Issues & AdvocacyFederal
The first step in working with the federal government is becoming a registered vendor. Doing so provides your firm with a unique identification number and gives you access to forms and information about contracting opportunities. Registering is mandatory, but easy. Here’s how:
1. Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number
Assignment of a DUNS number is free for all entities required to register with the federal government by a regulatory agency, including federal contractors and prospective government vendors. It is a unique nine character ID number provided by the commercial company Dunn & Bradstreet. The process to request a DUNS number takes about ten minutes. Please call the government-dedicated, DUNS number self-request line at 1-866-705-5711 or visit their website. Note that as a result of obtaining a DUNS number, you may be included on Dun & Bradstreet's marketing list that is sold to other companies. However, you can request to be "de-listed" from that marketing file.
2. Central Contractor Registration (CCR)
The CCR is the federal government's primary vendor database. The CCR collects, validates, stores and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions. Current and potential government vendors are required to register in CCR in order to be awarded government contracts. Vendors must complete a one-time registration to provide basic information relevant to procurement and financial transactions. Vendors are responsible for updating/renewing their registration annually to maintain an active status.
CCR validates vendor information and shares the secure and encrypted data with federal agencies' finance offices to facilitate paperless payments through electronic funds transfer (ETF). CCR also shares the data with government procurement and electronic business systems. Note that any information shared in a vendor's registration may be shared with authorized government offices. Access the CCR online registration through the CCR homepage and click on "Start New Registration." The CCR handbook describes the registration process and contains a blank template of the full registration and sample letters in the appendix.
3. Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code Assignments
The CAGE code is a five character ID number used extensively within the federal government. The Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS) administers the CAGE code system and has placed a CAGE code search feature on the internet to help determine if a code has been previously assigned to your company. If not, the CAGE request process is incorporated in the CCR registration; upon activation in CCR, your company will be assigned a CAGE code. CCR is an authorized source for the assignment of CAGE codes. Vendors that require a CAGE code for a Security Clearance or for the assignment of a DODAAC code do not need to go through CCR. They can submit the request on DD Form 2051, "Request for Assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code.
4. Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) Implementation
The Federal Acquisition Regulation was amended in December 2004 to require offerors to submit representations and certifications electronically via the Business Partner Network, replacing the paper-based Representations and Certifications (Reps and Certs) process known as Section K. Offerors are encouraged to complete an Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) as soon as possible. To prepare for this requirement and to register in ORCA, vendors will be required to obtain a Marketing Partner Identification Number (MPIN). Vendors create their MPIN in the Central Contractor Registry (CCR). Please note that the MPIN may also be used to access the vendor’s accounts in other Business Partner Network (BPN) sites, such as Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) and Federal Technical Data System (FedTeDS).
SF 330 Part II (General Qualifications) has been incorporated into the Online Representations and Certifications Application. Submission is voluntary; however, it will increase a firm's visibility in the federal marketplace and may lead to contracting opportunities exempt from public announcement.