Perot Systems’ Jeff Neal: Winning competitive bids through strong delivery

Perot Systems' Jeff Neal: Winning competitive bids through strong delivery - top government contractors - best government contracting event

Jeff Neal is senior vice president of contracts of Perot Systems Government Services. Here’s his take on the current contracts environment:

ExecutiveBiz: How if at all is the current discussion of fixed price contracts, etc., affecting your overall approach to new business pricing and strategy?

Jeff Neal: It hasn't changed the markets we're going after but we are ever vigilant as we go through the bid process to make sure that what we're bidding on is the type of technology or the delivery that we're comfortable with. We're not going to bid on something that we can't deliver to the customer because obviously that has tremendous risk to us and our customers.

ExecutiveBiz: What are your pain points, how are you meeting them?

Jeff Neal: Because of the tight federal budget, many of the large systems integrators are going after jobs that they might have passed up several years ago. The number of competitors on each bid are numbers that I just have not witnessed in the past. That's putting pressure on the smallest delivery on our existing contracts to make sure that we are in the best position possible for our recompetes.  Fortunately our delivery teams do a tremendous job. We regularly receive high performance ratings.

ExecutiveBiz: How do you ensure strong feedback from your client base?

Jeff Neal: On a periodic basis we do internal surveys of each of our customers.  The survey is independent; they rate us and send it back to our program management office for an overall senior level leadership assessment of each of the contracts.  If we have a bad rating we require our vice presidents to meet with the customers to ensure that we can turn it around.  Obviously that doesn't happen very often, but when it does we are very much on top of it.

ExecutiveBiz: Any tips for contracts executives on navigating the current landscape?

Jeff Neal: Generally speaking, having small business partners helps in many ways. Number one, we're seeing ever-increasing small business goals on our business prime contracts; since we're focused on great performance we want to make sure the small business partners we bring in can also perform to our standards. The flip side, obviously, is that many contracts are set aside for small businesses in key customer areas.  We want to make sure that we have strong small business partners leading the team, then we can mentor them in that particular contract effort.

ExecutiveBiz: You've also mentioned bidding on the right markets, tell us about that.

Jeff Neal: I think it's important to understand and be realistic about the customer's expectations before you enter into any contract. You can't be everything to every customer.  You need to make sure that the jobs you're bidding on are ones that you can perform well.

ExecutiveBiz: What other best practices help you navigate your role as SVP?

Jeff Neal: Two things come to mind. Establishing a strong relationship with a contracting officer; if you have that strong relationship, you can work with them before anything becomes a problem. The other thing is you want to make sure you stick to the basics. You want to make sure you stay on schedule, that you are meeting the requirements of the contract itself.

ExecutiveBiz: What remains the most fulfilling part of your work?

Jeff Neal: Quite honestly, I enjoy the proposal process and working on the bids, capturing new work and working with my peer sets both in the back office and the operational side of Perot Systems to perform as promised on the contracts.  With that growth comes tremendous opportunities for all of the associates to move into a management position where they hadn't been before.  I enjoy supporting and watching that growth.

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