Much as the US supply chain and procurement processes are interwoven within the complexities of the bureaucratic establishment of the government, great strides have been achieved towards the realization of equal opportunities for all. The US government’s affirmative action has facilitated equal access to business opportunities to small-sized, medium-sized and large firms alike. However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that supplying businesses in the US can win lucrative tenders without strategy and effort.
Indeed, there exist to much competition within the different categories of business segmentations that only those companies with the capacity to successfully apply the component of competitive advantage to their strategies stand out to be counted. This case study analyzes the impact strategic elements of one large business in the United States, the Boeing; and one small business in the United States, Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women and how the strategic approach facilitates their successful bids to supply goods and services to the US federal government.
The Boeing is a company that specializes in the manufacture of both commercial and military defense and aerospace systems. The company was founded in 1916 in Seattle but has since shifted its headquarters to the city of Chicago in Illinois. The Boeing Company has been one of the leading suppliers of commercial airlines, space defense systems and military aircrafts to the US government for many decades now. The company’s successful relationship with the US government stems from its advanced production systems and unrivalled R&D pursuits. The Boeing Company also supplies the US government with specialized air force military equipments such the fleet for air refueling tankers.
The Boeing company can bid on the current RFP issued by the US Army Department has currently issued an RFP for the supply of four different models of aircrafts for public and military use. The three aircraft models are: LCCS designed to be committed towards public utility; C-12 and RC-12 versions of military turboprop aviation utilities and the UC-35 model that is widely used by the different units of the US National Army. The notice for this contract was issued in January 28, 2009 and response will be due in March 2009. The contract award is expected to take place in early months of 2010.
The Army Material Command Center (AMCOM) is responsible for the procurement of the stated aircrafts and prefers a single source supplier for items. The RFP is a multibillion procurement process requiring enhanced organization technical and resource capacity to meet the set delivery, after sale services and warranty conditions. The Boeing Company faces tight competition for this RFP from other renowned aircraft and aerospace military equipment manufacturers that include: Northrop Grumman, Aviation Technology Group, Naval Aircraft Factory, Columbia Aircraft, Call Aircraft Company, Ace Aircraft Manufacturing Company, Bell Aircraft and Travel Air.
The Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women is a Nebraska based small business organization that specializes in imparting knowledge and financial literacy to women with the objective of transforming women populations in the United States to successful entrepreneurs. According to information from United States Department of Labor, Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women been winning many bids to execute the United States government’s Wise Up financial literacy programs women because of its formidable track record, wide outreach and presence in all the states of America.
The United States government has already issued an RFP for additional Wise Up financial literacy programs for women in the United States. According to the US Labor Department, the yet to be allocated RFP is titled “Wise Up Implementation Initiatives for Promotion of Financial Literacy” has been designed as a sequel to the prior Wise Up programs that are already being implemented by Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women.
The RFP was issued by the US Women’s Bureau Agency, designed to be allocated to a single source contractor, valued at about $25,000 and set to be released on September 30, 2009.The other organizations that are competing Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women for this RFP opportunity include: Central Vermont Community Action Group, Career Transactions Incorporated, Wayne Enterprises LLC, Women Entrepreneurs Incorporated, Vermont Works for Women, Connections to Success, Pennsylvania Women Network and Missouri Women in Traders.
The Boeing Company and Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women stand a good chance of placing winning bids for the RFPs because of their organizational capacities and track record of supplying goods and services to the United States government. The Boeing Company’s biggest asset is its brand name. The Boeing brand name is synonymous with both commercial and military related aircrafts and it is more of a household name not only in America but also the world over. The Boeing Company further enjoys competitive advantage in terms of resource mobilization, manufacturing capacity and advanced technology because of it big size and leading manufacturer of integrated aircraft systems in the world.
Given that RFPs, just like any other kind of business commitments, present as much risks as benefits, only those companies with sound resource and management capacities stand to rip most from their competitive elements (Carroll, 2007). Moreover, The Boeing Company has in place advanced R&D programs that have enabled the company to set a fast pace in the discovery and adoption of new space safety technologies, an attribute that is likely to be accorded much consideration by the US government during the procurement process.
The multi-billion nature of the RFP favors the Boeing Company’s possibility of securing the winning bid for the RFP because of its past track record in successfully handling supply of materials equipments of such financial and technical magnitudes. The technical and delicate nature of aircraft and aerospace defense systems and military equipments demand consistent logistical support and compliant repair and maintenance standards, requirements that favor the Boeing Company over its competitors because of its resource capacity.
The Boeing Company is further favored by demanding clauses in the RFP that require the supplier to commit to both standard fixed pricing and flexible reimbursable terms because of its stable financial infrastructure which can accommodated such conditions without hurting its productions activities and financial standings. Being a publicly listed company, it is easier to derive the different parameters of performance, consistency and reliability of the Boeing Company by simply estimating investor attitudes.
The Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women’s chances of success to present winning bids for the financial literacy programs stems from the company’s success in executing the pilot phase of the program that it is currently implementing. The US Women’s Bureau Agency will find it easy to award the winning bid to Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women so as to achieve transition efficiency for the program. Awarding the bid to a different company may introduce new challenges and transition difficulties that may impact negatively on the final outcomes of the programs.
However, the decision to award Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women the wining bid will also be influenced by the organization’s competitive capacity to implement the programs on a nationwide scale. The company’s nationwide network gives it an advantage over its key state-based competitors. However, the chances of Friend’s of Lincoln-Lancaster Women to bag the RFP are threatened by the low capital nature of the program. The $25,000 budget limits is affordable by very many small businesses, a situation that increases competition among applicants. The company will therefore have to go an extra mile to justify why it should be preferred against the other applicants as there are possibilities of high rates of qualifications from competing companies bidding for the same RFP.
So far, it is evident that competitive advantage plays a major role in the supply chain and procurement processes (Carroll, 2007). Whereas large companies such as the Boeing Company draw their competitive advantage from their infrastructure and resource capacities, the competitive advantage of small companies is limited to their operational capacities because of lack of adequate resources. Therefore, it is imperative for small businesses to showcase their abilities to meet stated RFP conditions as much as possible (Carroll, 2007).
Moreover, large businesses draw competitive advantage from the capitalistic nature of large projects which many companies find it difficult to meet. The Boeing Company also enjoys a strong brand name, a competitive advantage that ultimately places the company above its competitors. The mere recognition of a brand name may go a long way in providing a company with the much needed favors in government tendering and RFP processes (Wolf & Gillert, 2008). Good governance practices and performance parameters too are good indicators for winning government contracts. Above all, companies seeking US government contracts must satisfy the requirements and limits of the country’s national and international standards on business, environment, health and safety.
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