Basics about the NSN:
A National Stock Number is basically a number which identifies a specific item of supply that is repeatedly procured, stocked, stored, issued, and used throughout the federal supply system. Every NSN (National Stock Number) has at least one reference number/ logistics/ part number or specification associated to that specific NSN. That same NSN will also have at least one CAGE code associated to that specific NSN. The associated CAGE code(s) will represent either a manufacturer or non-manufacturing organization such as a Government agency. This information on all NSN’s is listed in BidLink.
When a single NSN is introduced to the Governments supply system there are many departments and agencies involved with the proper labeling and cataloging of the individual NSN. Since the introduction of the NSN over 50 years ago millions of NSN’s have been added to the supply system. The Government has sources for some of these NSN’s however some NSN’s have only one supplier known as a “Sole Source” and NSN’s are not available at all from any company known as a “zero source” (as the original manufacturer(s) are no longer in business). When the government has an NSN with no source or a sole source and the item is currently in use they have a reason to look for other sources. Also when an NSN has limited competition, is overpriced or low reliability there is reason to search for additional sources.
Many company’s say “there is too much competition selling to the Government” – Only if you are selling items with many manufacturers or multiple sources. There are close to a million NSN’s with zero or sole sources, go after those.
Your company has the opportunity submit an alternate offer for evaluation to be listed as an approved source for a NSN. Once your company has made the determination that your part (or item) you wish to supply is equivalent to a specific NSN you must create a TDP (Technical Data Package) which basically proves that your item is “equivalent” to the current part (NSN) the Government is buying.
One of the first criteria the Government looks at when evaluating if they should accept your Alternate Offer is a “Savings Threshold”. A savings threshold is the total dollars saved, comparing your proposed unit price to the Governments average price, for the armed services actual demands over a four quarter time period, updated quarterly.
Once proper analysis is made on a specific NSN by your company that you can supply the item then the process of creating a Source Approval Request, creating a TDP should be considered. It can be a lengthy process as well as a potentially profitable one in the long run.Tweet