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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, the steps involved for affected organizations will be complex. Many wonder how their programs will internally support these proposed requirements. Do they have resources and tools in place? Can their staff manage the proposed required process changes? 

As your organization begins to strategize about future compliance, we’ve identified six of what could be the most challenging requirements facing your organization, along with some ideas about how to solve them.

Prompt payment and Retainage – Do you have the staff or software to monitor the proposed prompt payment and retainage compliance revisions? You’ll need it.

 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 requirements 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 organization 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 compliance with goals, based not only on payment amounts to primes and subs but also 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.

Uniform Report – Already known as time-consuming and complex, will your organization be prepared 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. 

Bidders List – Does your organization have the personnel or software 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!  

ACDBE Small Business Program – Will your organization be ready for the additional work required to manage and report on this 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.

Timely Processing of Certification Applications – If your organization processes certifications, you understand that deadlines are crucial. Is your program ready to manage this complex process with stricter 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 the time, effort, and expense required by firms 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.

Unified Certification Program – UCP Partners, does your state have the necessary resources to build directory enhancements that will likely be required to display additional information about DBE/ACDBE firms? This could get complicated!

The NPRM’s proposed changes relating to the Unified Certification Program Directories could mean technological challenges for many UCPs.  The proposed rule would require UCPs to expand their DBE/ACDBE directories, allowing for the display of additional essential information about the firms beyond merely contact information and NAICS code(s). This includes amending UCP directories so that firms would have a standard set of options for information they can choose to make public, such as a capability statement, state licenses held, personnel and firm qualifications, bonding coverage, recently completed project(s), equipment capability, a link to the firm’s website, etc. Under the proposed rule, UCPs would be required to incorporate these information fields as additional criteria by which the public can search and filter the UCP directory. UCPs planning to make these necessary enhancements to existing systems will need to consider process changes and secure development resources, as well as funding to meet the 2024 deadline. Alternatively, those UCPs already using the B2Gnow system to manage their directories can rest easy, knowing that B2Gnow has the development expertise and the code and architecture in place to implement these changes within the proposed time frame. 

The good news? B2Gnow Supplier Diversity Software has your organization covered for all current, proposed, and future DBE and ACDBE regulation updates.

Trusted by over 400 state, local and educational organizations, we’re standing by, ready to get you onboarded and in compliance, so you can seamlessly automate, manage, track and report on the requirements of your DBE and ACDBE programs. Contact us to speak with an expert and learn more about B2Gnow Supplier Diversity Software. 

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