Home Blog Reminder From Mark Higley Bid Substantiation Due Nov 14

Reminder From Mark Higley: Bid Substantiation Due Nov. 14

Reminder From Mark Higley: Bid Substantiation Due Nov. 14


As we noted last week, the CBIC has distributed (via Connexion) a notice to certain bidders to substantiate Round 2021 bids. Accordingly, please check your email/Connexion to ensure you have not missed any notice. (To be clear, if there is no notification, no action is required at this time; see additional notice/response due dates below.)

A few observations:

  • It appears virtually all NIV bidding entities have or will receive bid substantiation demands.
  • In the remainder of the categories, notices are generally restricted to bids perceived as potentially “not bonafide” to service the lead and non-lead items.
  • As CBIC notes, “Your response must include (1) a narrative rationale that describes your ability to furnish the lead and non-lead items in the product category and (2) supporting documentation that substantiates your ability to obtain the lead item for less than your bid amount. You must upload in Connexion, the program’s secure portal, both narrative rationale and supporting documentation for each product category and bid amount identified in the Bonafide Bid Checklist(s) below, even if you believe the narrative rationale or supporting documentation alone is sufficient to substantiate your bid(s).” Accordingly, be sure to upload BOTH a narrative and the supporting invoices/documents.
  • The CBIC will answer questions at 877-577-5331 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

Many of you utilized the bid calculators created by the CBP Education Consortium (www.dmecbpeducation.com/bid-calculator) and/or VGM’s tool [www.vgmdclink.com/resource-center/resources (and scroll down to “Competitive Bidding Calculators)]. In your narrative, you may wish to again access these calculators and input your CBA and applicable lead-item bid amount. The calculator will allow you to evaluate the effect on the non-lead items. You will then develop the “narrative” to offer rationale as to how your acquisition and overhead costs will allow servicing for the entire category of items in a sustainable manner. Assemble your acquisition cost documents now.

We have created sample narratives, which—and I must emphasize—are of NO guarantee of CBIC acceptance and are, accordingly, without any expressed or implied warranty of suitability. However, due to countless member requests, we offer these “starting point” product narratives in several categories. You may access them here. Importantly, you must edit all items/data in red; the examples included within the samples are for illustration and format purposes only. Your data should reflect actual operations, procedures, and the supporting documentation (e.g., invoices, pricing, etc.) you upload in Connexion.

Additional product categories will be included in the link above shortly.

By Nov. 14, You Must Provide:

A)  A narrative rationale that describes the bidder’s ability to furnish the lead and non-lead items in the product category. This narrative is an explanation of how you arrived at the bid amount factoring in cost of product, indirect costs, anticipated utilization of non-lead items, and desired profit.


B) Supporting documentation that substantiates the bidder’s ability to obtain the lead item for less than its bid amount. The narrative rationale should explain how the bidder considered the impact its bid amount for the lead item would have on the potential SPAs for the non-lead items. 

Examples of supporting documentation include:

  • Manufacturer invoices
  • Receipts (including retail sales receipts)
  • Letters of intent from manufacturers and wholesalers
  • Manufacturer price lists
  • Signed written quotes

Your narrative and supporting documents must be uploaded into Connexion by Nov. 14. This is the same platform you uploaded your financial documents and your bid bonds during the bid process.

What if My Bid Is Unsubstantiated?

If a bidder does not upload the requested response and supporting documentation OR if the information does not substantiate the bid, the bid for the applicable competition will be disqualified.

Important Upcoming Dates


Date Available in Connexion

Deadline to Respond

Notice to Substantiate
Your Bid(s)



Notice of Covered
Document Review
Findings and Required



Notice of Preliminary
Bid Evaluation