Our past two blogs in this series have looked at the scope of opportunity for Canadian exporters inside the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and some of the mechanisms and agencies involved in its procurement ecosystem. With that knowledge under your belt, here’s how to position your company as a potential DoD supplier.
Missed the previous blogs in the series? Here are links to them: What's a DFARS? and You don’t have to be a defence company to sell to the U.S. DoD?
Because U.S. DoD procurement is complex and decentralized, there are a few places you need to upload information about your company and products or services. You’ll also have to apply for a few important registration numbers so buyers can buy from you.
Getting the details right will make your interactions with the U.S. DoD as smooth as possible, so we recommend giving yourself enough time to do the following carefully, and in order:
1. Note the codes for your product or service
If you don’t already have these on hand, look up and make a note of the Federal Supply Class or Service (FSC/SVC) codes, Product Service Codes (PSCs) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that relate to your products, services or main area of business. You may be asked to identify your offerings using any or all of these codes as a bidder.
2. Get your NATO Contractor and Government Entity (NCAGE) code
Contact the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) and request your NCAGE code. As a foreign vendor, you need an NCAGE code to register your business in the U.S. System for Award Management (SAM) — the database for all major U.S. federal government contract opportunities above USD $25,000.
3. Get your Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number:
This is also required if you want to do business with the U.S. government. You can obtain it by registering with Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Be sure that the legal business name and physical address you use exactly match the information you used to register for your NCAGE code.
4. Register to access U.S. DoD bid opportunities:
As mentioned above, the U.S. System for Award Management (SAM) is the database for all major U.S. federal contract opportunities. Or you can register for Canada’s Global Bid Opportunity Finder (GBOF) web app which is optimized for Canadians with auto-translated opportunities in English and French.
5. Check for opportunities:
When you register with GBOF, you can sign up for notifications of bid invitations that are relevant to your company. You can also find opportunities on FedMall, the U.S. DoD e-commerce ordering system. And of course you can find opportunities on the procurement websites of the various military departments themselves.
6. Build awareness of your product or service:
Industry trade shows, symposia and summits are critical to establish the connections you will need to begin a sales cycle. You can find a comprehensive listing of events at National Defense Industrial Association website. It’s also a good idea to talk to someone at your local office Trade Commissioner Service about events and conferences relevant to your target buyers.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be well positioned to start bidding on U.S. DoD work.
How to submit a bid to the U.S. DoD
Every year, CCC contracts and manages up to a $1 billion in contracts for Canadian companies with the U.S. Department of Defense. Because we serve as prime contractor for all contracts awarded over USD $250,000, we’ll need to take your company through CCC’s due diligence process to onboard you - we review the managerial, technical, and financial details of your business and then do a price certification of your proposal to ensure the price is fair and reasonable to the U.S. DoD buyer.
For guidance on preparing your bid or proposal, download our eBook Seizing Opportunity: Developing a Winning Proposal for practical guidance.
If you’re ready to submit a bid or you’re preparing a proposal right now, you can book a 30-minute consultation via email with a CCC contract manager to ensure your proposal meets the criteria.