How to survive the September buying binge

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

There are only about 45 shopping days left until the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30th. As you and your colleagues race the spend-it-or-lose it clock, we asked Joanne Woytek, program manager of the NASA SEWP program, for some tips for end of year ordering.

Here are some of her suggestions and excerpted comments:

Do your homework. Know what you’re doing.

“Know your contract vehicles. Don’t expect things to just happen. You have to do your homework even in this busy time.” Even spending just 15 minutes with the SEWP training video, said Woytek, can make a big difference.

Waiting until the last minute is the worst thing you can do.

“There’s no magic,” to make the money spend itself, said Woytek. “You’ve got to spend it and you’ve got to spend it the right way.”

Know your own policies.

“September 30th doesn’t mean you get to skip policies,” said Woytek. “You still have to follow them.” For example, Woytek noted SEWP’s two biggest customers, Defense and Veterans Affairs, require either training or special numbers they have to track. Without meeting requirements, “if they send us an order on September 30th, they won’t get it done.”

If your order is going to be at the last second, let someone know NOW.

As far as SEWP is concerned, said Woytek, “it’s never too late. We are open until midnight on September 30th.” But, for example, those ordering from the west coast can make things easier on themselves by sending SEWP an e-mail so they can staff properly.

“Be very good to your contracting officer.”

A cup of coffee wouldn’t hurt. And perhaps a scone.

You can hear the entire interview with NASA SEWP program manager Joanne Woytek, including the most common reason orders come in late, by clicking on the audio player at the top of the page.