Organizational Input Requirements

Once the work breakdown structure and activity schedules are established, the program manager calls a meeting for all organizations that will submit pricing information. It is imperative that all pricing or labor-costing representatives be present for the first meeting. During this "kickoff" meeting, the work breakdown structure is described in depth so that each pricing unit manager will know exactly what his responsibilities are during the program. The kickoff meeting also resolves the struggle for power among functional managers whose responsibilities may be similar. An example of this would be quality control activities. During the research and development phase of a program, research personnel may be permitted to perform their own quality control efforts, whereas during production activities the quality control department or division would have overall responsibility. Unfortunately, one meeting is not always sufficient to clarify all problems. Follow-up or status meetings are held, normally with only those parties concerned with the problems that have arisen. Some companies prefer to have all members attend the status meetings so that all personnel will be familiar with the total effort and the associated problems. The advantage of not having all program-related personnel attend is that time is of the essence when pricing out activities. Many functional divisions carry this policy one step further by having a divisional representative together with possibly key department managers or section supervisors as the only attendees at the kickoff meeting. The divisional representative then assumes all responsibility for assuring that all costing data are submitted on time. This arrangement may be beneficial in that the program office need contact only one individual in the division to learn of the activity status, but it may become a bottleneck if the representative fails to maintain proper communication between the functional units and the program office, or if the individual simply is unfamiliar with the pricing requirements of the work breakdown structure.

During proposal activities, time may be extremely important. There are many situations in which a request for proposal (RFP) requires that all responders submit their bids by a specific date. Under a proposal environment, the activities of the program office, as well as those of the functional units, are under a schedule set forth by the proposal manager. The proposal manager's schedule has very little, if any, flexibility and is normally under tight time constraints so that the proposal may be typed, edited, and published prior to the date of submittal. In this case, the RFP will indirectly define how much time the pricing units have to identify and justify labor costs.

The justification of the labor costs may take longer than the original cost estimates, especially if historical standards are not available. Many proposals often require that comprehensive labor justification be submitted. Other proposals, especially those that request an almost immediate response, may permit vendors to submit labor justification at a later date.

In the final analysis, it is the responsibility of the lowest pricing unit supervisors to maintain adequate standards, so that an almost immediate response can be given to a pricing request from a program office.

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