Hit the Training Bullseye: Making the Shift from LPTA
Virtually everyone in the government and the private sector agrees that reskilling and upskilling the workforce is the key to meeting performance demands of today—and tomorrow. But the reality is that training budgets are usually the first up on the chopping block during tumultuous fiscal times. Even when training dollars are free-flowing, within many organizations, the importance of training is reflected in how it’s procured. All too often, training is acquired via the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) evaluation process, not based on best value. LPTA is essentially a “good enough” evaluation—ideal for buying toner or office supplies, but inappropriate for more complex and critical purchases like learning solutions.
As an example, an analysis of requests for proposals (RFPs) reviewed by Management Concepts during the past twelve months revealed that LPTA is highly prevalent in the acquisition of all types of commercial and custom training. This is a clear—albeit unintentional—reflection of the value an organization places on developing its workforce.
Bottom line: all training is not created, delivered, managed, or evaluated equally. So why do so many organizations push value to the bottom by employing LPTA for the acquisition of training when this approach reinforces the perception that training is a commodity and not a necessity? Unfortunately, this perception becomes reality when the Federal workforce is subjected to the impact of low-value training as a result of the focus on cost savings.
This isn’t to say that all training procured via LPTA is poor quality or even ineffective. In fact, companies such as Management Concepts and others have managed to deliver quality learning experiences in LPTA environments by focusing on operational efficiencies and leveraging economies of scale across multiple contracts and deliveries.
That said, training can be better—much better—if:
- The value of the experience is recognized in the procurement process
- Providers are encouraged to provide innovative solutions to help meet the performance challenges of the Federal workforce
When considering learning and talent development investments for your organization, look beyond LPTA and prescribed courses when crafting and carrying out your procurement strategy. Focus instead on learning outcomes and objectives and working with the industry to develop viable and cost-effective solutions.
We leave you with a place to begin…some ideas to consider as you look to acquire training for your organization, with a shift from an LPTA approach:
- Is there flexibility and modularity of content to support ease of tailoring, alignment, and configuration with organizational goals and objectives?
- Is there depth and quality within the instructional design and the instructional design team members?
- Is the training content outsourced or developed in-house?
- Is there capability to provide comprehensive
learning and performance support solutions, such as:
- Performance consulting?
- Virtual and live delivery, as well as facilitation?
- Coaching and mentoring?
- Effective evaluation and performance measures?
- In addition to these questions, there are five
other key areas that should be evaluated as you contemplate training decisions
for your organization:
- Depth, breadth, and quality of the overall training team—including instructors, facilitators, instructional designers, coaches, and various operations professionals
- Financial stability of the provider
- Scalability of the supporting infrastructure
- Resources available to support
- Investments in development and R&D
Consider these questions and key considerations to ensure your training procurement efforts are on target—setting up your workforce and agency for mission success.
Kevin Duffer is the Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Management Concepts, heading up the sales organization as well as the capture and proposal development efforts. He has extensive experience in the learning, organizational/talent development, and information technology fields in both public and private sectors and has 27 years of service with the United States Navy.