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Understanding the Profile Search Results

This help document is intended to assist you with reviewing, interpreting, and responding to the bid opportunities and other procurement-related articles that display in your bid match profile search results. The following topics are covered:

  • Reviewing Search Results. Discusses the basic components and formatting conventions used in your profile search results. 
  • Identifying Procurement Data Sources. Describes the OutreachSystems-monitored procurement data sources that can contribute to your search results.
  • Responding to Solicitations. Gives a high-level overview of the proper methods for obtaining more information about and responding to the different types of solicitations that can appear in your search results.

For information on topics not addressed or covered in detail in this help, consult your Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) or the buyer or informational point of contact listed in the specific solicitation to which you want to reply.

Reviewing Search Results

This section covers the various components of the profile search output that you receive from either your PTAC or OutreachSystems and indicates how to identify and interpret each of them. Some formatting aspects may differ slightly between databases and depending upon your delivery mechanism.

The following graphic shows a sample article from a profile search results e-mail. Each of the numbered components in this graphic is identified and described in the following table.

# Information Type Description


Database Header Indicates the source of the articles that follow. See the Identifying Procurement Data Sources section of this help for a complete list of the data sources that can contribute to your profile search results.


Buying Agency Usually lists the government agency publishing the article, along with related general contact information.


Federal Supply Group (FSG) The government-maintained Federal Supply Group code identifying the product or service sought by the buyer.  Alphabetic codes denote services while numeric ones denote supplies. Click here to access a complete list of FSGs.


Solicitation Number The unique, external identification code for the solicitation, which you will use to identify the solicitation to outside parties such as government buyers and may also use to access the solicitation on government-maintained Web sites.


Solicitation Closing Date This is the deadline by which a response must be received in order to be considered for a contract award.


National Stock Number (NSN) The 13-digit National Stock Number identifying the product sought by the buyer, included in many federal, defense-related solicitations. Each NSN consists of a 4-digit Federal Supply Classification (FSC) code followed by a 9-digit Item Identification Number (NIIN). Note that NSNs apply to products only and not to services.


Matching Search Term(s) The profile search term(s) that caused the article to match against your search profile display in bold, blue text in HTML-formatted search results e-mails and on the Web site. In the case of non-e-mail or plain text search results, matching search terms are indicated with an asterisk (*) in the left margin of the line in which they occur.


Web Link(s) Most solicitation articles contain links to the specific Web site where the solicitation can be searched for or, in some cases, a direct link to the posted solicitation itself. Some solicitations may also include links to Web sites where related drawings and/or specifications can be downloaded.


OutreachSystems Article Number The code used by OutreachSystems to uniquely identify the article, containing the following three components: article post date; source database abbreviation; and a unique, OutreachSystems-generated identification code. Note that this internal code is significant only to your PTAC and/or OutreachSystems; when identifying an article to an outside party such as a government buyer, use the solicitation number listed in the article itself rather than the OutreachSystems article number.


Matching Keywords Lists the specific search term(s) in your profile that caused the article to match and be included in your search results.

Identifying Procurement Data Sources

The articles that you receive in your profile search results can come from a wide variety of database sources or a more limited range of sources selected specifically for your business. If your profile search results contain data from sources that you do not want to include in future searches, you can contact your PTAC (or OutreachSystems if you receive your results directly from us) to request that those sources be removed from your profile.

Solicitation Databases

The following table alphabetically lists the OutreachSystems-monitored solicitation sources that can contribute to your profile search results. For each solicitation article that you receive, the article source is indicated by (1) the heading above the solicitation and (2) the source database abbreviation in the associated OutreachSystems article number (e.g. 021115/PROCURE/0112). Both the complete solicitation source names and their corresponding OutreachSystems abbreviations are listed in the next table.

Solicitation Source OutreachSystems Abbreviation Description
Defense Supply Center Columbus DCSC, DESC, DSCC The DLA supply center responsible for maritime and land weapon systems support.
Defense Supply Center Philadelphia DISC, DSCP The DLA supply center responsible for purchasing and managing food, clothing, medical, general, and industrial supplies and services for the DLA.
Defense Supply Center Richmond DGSC, DSCR The DLA supply center responsible for aviation support.
FedBizOpps Procurements PROCURE The U.S. federal government's Federal Business Opportunities database, which represents the single source for federal government procurement opportunities with award amounts exceeding $25,000. Bid opportunities from this data source are classified under the "Procurements" subcategory, while the other four subcategories that fall under FedBizOpps do not represent direct bid opportunities.
Foreign Trade Opportunities

Canadian and Other Foreign Bids

FTX, TOPS OutreachSystems-maintained databases consisting of bid opportunities from a variety of non-U.S. sources, including Canada's Internet-based electronic tendering service, MERX.
Other Federal Purchases SMALL A OutreachSystems-maintained database consisting of federal government bid opportunities from a variety of sources, including agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and FedGrants.
OutreachSystems USABID State and Local USABID OutreachSystems' database of bid opportunities from city-, county-, and state-level government agencies. For a complete list of the resources monitored by OutreachSystems for entry into this database, go to

Note: In addition to data from the OutreachSystems solicitation sources listed previously, the profile search results sent by some PTACs may also include solicitations from proprietary, state-specific databases. If included, these will be listed under a "State Procurement" heading in your search results. Refer to your PTAC for more information on state-specific procurement opportunities.

Non-Solicitation Databases

Articles that you receive from the data sources listed in the following table do not represent direct bid opportunities or requests for quotation. They are used for locating subcontracting opportunities as well as for reference and competition monitoring purposes.

Data Source OutreachSystems Abbreviation Description
Blue Tops BLUETOPS U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) award notices for major contracts of $5 million or more, called "blue tops" after the blue stripe that appears at the top of their printed counterparts. These award notices provide a key source for subcontracting opportunities.
FedBizOpps Awards, Foreign Standards, Surplus Sales, and Special Notices AWARDS, FOREIGN, SURPLUS, SPECIAL These sources represent various types of non-solicitation articles from the FedBiz Opps database, including contract award notices, foreign government standards, surplus property sales notices, and special notices.

Note: In addition to the other non-solicitation data discussed in this section, special broadcast notices sent by your PTAC may also occasionally display at the top of your search results, under the heading "Important Notice."

Responding to Solicitations

This section gives some general guidelines for responding to the following types of solicitations that you may receive in your profile search results:

While this section includes high-level information about evaluating and responding to solicitations from various sources, it is not intended to cover the specifics of the quotation process for any particular solicitation type. If you have questions in this regard, we recommend that you contact the buyer or informational point of contact listed in the solicitation that you are responding to or your PTAC. Also, many procurement Web sites include online help and FAQs to assist you with the solicitation interpretation and response process.

Note: This section only discusses how to respond to direct solicitations. To inquire about subcontracting opportunities related to any award announcement from the Blue Tops or FedBizOpps database, we recommend that you contact the buyer listed in that announcement.

FedBizOpps Solicitations

Clicking the Web link that displays at the bottom of any FedBizOpps article opens the listing page for that article on the FedBizOpps Web site. In the case of a solicitation, this page lists everything posted under that article's solicitation number, including the presolicitation notice, associated documents available for download, and any relevant amendments or modifications. 

It is recommended that you review the synopsis first since it gives a basic description of the bid opportunity along with point of contact information. Also, be sure to check the Additional Information section at the bottom of the synopsis page; in some cases, it includes a link to another Web site where you can download the complete solicitation, submit a response to it, and/or download any related drawings or specifications.

Note: The fact that you receive a particular solicitation in your profile search results does not guarantee that you will also receive future modifications and amendments published for that solicitation unless your profile search terms specifically match on those postings as well. For this reason, it is recommended that you register at the FedBizOpps site to be notified by e-mail when additional postings are made to any solicitation that you are interested in. You can do this by clicking the Register to Receive Notification button that displays in the FedBizOpps listing or synopsis screen and following the directions in the registration screen that displays.

The methods that you will use to respond to FedBizOpps solicitations will differ depending on the solicitation type and requesting agency. For specific information on how to respond to a solicitation, we recommend that you carefully review the synopsis and any related materials and contact the listed buyer or informational point of contact with any questions you have.

DLA Solicitations

For each solicitation published by the Defense Logistics Agency, the solicitation terms and the method you should use to respond to it depend on the specific solicitation type that it represents. 

A DLA solicitation's type is indicated by the letter that appears in the ninth position of the solicitation number--for example, a solicitation with the identifier SP0500003T1234 represents a "T" solicitation, while a solicitation with the identifier SP054003Q1234 represents a "Q" solicitation. The following table lists the key solicitation types published by the DLA along with their associated ninth-position solicitation ID codes.

Ninth Position Description
T or U A DLA request for quotation (RFQ) that is valued at under $25,000. "T" solicitations (identified by a "U" in the ninth position if no unique "T" solicitation number combinations are available at the time of publication) are automated, meaning that they are generated automatically by the system and not created manually by the buyer. 
Q Either (1) an RFQ that falls under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures outlined in Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 13 and is valued at less than $100,000 or (2) a commercial acquisition valued at between $100,000 and 5 million dollars which meets the requirements outlined in FAR Part 13.5.
X An Indefinite Delivery Purchase Order (IDPO) bid opportunity that falls under the FAR Part 13 Simplified Acquisition Procedures. The terms of an IDPO solicitation specify not only the item quantities currently required in order to fulfill the needs of the buying agency, but also define a period of time (such as a year) during which that agency can place additional orders under the same terms and conditions specified in the original fulfillment order.
R A special type of solicitation called a request for proposal (RFP), generally for an acquisition valued at over $100,000. The award resulting from an RFP is called a contract and is binding since it must be signed by both the contracting officer and the awardee. 

USABID and Other Federal Purchases Solicitations

In order to populate its exclusive USABID and Other Federal Purchases (SMALL) solicitation databases, OutreachSystems regularly monitors hundreds of procurement Web sites, bulletin boards, and other sources maintained by various U.S. city, county, state, and federal government agencies. Articles from either of these databases always include a link to a Web site where you can review more information about the solicitation and/or the requesting agency.

Because the USABID and Other Federal Purchases databases group bid opportunities from a wide variety of sources, the methods that you will use to request more information about and respond to solicitations from these sources will vary depending on the solicitation type and buying agency. For information on how to respond to a specific solicitation, we recommend that you carefully review the article and any additional information posted on the source Web site, then contact the listed buyer or informational point of contact for additional details as needed. 

Note: All USABID and Other Federal Purchases articles end with OutreachSystems-generated boilerplate text that recommends calling the buyer directly for more information about the bid opportunity. However, if the text of the article specifies an alternate point of contact or specifically requests that prospective contractors not contact the buyer, you should obey the instructions in the article and ignore the boilerplate text.

Foreign Solicitations

Bid opportunities from OutreachSystems' Foreign Trade Opportunities and Canadian and Other Foreign Bids databases should be handled similarly to those from OutreachSystems' USABID and Other Federal Purchases databases. Each solicitation from these sources contains a link to a Web site where you can review further information about the items requested and/or the buying agency. For information on how to respond to a specific solicitation, we recommend that you carefully review the article and any additional information posted on the source Web site, then contact the listed buyer or informational point of contact for additional details as needed. 

Note: In order to qualify as a potential bidder for most Canadian MERX opportunities, you must purchase associated document components from the MERX Web site. For more information on this topic and other topics relevant to MERX bid opportunities, we recommend that you review the MERX Supplier Guide available by clicking the Help link on most MERX Web pages.