If you’ve been following this series, we’re learning that the U.S. government tends to do the majority of its procurements within the final quarter of the fiscal year – July through September. Department of State is among the non-defense agencies that do an even higher percentage of their procurements in Q4 than average. But what about the defense agencies?
The Department of Defense agencies, for obvious reasons, post many more solicitations and award a much higher volume of contracts every year that non-defense agencies. So even a subtler preference for an end-of-fiscal procurement season is impactful to those in the industry.
The Defense Logistics Agency does the highest volume of contract awards by far. But as they are basically the routine procurement shop for the entire armed forces, they maintain a pretty consistent solicitation schedule – very close to 25% of its RFQ/RFP posted each quarter.
Air Force has the most significant fiscal year-end preference, though a somewhat lower total volume of procurements. Air Force posts about 9,000 solicitations each year on average, compared to 13,000 – 14,000 for Army and Navy. However, 42% of Air Force’s postings occur between July and September, and 25% of proposals are due in September alone.
Note that, unlike Department of State, the procurement surge is spread more evenly over the final quarter of the year. That is, solicitations are posted a bit more consistently throughout Q4, but the majority are still due in September. Air Force also has some overflow contract award activity into October, which is a bit unusual.
A breakdown by product and service code reveals the types of contracts that drive Air Force’s procurement seasonality. Product buys are a large component of the trend.
Air Force does the vast majority of it’s IT equipment purchases (53%) at fiscal year end – executing procurements at such an increased volume that there is sometimes spill-over into October of the following fiscal year. And while it’s somewhat obscured by the scale of the chart, the seasonal disparity for furniture and specialized equipment is similarly drastic – 46% and 61% of contracts awarded in Q4, respectively.
A look at services highlights one interesting tidbit. Apparently the Air Force uses up some budget at year end to upgrade office space. 73% of its contract awards for the maintenance and alteration of real property occur in Q4 – 54% in September alone.
So get ready for the deluge of Air Force RFP and RFQ. Track the agency here on GovTribe to get a daily digest of new postings and awards. You can also set up Alerts filtered to Department of the Air Force from the Project Explorer and start adding opportunities to your Pipeline. Take a look at our video tutorials on Alerts and Pipeline to get started.
In my next post I’ll talk about seasonality trends for the rest of the DOD. But send us an e-mail if there’s a specific agency you’d like us to cover.