they must have same criteria for buying cruisers etc...

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    Two invoices would be more likely to be considered suspicious I think.

    Basically it's a fairly standard anti-corruption test / marker for public bodies come audit time. Idea is to make sure that low end totem pole management aren't giving jobs to their mates for a kick-back.

    For a single job best answer from the 'crat viewpoint is a pair of "no-bid" or "not what we do" returns from other plausible firms. However if you can provide a suitable single source letter it can be a route to a semi-formal single source agreement it that some jobs automatically come your was as you are proven have the capability and to be reliable. I know the UK is different but back when I worked for an MoD research establishment we had such deals in place for certain work avoiding the normal get three tenders process. At higher level we would have formal single supplier agreements negotiated by management and procurement.

    Clive

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    tell them you are not familiar with this, can they supply a precedent....then you can evaluate exactly what it is they're asking you to state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish On View Post
    I recently quoted a project for a local police department - minor modification to a search and rescue boat.

    Got an email from my contact in the PD, and was told that due to the project cost, he'd normally have to get 3 bids, but he can't find anyone else in the metro area that does this sort of work, specifically for marine applications, and as such, I'd have to provide a 'sole source' letter.

    Is this typical for the vendor to provide such? Seems like a conflict of interests.

    The project is a fairly simple fabrication job. No intellectual property, no proprietary parts or tooling. On the one hand, I imagine this is just a technicality, because some paper pusher just needs a piece of paper to put in a file, but asking me to confirm a negative seems like it could be held against me in an audit down the road. Project is fairly small - total quote in the $2k range.

    How does this usually get handled?
    This is standard for public entities, and even for some private companies. I'd write something like this:

    To Whom it May Concern,

    XYZ, Inc was asked to provide a quote to do minor modifications on Mayberry, RFD police department's rescue boat. The project involves fabrication work that is a core competency of XYZ, Inc. The project was bid with the expectation that there would be competition for the bid award. Our quote dated ____ in the amount of ____ describes the scope of work and is attached to this letter. It will remain valid for 30 days.

    Thank you for the opportunity,

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    Wait - uh ... Mayberry is accrost the Carolina line.

    Is he really considered "local" ?


    NOW I can see the concern!


    ---------------------------

    Carolina, I Remember You, Grand 'Ole Lady of the South.
    I Remember You as Home

    Ox

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    I would agree that it's their problem, not yours. I mean, realistically, what are you supposed to start sending out rfq's for your own work just to prove nobody else wants to do it?Doesn't even make sense.

    What if a particular donut shop makes a flavor of donut the cops like, but none of the other donut shops in town make. Do they require a sole source letter from them too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Wait - uh ... Mayberry is accrost the Carolina line.

    Is he really considered "local" ?


    NOW I can see the concern!


    ---------------------------

    Carolina, I Remember You, Grand 'Ole Lady of the South.
    I Remember You as Home

    Ox
    Andy never did reveal where the lake was where they went fishing.....

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    JCByrd24 is spot on. I do sole source justifications for equipment from time to time, and it makes sense we have to do them as we absolutely have to be fair in how we operate with public money. The usual reason is we need to get a machine that is identical to existing equipment. So your sole source is equivalent of "We need a Haas VF-4 since we already have two of them and need to run the exact same programs" The other reason is there really isn't an exact competitor and there is clearly one machine that most closely fits requirements. But quite a lot of bid processes allow the ultimate decision to be made in part at least by people who don't know the details of what's being done very well, so a competitor with a product that really isn't the best fit can basically pull a fast one on the purchasing people, sometimes with disastrous results.

    To avoid this second scenario, companies will provide you with a documents on how they are unique, which you can, if you want, put in your sole source justification. Open bid processes are best for construction or truly large projects, be it software or ship refits, which will attract the interest of multiple bidders and increasingly bad where the markets are smaller and equipment more specialized. I have heard of exactly this situation for specialized maintenance in a semi-rural location, but it must be be the responsibility of the department to have a process to get around this and not involve the supplier.

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  17. #11
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    SSJ is usually handled between the PM and the supply chain folks. Asking the vendor to provide is just silly.

    "I, Cole2534, am the only MFer this side of the planet able to mill 6061."

    Lol

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

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  19. #12
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    Based on all the above suggestions, I sent a brief email explaining that I was unfamiliar with this sort of requirement, and after consulting acquaintance who do these regularly, the consensus was that these are generally done by the purchaser, not the vendor. I asked if they have an example I could use as a reference.

    And, nearly a month later, have heard nothing. Wouldn't it be ironic if they found someone else...

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