Q1: Do prospective contractors have to bid on the full volume offered in the solicitation?
A1: No. You may bid on as much or as little of the total volume as you would like. We typically make multiple awards on our solicitations.
Q2: How big is a truckload on your solicitation?
A2: We solicit in full truckload quantities, meaning a full commercial truckload weighing approximately 40,000 lbs. Some truckloads include what we call “split loads,” meaning it is a full commercial truckload that includes delivery to multiple stops. There are typically no more than 3 stops on a split load.
Q3: What is the cost for the desk audit and what is the email address to send request to?
A3: The cost is $108 per hour. The amount of time it will take to complete the audit will vary based on the amount of documentation submitted. The email address is: SCAudit@ams.usda.gov
Q4: Do you know what the volume you anticipate is for the individual solicitations?
A4: At this stage, we cannot say which specific volume.
Q5: If we're already an approved USDA vendor through another AMS program, do we need to requalify for this solicitation?
A5: If you are an approved vendor for AMS’ regular purchase programs, you do not need to re-qualify.
Q6: If we are qualified as a vendor under the Unprocessed Pilot Program, are we already qualified?
A6: No, you would have to register and become approved as a new vendor in order to participate.
Q7: What is the pack size for the table grapes?
A7: 19lbs carton containing multiple retail size bags, averaging approximately 2lbs each
Q8: Solicitations are set for next month with delivery in December - January, and potential later 2019 deliveries. Any news on moving deliveries up to next month? We could deliver as early as next month.
A8: The schedule we've posted is what we plan to go on considering a host of other background factors. We need to plan accordingly with regards to orders and funding.
Q9: We prefer to use this funding this current season, is that possible?
A9: We will take this under consideration.
Q10: How does the bidding process work? Is it a public process? Does each vendor see the bids?
A10: The AMS Master Solicitation for Commodity Procurements is the best reference for understanding the bidding process. There are documents online that outline the process and what information will be provided along the way. Contact us if you have more specific questions.
Q11: Are the audit specifications also published on the website?
A11: These will be posted in the immediate future.
Q12: We would prefer inspection at shipping point, is this possible?
A12: At this time, we are planning for destination inspections. We will take the request into consideration.
Q13: Orders are going to multiple different locations across the country, correct? Delivery periods are in three-day windows, correct? Are there enough inspectors to handle this volume? The recipients are mostly food banks, correct? Can the food banks handle this volume?
A13: Yes, orders are going to multiple different locations across the country. Yes, the delivery periods are in three-day windows. We do believe there is enough capacity from inspections and also within the food banks.
Q14: Are solicitations awarded to just one bidder (e.g. winner takes all scenario)?
A14: Awards are made per item on solicitation. You'll see multiple line items representing destinations. Awards are by line item, not winner take all. Capacity, what's being bid on, and price are the determining factors for awards per line item.
Q15: If we don't have a certificate in hand in time, will this be an issue? We also haven't received the bill yet, is this an issue?
A15: Actual possession of the certificate is not necessary at time of bidding. If the audit has been completed and you're in the system, then you can still bid. Even if you haven't been billed yet, you will likely get your certificate before being billed.
Q16: If our new vendor certification is not yet completed, do we still have time to participate in the October solicitation?
A16: Yes, just make sure your paperwork has been submitted to the New Vendor email address (NewVendor@ams.usda.gov).
Q17: Who will pay for inspections upon delivery? How much does that cost? Is it the vendor's responsibility to schedule the inspection?
A17: Inspections are at the vendor’s expense, which is standard for our programs. Quality inspection costs are listed on the SCI website. Yes, vendors should schedule the inspections.