Good is Baseline, Better is Competitive

I used to have a coach that would tell us “early is on time, and on time is late” when we came in for practice. If you were only ‘on time’, you ran laps, and I spent a lot of time running laps.

It wasn’t until after a few years of customer-facing professional roles that the lesson really connected: in business, meeting the requirements is not the same as being competitive (there’s a life lesson too, but that’s for another blog). Truly serving your customers isn’t about offering a good product or experience, it’s about a better product or experience. Good is baseline, but better is competitive.

Better can mean more innovative, more customized, cheaper, or faster. Whatever it means in the metrics of an individual market is where organizations need to be looking for opportunities to improve. History tells us that no matter how special our sauce is or how rarefied our position, there’s no safety from better.

Finding those opportunities is a main objective of a motivated sales team, so when one lands in their lap, it’s incumbent upon them to recognize it and act. For example, in 2019, a major JetCo client began handling hazardous materials, but without Department of Transportation (DOT) certification, we were unable to help them move it. We evaluated the opportunity, built a training plan, and brought in a partner to help get the certification for our operations staff. Our sales team also demanded certification in the spirit of better understanding the business.

Did we expect to ever rate a shipment? Would we ever need to know how to read a code on a bill of lading? Not likely, but knowing how the sausage is made was intended to help us go beyond the “yes” for our clients, and help get into that consultative, problem-solving mode that we love so much.

Fast forward to 2020, and we’re seeing the unintended effects of that decision. The same clients that asked us about HAZMAT last year are now reaching out with a new project: COVID vaccine storage and transport. As that supply chain develops, partners who can handle dry ice (it’s hazardous!), pressurized gasses, and related materials are finding themselves fielding capability requests, JetCo Federal included. Without responding to the original request with the intent of becoming better for our clients, we would have never put ourselves in the right position for these opportunities.

The lesson in this isn’t TED-talk profound, being better at something isn’t a new way to competition. The secret is building the culture of being able to identify those opportunities when they appear and harness them effectively.

 

beta.SAM.gov Becomes Official Website for U.S. Government Federal Contracts

beta.SAM.gov will become the official U.S. government website for people who make, receive, and manage federal awards. The General Services Administration (GSA) manages federal acquisition and awards processes in 10 online websites, which are now being merged into one, beta.SAM.gov. When the consolidation is complete, users will be able to seamlessly leverage vast stores of data, discover a wide range of award opportunities, and make more informed and effective award decisions. Before the merge to beta.SAM.gov, the JetCo Federal sales team used two of the ten websites for research and capture activities daily: FBO.gov or FedBizOpps and FPDS.gov Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS).

FedBizOpps

FBO.gov or FedBizOpps was the single government point-of-entry (GPE) for federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers were able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps. Through one portal, FedBizOpps, commercial vendors seeking federal markets for their products and services could search, monitor and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire Federal contracting community. It retired one year ago on November 8, 2019.

Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)

Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) is an automated system used to collect and report on federal procurement spending. It is the single authoritative repository for federal procurement award data. On October 17, 2020, FPDS’ reporting functions migrated into beta.SAM.gov. This includes static, standard, administrative, and ad hoc reports. The rest of FPDS functionality will remain in place at FPDS.gov. After the transition, the reports module in FPDS will be retired and beta.SAM.gov will be the only place to run contract data reports.

The transition to beta.SAM.gov will be easier for our team to navigate using one platform rather than 10 different websites. The centralized location will simplify daily tasks and increase business knowledge by providing one powerful search tool, one robust reporting tool, and one workspace to manage work.

Benefits of the Transition

Once the transition is complete, beta.SAM.gov will have the same federal business opportunity capabilities that are found today in FBO.gov. There will also be improvements, such as:

  • The ability to search for opportunities by number, keyword, or location for more precise results (including easy-to-use search filters)
  • Easy to read headers that will allow you to reference key information quickly
  • The option to access previous versions of opportunity notices with one click
  • The ability to set up notices, with a simple click, that will notify you when frequently used contract opportunities are updated
  • The ability to manage alerts easily through a new user workspace (frequency, turn on/off)
  • A user-friendly design with logical navigation and industry best practices embedded
  • Shared login, search, workspace, data services, reports, and a design that will allow you to leverage other IAE system data easily

There are many benefits from the transition that will improve our teams efficiencies and effectiveness. The transition will allow our team to find better government opportunities, which then flows down to our suppliers and allows them to have more government work. Overall, beta.SAM.gov will provide a wide range of award opportunities for government contractors.

 

JetCo Federal’s Sister Company Launches Nonprofit to Support Veterans

JetCo Federal’s sister company, JetCo Solutions, has established a nonprofit to expand their annual donation drive to focus on year-round support of veterans. This year’s Veterans Day drive will adapt their typical collection drive for local vets to be more sustainable in the face of COVID-19. Although the annual drive has been a staple of JetCo’s holiday celebrations for years, the company is adjusting their approach to include a contactless donation drive, through For the Vets, to benefit veterans living in the state’s two designated veteran’s homes.

“Normally, we get a wish list from the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and then engage our clients and the community,” said Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Jon Tellier, President at JetCo Solutions. “This year, we’re approaching our mission a little differently. We’re solely holding a donation drive through our newly established nonprofit, For the Vets.”

The nonprofit’s mission is clear. For the Vets aims to demonstrate gratitude for retired veterans through community acts of kindness and generosity. This year’s donation drive will aim to provide funds and wish list items to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette. Both of these organizations host holiday parties for each unit in their building.

“COVID-19 has been especially hard on our veterans,” said Sarah Johnson, who is the Volunteer Coordinator at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans. “The members really look forward to events like these. Celebrations help boost the veterans’ moods, especially during a particularly tough year like 2020.”

For the Vets aims to collect enough donations to cover both locations’ celebrations and purchase additional gifts for the veterans. Since the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans also participates in Christmas Star Gift Tags, For the Vets is hoping to fulfill as many of these tags as possible.

There are four available donation tiers, ranging from $100-750. Each donation directly impacts the homes and purchases anything from an entire wish list of items to funding for one of the 16 separate holiday parties.

 

Donations for this specific initiative will be accepted November 11 – December 11 so the proceeds can be given to each home before the holiday season. If you are interested in donating, please visit forthevets.org or contact marketing@jetcosolutions.com.

JetCo Federal Adds Hazardous Material Handling to Transportation, Warehousing Capabilities

JetCo Federal, a Grand Rapids-based supply chain management and warehouse supply company, recently added hazardous material handling to its supply chain management, transportation, and warehousing capabilities.

Hazmat certification is required for workers who handle, remove, or ship hazardous materials. JetCo Federal’s sales and operations teams have completed hazmat certification training, allowing the company to fulfill hazardous material orders and transport hazardous materials.

“This is an extension of how we work for our customers,” said Erik Greene, Director of Sales and Marketing at JetCo Federal. “A client identified the need for contractors who have this certification, and we jumped at the chance to deliver additional value.”

Hazmat certification incorporates general, function-specific, safety, and security training for all employees managing hazardous material operations.

Greene said, “We’re proud to be a company who handles complexity for our clients, and this certification adds to the ways we can provide comprehensive solutions in the market.”

For more information about JetCo Federal’s services, please visit www.jetcofederal.com.