A Contracting Purchasing System Review (CPSR) analyzes how contractors spend government funds and comply with government policy when subcontracting. To prepare for compliance, MIL had to develop an approvable purchasing system, including written policies and procedures to address the 24 DFARS criteria and 40 item DCMA checklist. This is a long and complex process involving coordination from many facets of our organization, however MIL beat the odds and became CPSR certified in February 2019. This is a remarkable achievement as the current pass rate for a first-time review is somewhere around three percent!
The person leading the charge on this two-year team effort was MIL’s Procurement Manager, Christine Curran. She has been with MIL for a little over eight years and oversees the daily operations of the procurement department to ensure the products and services we purchase are in line with both MIL’s Procurement Manual and the FAR/DFARS Regulations—not an easy feat. We asked Christine how she and her team accomplished such a hard-charging goal and she was happy to sit down with us to give us the scoop!
Q: How did you become so deeply involved in the success of MIL’s CPSR Compliance process?
This certification was a key goal identified when I first began with MIL. Implementing the measures and documentation necessary to achieve this goal has been my main focus and I am glad to see it paid off on the first try.
Q: What were 2-3 of the biggest challenges you and your team had to navigate to pass the audit?
One of the biggest challenges was making ensuring we were able to comply with our internal processes as well as with the FAR/DFAR Regulations. This required us to update our files and organizational systems to make sure we met compliance requirements.
Q: How were you and your team able to organize all the information and files necessary to show the auditors? What systems or tools were helpful to you?
Over the past two years we have created an extensive checklist to create a checks-and-balances for each file. This helps us audit our own processes and ensure our system stays compliant with FAR/DFARS and our own Procurement Manual.
Q: What part of the process did you enjoy most? What part was the least enjoyable?
I think the best part was obviously passing the audit on the first try—this was a huge win for all of our team’s hard work. Only three percent of companies pass on their first try, so we are extremely proud of that! The least enjoyable aspect was waiting for the final determination after we addressed minor discrepancies.
Q: What advice would you give to other MIL employees to encourage them to participate in this process and be successful?
My advice to other MIL Team employees is to identify and go after departmental and individual professional certifications… doing so increases MIL’s overall ability to gain new business and grow, which in turn offers opportunities for individual growth, promotion, and challenge. All of which keep it interesting!
Q: Is there anyone on your team who you would like to recognize for their contribution to this effort?
This effort could not have happened without the entire Procurement and Contracts teams—and I am not just saying this. Each one of us contributed specific talents, determination, encouragement, and expertise that led to our success on the first try! Without Wanda Davis, Kathryn Butler, Mary Calhoun, Debora Vincent, Jennifer Brown, Shannon Mitchell, Carol Coffren, Katharina Price, and Heather Littleford, along with Greg May, Michael Means, and Jim Sullivan—this certification would not have happened! Their hard work made this look easy; but it was an exciting challenge for our team!
With this certification, MIL can benefit significantly from reduced government transactional oversight, limited notification or consent requirements, reduced cycle times, and increased contract opportunities in future procurements. Congratulations to Christine and our MIL Contracts and Procurement Team—Well Done!