DHS supply chain effort places potential burden on businesses
Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners, details the efforts to secure contractor supply chains, and the possible impact it would have on small businesses
The Department of Homeland Security is looking to secure the government supply chain, which means that more and more questions will be asked of suppliers and their subcontractors. While DHS is hashing out what the final protocol will be, Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners, says that proving security is going to be a major burden on smaller contractors.
“I think it’s a burden particularly in two areas. First, you have to show that your supply chain is secure and that can be difficult for a small business because you’re often buying through distribution, there may be more layers involved, so there’s more time and expense in being able to show that where you got everything you’re selling to the government is legitimate and that you’ve been able to keep track of it all the way through. That costs something,” said Allen. “It also can be difficult for small businesses because it might be difficult for a smaller business to have a voice in what that secure supply chain protocol is going to look like.”
Allen said that most businesses should already have a baseline for when the new contracting protocol is put into place.
“It’s not really wait and see because secure supply chains aren’t a new thing in government acquisition. The use and expectation is spreading, but it really started in DoD acquisition several years ago,” Allen told Government Matters. “This shouldn’t be the first time that an experienced government contractor is hearing about the need for secure supply chains. We should have some idea of making sure that ‘Who are our contractors? Who are our distributors? Do we get it directly from the manufacturer…’ If you’ve been doing business for a while with the government, you should have some of those steps already in place.”