The Federal Procurement Data System is a powerful tool often overlooked by vendors. As a database of all awarded contracts valued at $3000 and higher, FPDS can help business owners scope out their competition and stay on top of market trends in Federal procurement.
There are a number of ways to use FPDS, many of which are simply too detailed to cover in one blog article. While FPDS is a very powerful tool, it can also be difficult to use and will require quite a bit of use before the user becomes familiar with all of its features and quirks. The two features we’ll briefly touch on here are the ezSearch and Report functions.
The FPDS ezSearch allows you to search awarded contracts valued at $3000+ and contract modifications of any dollar amount. This information is important to contractors because it helps determine which agencies in the Federal government are buying particular products and services. The results will also clue vendors in on who these contracts have gone to in the past, allowing them to position and market themselves appropriately.
To perform a search in ezSearch type in your search criteria in the ezSearch bar on the homepage. It’s best not to enter more than one criterion from the same category. For instance, don’t type in two NAICS codes or two states in the same search. Once you submit the search, there are a variety of options allowing you to further refine or sort the search results. To view the details of a contract, click the “View” link next to the Award ID number.
To use the reporting function, you will need to be logged in to FPDS. Clicking on the “Standard Reports” button will allow you to choose from quite a number of reports in different categories. As an example, clicking “What” and selecting “Total Actions by NAICS” will allow you to search and find out how much the Federal government is spending in each NAICS category, with capabilities to filter by dates and agencies. Using these tools will not necessarily get you the details available by using ezSearch, but they are much easier to use and will give you a much broader picture of the Federal spending trends as a whole.
Ad Hoc reports are also available for users who want to have more control over the data in their reports, however the standard reports are a good starting point and will satisfy the needs of most vendors using the system for marketing purposes.