By: Erin Westerman, Marketing Manager, B2Gnow
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will help improve and modernize Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs. However, the steps involved for affected organizations will be complex. With change on the horizon, many airports wonder how their programs will internally support these pending requirements. Will they have the staff, resources, and tools needed to manage the proposed changes?
As your organization begins strategizing about future compliance, we’ve identified five of the most challenging requirements airports may face and suggestions on actions to take now to prepare.
- Prompt payment and Retainage – How well equipped is your staff to monitor and track the proposed prompt payment and retainage compliance revisions? Time to get your ducks in a row.
As stated in the NPRM, your DBE program must take affirmative steps to monitor and enforce prompt payment and retainage requirements. To stress the importance, they propose including an additional paragraph stating that the conditions within this rule are intended to flow down to all lower-tier subcontractors. Reliance on complaints or notifications from subcontractors about a prime’s failure to comply with prompt payment and retainage requirements will no longer cut it. Does your airport have a plan to take affirmative steps to monitor prompt payment, as stated in § 26.29? Organizations using B2Gnow’s Contract Compliance Module have no worries! The system is already tracking goal compliance based on payment amounts to primes and subs and payment dates. Payments are reported and electronically confirmed for amount, date received, and promptness. It also enables contractors to easily report retainage as outstanding or paid. B2gnow’s tracking and reporting power puts all this information at your fingertips to ensure your subcontractor community is paid in full and on time.
2. Uniform Report – This report is already known to be time-consuming and comprehensive, and given the new proposed requirements, will your airport be equipped to collect and track this new required data?
The Uniform report, consisting of DBE utilization data, is submitted annually to the OA(s) that provide funding to them. The NPRM seeks to revise the Uniform Report to include additional data that would assist the OAs and the Department with evaluating whether the DBE Program is progressing toward meeting its stated objectives. This expanded data collection could include additional fields for contract numbers, NAICS codes, and DBEs decertified during the reporting period, just to name a few. While there is no standard software to handle the Uniform Report’s requirements, more than 400 organizations, including more than half of all DOTs, and hundreds of transportation and aviation authorities/organizations use B2Gnow to automate, manage and report on all required information. The proposed changes will have little effect on their current data collection and reporting processes. The proposed data is native to the B2Gnow database, which means these fields are already available for reporting, allowing them to easily produce all required information with little to no impact on staff.
3. Bidders List – Does your airport have the staff or tools to efficiently obtain and enter bidders list data into a centralized database?
In the NPRM, The Department proposes revising § 26.11(c) to require recipients to obtain and enter bidders list data into a centralized database the Department would specify. B2Gnow helps organizations to maintain, track and report on procurement information that may be required through this proposed change. The B2Gnow system offers a variety of tools that help DBE programs to easily build and maintain bidders lists, including modules that manage proposals, utilization plans, outreach, contract compliance, and bid management. The more robust the system, the more data can be collected and reported on to be prepared for any change!
4. ACDBE Small Business Program – Will your airport have the capacity to manage and report on this entirely new program?
This proposed revision to the rule, as stated in the NPRM, will replicate the DBE program’s small business element requirements for the ACDBE program. Notably, this means it would require airports to take steps to eliminate obstacles for participation by smaller ACDBEs and submit annual reports on their small business elements. While this may seem burdensome, B2Gnow already supports hundreds of organizations to seamlessly manage and automate diversity certification processes and electronically compile complex reports with the click of a button. Additionally, the B2Gnow staff have years of combined experience with the B2Gnow system and working in the industry. Many have helped implement such programs and deeply understand the complexities involved.
5. Timely Processing of Certification Applications – Is your airport prepared to handle the complex certification process with more stringent deadlines?
The NPRM proposes limiting a certifier’s ability to extend the 90-day timeframe during which a certifier must issue a final eligibility decision for instate certification applications. Current § 26.83(k) states that a certifier may extend the 90-day period by an additional 60 days. Their proposal would reduce the extension period from 60 days to 30 days. B2Gnow can help eliminate the need for extensions by reducing the time it takes to process an application. The Online Application Module allows vendors to submit certification applications electronically online. It eliminates paper submissions and creates efficiency, reducing the review time and ensuring that only complete applications are received. It also reduces firms’ time, effort, and expense to apply for certification and allows for the secure submission of sensitive information and documents. In addition, the B2Gnow Certification Management module provides immediate visibility into the status of all pending applications, enables the tracking of processing times, including granular “review-step” levels, and provides a complete detailed audit trail of all actions completed by staff during the review process.
While the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) will help modernize and improve the Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs, affected organizations will be required to make some complex changes to their current processes. There has never been a better time for airports to take their business diversity programs digital. B2Gnow Supplier Diversity Software has your airport covered for all current, proposed, and future DBE and ACDBE regulation updates. B2Gnow is trusted by over 400 state, local and educational organizations – including more than 30 US airports. Contact us to speak with an expert and learn more about B2Gnow Supplier Diversity Software.
Erin Westerman has worked in the cloud-based software industry for more than 14 years, gaining experience in both sales and marketing of enterprise solutions. Erin is currently Marketing Manager at B2Gnow, the nation’s leading supplier diversity management (AC/DBE), grant and procurement software for more than 400 state, local, and educational organizations.
This article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.
ACI-NA submitted extensive comments to DOT regarding the proposals in the NPRM. Please click here to read ACI-NA’s comments.