NOAA Acquisition Manual

Main Table of Contents

Subchapter B- Competition and Planning

Part 1330-10 Market Research

1330-10.002 Procedures

1330-10.002-70 Vendor Demonstrations

Part 1330-10 Market Research

1330-10.002 Procedures

(e)  Contracting officers shall document market research results using:

  1. The AGO Template entitled, Market Research Report Requirements at or below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, for actions at or below the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT).

  2. The AGO Template entitled, Market Research Report Requirements above the SAT, for actions above the SAT.

  3. Exceptions: The market research report templates are not required for (1) orders to be awarded against mandatory use or first consideration strategic sourcing vehicles managed by DOC Enterprise Services or NOAA Strategic Sourcing Acquisition Division (SSAD); (2) requirements that are in the 8(a) program and will continue to be procured through the 8(a) program; and (3) orders issued against a single-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract or single-award blanket purchase agreement (BPA) where market research was conducted to determine a single award vehicle was appropriate for the estimated or total value of that vehicle.

    1. When an exception applies, the contracting officer shall document the contract file with a statement that the requirement is being met through one of the exceptions listed above. 

    2. Orders issued against a vehicle that has an option for a small business set-aside at the order level (such as ProTech) is not covered by the exceptions above. Market research is needed to determine if a set-aside is appropriate. 

  4. Request for a Waiver.  The use of the market research templates prescribed under 1330-10.002(e) are required, unless a waiver has been granted by the NOAA SBPO. NOAA AGO contracting officers seeking a request for a waiver shall provide supporting details using the Transmittal Memorandum Template.  The request for a waiver shall be submitted through the AGO POD as an SBPO Review.

1330-10.002-70 Vendor Demonstrations

(a) General

As part of NOAA Line Office (LO)/Staff Office (SO) market research, vendor demonstrations can be a useful way for NOAA LOs/SOs to stay abreast of the types of products, technology, and/or services available in the marketplace that may be useful to support NOAA operations and programs. If not properly authorized and conducted under an executed written agreement, vendor demonstrations can pose an unacceptable risk to the Bureau. During the conduct of such demonstrations, it is essential that NOAA LOs/SOs exert caution to avoid revealing advance procurement information or take any actions that could incur an unauthorized commitment that must later be ratified by a contracting officer.

(b) Policy

  1. For purposes of this policy, vendor demonstration is the broad term used to include the authorized demonstration, examination, display, test, or loan of a vendor’s product, technology, and/or service available in the marketplace with the potential to be useful in support of NOAA operations and programs. Vendor demonstrations are conducted for the purpose of demonstrating capabilities as part of NOAA’s ongoing market research activities conducted before developing new requirements documents for an acquisition.

  2. Vendor demonstrations, as set forth in this policy, are not to be confused or used interchangeably with formalized pre-solicitation or pre-proposal vendor engagement strategies or communications conducted under the guidance of the contracting officer for a specific acquisition (see the Department of Commerce Vendor Communication Plan for more information).

  3. A vendor demonstration shall not be used for fulfilling or augmenting current mission requirements or operational needs, nor shall it be used to conduct long term or extensive NOAA testing or loan of vendor products, technology, and/or services.

  4. Vendor demonstrations may only be conducted at no-charge to NOAA with the understanding (via a NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement) that there is no commitment, express or implied, by NOAA to endorse or purchase the product(s), technology, or service(s) demonstrated. Vendor demonstrations may take place on-site at a NOAA facility or at a mutually agreed upon location.

  5. Any NOAA assessment of a vendor demonstration regarding whether it meets or has the potential to meet agency needs shall remain internal to NOAA. As such, NOAA shall not provide evaluative feedback to the vendor (e.g., “qualified” or “disqualified,” “pass” or “fail,” or similar feedback).

  6. This policy does not apply to instances where NOAA LOs/SOs attend public vendor fairs and conferences where multiple vendor booths and displays are available in order to provide information to attendees about their company capabilities.

  7. A fully executed NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement between NOAA and the vendor must be in place before commencement of all vendor demonstrations. The agreement ensures the rights of both parties are clearly delineated, provides details specific to the planned vendor demonstration, and ensures no costs or liabilities are incurred by NOAA.
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(c) Roles and responsibilities
  1. The NOAA Sponsor, as identified by the NOAA LO/SO Division Director, or equivalent, shall:
    1. Serve as the point of contact for communication among all parties, including the vendor and any NOAA staff involved in the process;
    2. Ensure compliance with any required security and/or other access requirements and procedures;
    3. Arrange for any Government-furnished information technology or audiovisual support necessary for the demonstration;
    4. Coordinate with the appropriate NOAA office to obtain any required approvals or restrictions (e.g. information technology compliances, environmental or safety issues, etc.) regarding the planned demonstration prior to processing the request;
    5. Provide any restrictions to the vendor to ensure compliance; and,
    6. Monitor the vendor activity while the vendor is on-site at the NOAA facility.

  2. The NOAA LO/SO Division Director, or equivalent, shall:
    1. Identify the NOAA sponsor described in (c)1;
    2. Review and concur or non-concur with the proposed vendor activity via the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Request and Approval Checklist;
    3. Provide guidance regarding any technical or other matters related to the vendor demonstration; and,
    4. If in agreement with the proposed vendor activity, provide concurrence on the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement as the NOAA LO/SO Representative or authorize the NOAA Sponsor to sign on his/her behalf.

  3. The Head of Contracting Office (HCO) for the LO/SO’s servicing Acquisition Division is the approving official for any NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement and shall:
    1. Review and approve or disapprove via the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Request and Approval Checklist;
    2. If in agreement with the with the proposed vendor activity, approve the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement as the NOAA Acquisition and Grants Office (AGO) representative (signature authority is non-delegable);
    3. Ensure that the demonstration, if allowed, will not provide the vendor an unfair competitive advantage in any current or potential procurements; and,
    4. Provide the NOAA Sponsor any additional guidance or training required to prevent a ratification action resulting from the demonstration.

The HCO should consult with the Contract Law Division (CLD) for any questions or concerns regarding   the specifics of a planned vendor demonstration prior to executing the agreement.

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(d) Procedures
  1. The NOAA Sponsor prepares and submits the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Request and Approval checklist and the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement for the required reviews and approval. The timeline to process the request will vary depending on the particulars of the planned demonstration.

  2. The LO/SO Division Director, or equivalent, reviews the submitted checklist and agreement to ensure accuracy and completeness and to determine the overall benefit of the vendor demonstration activity to the organization. The LO/SO Division Director, or equivalent, indicates concur/non-concur on the checklist and may specify any restrictions or guidance deemed appropriate to conduct the vendor demonstration. The LO/SO Division Director, or equivalent, will sign the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement, to indicate concurrence with the vendor demonstration activity, and may authorize the NOAA Sponsor to sign the agreement.

  3. If the demonstration is to be presented to attendees from a particular NOAA program, the NOAA Sponsor shall route the checklist and agreement through the applicable Program Manager for concurrence/non-concurrence.

  4. Once the checklist and agreement have concurrences from the LO/SO Division Director, or equivalent, and the applicable Program Manager (where (d)3 applies), the NOAA Sponsor shall route the documents to the HCO who reviews the planned activity. The HCO may restrict or prohibit the vendor’s activity if current or anticipated procurements could be adversely affected.
    If the HCO agrees with the vendor demonstration activity proceeding, the HCO indicates approval on the checklist and executes the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement as the approving official. The HCO may also specify any restrictions or guidance deemed appropriate for vendor and/or NOAA attendee activity during the vendor demonstration. In the event the HCO disapproves, the rationale will be provided on the checklist and returned to the NOAA Sponsor.

  5. Once all required internal concur and approval signatures have been obtained, the NOAA Sponsor obtains the vendor’s signature on the NOAA Vendor Demonstration Agreement.

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