I’m studying and need help with a Business question to help me learn.
Peer 1 (Reed):
Customer satisfaction is something that every business related environment should strive for in some way. When it comes to acquisition, how we accomplish this is through fulfilling the customers requirements on time and with quality products. Sometimes I feel that we can help our customers out by assisting them, with defining a requirement. Through personal experience I can say that I definitely do not always want to take the exact requirement that a customers claims they need and begin conducting market research. The majority of the times, the requirement received isn’t nearly defined enough. A lot of problems can occur when this happens. When the requirement is too broad, it can lengthen the amount of time spent in the market research phase and this can get in the way of meeting deadlines. How often, in your office, can you take word fro word requirements from a customer and go out to the public market and find exactly what you’re looking for? In most situations, you are going to have to work with the customer to better define the requirement so that you can be more efficient at obtaining said item or service. One of the ways that we do this at my office is we offer classes once a week that all of our customers are welcome to come and sit in, where we explain what exactly we are looking for in the purchase requests we receive. It makes our jobs easier when we get exactly what we need from the customer and also helps us efficiently obtain the exact requirements that they are looking for. This is beneficial for both of us and is one of the ways that we ensure customer satisfaction.
Peer 2 (Dee):
Both the buyer and seller (contractor) should be considered as the customer as well as any other stakeholder involved in the contract life-cycle process. According to the CMBOK 6th edition, the best way to manage and promote customer satisfaction is through effective communication. This is done by maintaining open communication between the buyer and the seller, and keeping them informed and included in the process as much as possible. Keeping customers aware of the progress of a contract as well as being clear with them on what to expect is another way to manage and promote customer satisfaction. Also knowing the customer and understanding their needs can also help maintain a positive relationship.
I’m not sure if I’m on the right track for “identifying opportunities and issues and problems when revising and consolidating requirements from multiple customers”, but here are my thoughts on it. Consolidating the requirements of multiple customers is good business for the government and could be another great way to manage customer satisfaction. According to FAR 7.107-2, the potential benefits of combining customer requirements are as follows:
(1) Quality improvements that will save time or improve or enhance performance or efficiency.
(2) Reduction in acquisition cycle times.
(3) Better contract terms and conditions.
(4) Any other benefit such as cost savings.
Speaking from experience, consolidating requirements is not always easily done. When the requirements are identical, the process is much smoother and everyone is happy. When there are revisions to what a customer wants in order to save time and cut cost, the customer is no longer being valued. There are plenty of compromises made on both the buyer and the seller when consolidating requirements which can often lead to unsatisfied customers.
Peer 3 (Derek):
Customer satisfaction, whether it be as a contracting officer managing a contract post-award or in any other profession, is about expectation management. Up to the moment where the contract is awarded, a contracting officer is managing the requiring activities expectations by providing them with knowledge and feedback as to where in the process of getting their contract awarded is at once the contract has been awarded through the requiring activity has an expectation of contractor performance, whether that be in the simple delivery of a commodity or the performance of a service.
Contract surveillance, quality management, and assurance are comprehensive skill sets that an entire other profession is founded upon. Depending on the type of contract, contract amount, technical difficulty, and most of all level of risk being managed are what will dictate what kind of contract surveillance will be required. The endstate is the same, though, which ensuring contract performance for the satisfaction of the requiring activity.
There is another component to understand contract surveillance and its role in ensuring customer satisfaction, and that is providing the requiring activity with earned value. The definition of that earned value is different for each contract. Still, it is something that had to be clearly defined since it is what a contract surveillance professional or a project manager is constantly measuring. Earned value in its simplest of terms is “bang for the buck,” did the requiring activity get the maximum bang for they’re bucking out of each contracted dollar.
Issues arise in being able to provide good customer service though in a contract post-award when requirements were not adequately written. This issue may be caused for several reasons, but the usual suspects are performance measures that can not be easily measured, miscalculation of contract budget, and requirements that were not included in the scope. The consequences are scope creep, contractors underperforming due to performance measures not being properly defined.