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Military Guns and Ammunition

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This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons, particularly in larger calibres (12.7+mm).

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RFP paperwork   Small Arms <20mm

Started 22/5/17 by poliorcetes; 564 views.
autogun

From: autogun

22/5/17

It does seem hard to understand.

I gave a presentation to one of the European small arms firms last year, which included the following:

One final issue: what to do – and not to do – to win competitive contracts. These days lawyers can get involved in disputing major contract awards, so the purchasers will adhere to every detail of the requirements which they issued in their request for proposals.

First of all read the request for proposals very carefully and identify all requirements – technical and presentational. Get two or three people to read it to ensure that nothing is missed. Draw up a comprehensive list and issue to all concerned to ensure that your proposal adheres to every detail of the requirements. Give someone the specific role of checking compliance with the requirements at every stage.

Technical requirements: the gun specification must obviously be complied with in every detail. An example of how not to do it occurred in the competition for the British Army's 7.62mm Sharpshooter rifle a few years ago. LMT, who won the contract, were not expected to do so: the favourite was a much bigger and better-known company.  But the specification demanded a 16 inch barrel (why, I don't know, but the customer is always right) and the favourite supplied a rifle with a 20 inch barrel – so their proposal was immediately rejected for non-compliance.

Presentational requirements: provide all of the documentation requested in whatever format is required, with accurate translations of all of them if asked for. Do not rely on Google Translate – which has happened, and resulted in rejection for being unintelligible – employ a native-standard speaker to read through everything to check that it is accurate and clear.

Practical gun tests: if details are provided, study the proposed tests, run your guns through them, modify as necessary until they pass every time.

To sum up: to win contracts, it is not enough to make the best guns. You must apply the same professionalism and attention to detail in meeting the competition requirements as you put into designing your guns.

 

poliorcetes

From: poliorcetes

22/5/17

Thanks, Tony!

I wonder how those managers dare not to invest modest sums of money. I just cannot understand it, because in other industries it's a mandatory and very valued resource. I have participated in several R&D programs, both national and European, and the guys in charge of the paperwork were some of the most valued people involved and for good reasons. No matter how good you are developing an R&D project if you fail at stage zero: filling correctly what you are supposed to fill, and guessing correctly what are the implicit metrics beyond the clear, explicit ones.

I'm talking about less than 3M euro tops, small money in European or National terms. I just don't get why much bigger RFP are not treated with much more attention. I.e., as you can see, my English is far from perfect. However, we invest money in grammar and vocabulary checking for every proposal, because it's not a matter of being understandable, but of being as perfect as you can.

autogun

From: autogun

23/5/17

I might add that exactly the same principles apply for a job application. I used to plough through applications for quite senior positions and it was amazing how few of them actually met the requirements, in terms of the information wanted in the specified format.

Incidentally, the same applies to written essay exams: spend time analysing what the examiner wants, jot down the key points you need to make, and only then start writing. So many people just dump whatever they know on the subject onto the page in a disorganised mess. I learned this when doing mock exams as a student, when I was surprised to gain my highest marks for answers about which I knew the least - it was because I had to really concentrate on answering the questions.

 

 

poliorcetes

From: poliorcetes

23/5/17

Maybe part of the problem is that individual weapons are still relativelly unimportant for the decission makers, although they actually are :(

Mustrakrakis

From: Mustrakrakis

24/5/17

poliorcetes said...

I would like to make sense of how an established company such as FN could fail with the paperwork of the most important RFP of the last... 5 years? 10?

What is more interesting is why the paperwork was not an issue until the decision came down to H&K and FN.  Did no one read it before the competition was almost over?

autogun

From: autogun

25/5/17

Mustrakrakis said...

What is more interesting is why the paperwork was not an issue until the decision came down to H&K and FN.  Did no one read it before the competition was almost over?

As I understand it, it wasn't the initial paperwork which was at fault but some additional info that was asked for at the final stage. And it wasn't an FN/HK runoff - IIRC there were five on the shortlist.

 

Mustrakrakis

From: Mustrakrakis

25/5/17

autogun said...

And it wasn't an FN/HK runoff - IIRC there were five on the shortlist.

Don't quote me on a number, but that sounds about right.  It was my understanding that things had progressed basically to H&K and FN by the end.  Or am I misunderstanding the situation?

Obligatory disclaimer: I do not speak French, and Google Translate is problematic sometimes.

EmericD

From: EmericD

26/5/17

Mustrakrakis said...

autogun said...

And it wasn't an FN/HK runoff - IIRC there were five on the shortlist.

Don't quote me on a number, but that sounds about right.  It was my understanding that things had progressed basically to H&K and FN by the end.  Or am I misunderstanding the situation?

Obligatory disclaimer: I do not speak French, and Google Translate is problematic sometimes.

We started this competition with 5 competitors and "finished" with 5 competitors.

While it's true that FN Herstal and HK were the first two to fulfil all technical requirements, the final choice was made not before July 2016 and the end of the final technical evaluation of the 3 other candidates.

During this competition, each candidate was allowed to change the content of its offer if a requirement was not fulfilled, so we had to evaluate 10 offers from the 5 candidates.

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