Every successful company in the modular industry has a market segment and product line that works for them, but clearly there is no company that can do everything on their own. Modular dealers bring strengths in financing and marketing, Manufacturers understand traditional modular design and construction, and site contractors have skills in site construction management, scheduling, safety, and quality control. For the modular industry’s role in permanent construction to continue growing, modular companies must expand their relationship with other companies. One key is teaming.
If you ask any government contracting official for one piece of advice pertaining to government contracting, most of them will talk about teaming. Each year the federal government has contracting requirements for the percentage of work they must award to various socioeconomic set-asides. These consist of 8(a), Hubzone, Service Disabled Veteran Owned, and Woman owned small businesses. As an example, the diversity contracting goals for the US Army Corps of Engineers this year are as follows:
- Small Business – 32%
- 8(a) – 18%
- Woman Owned SB – 5.8%
- Service Disabled Veteran Owned SB – 3%
- Hubzone – 10%
This means that if you want to position your company to pursue projects within the various acquisition strategies of the Federal Government, you need to be prepared to team. There are various ways companies can team to pursue a project. The most favorable, in the eyes of the government, is a joint venture. This provides the government with one entity to deal with and the government is assured of the participants because the joint venture is a legal binding agreement. Another method of teaming is a teaming agreement. This is a legally binding document that ties two companies together in pursuit of a particular government requirement. The government perceives this as a little riskier because each entity remains separate and, in the event of a disagreement, the prime contractor could choose another team member that could be less qualified. The third way of teaming is a simple contractor/subcontractor team. This is obviously the simplest form of teaming and is often adequate in the eyes of the government on projects that are relatively small and carry less risk.
In summary, whether the job is large or small, the government will determine which set-aside group the project will be opened up to. It is wise to determine what viable partners are in the different set-asides and begin to vet those companies to determine who you would be comfortable working with. Also, teaming does not always have to revolve around socioeconomic status. Many times a government project requires multiple disciplines and skill sets that constitute the necessity to team. It is important to be aware of the various teaming partners and their core competencies so you are armed with the winning team when bidding on government work.
Ramtech Building Systems is not a wholesale modular manufacturing company. It is a “Design-Build Modular Manufacturing and Construction Company”; however, Ramtech has always felt that teaming was a necessity to success. Through the years, Ramtech has teamed with modular dealers, A/E firms, large general contractors, and socioeconomic set-aside companies. The key to a success team is simple: each member must be competent and contribute to the project’s success; communication between every team member must exist; and the team members must trust one another.
Jeff Ward works in Business Development for Ramtech Building Systems, Inc. He has worked in the modular industry for 13 years serving primarily the Federal Government and the Commercial Markets.