What Are Procurement Instrument Identifiers (PIIDs)?
The government has always been notorious for inefficiency, but that doesn't mean they don't make strides with each update, always looking to improve processes while retaining stability. The procurement process is no different, and one of the ways they have improved their process is through the creation of the Procurement Instrument Identifiers (PIID). PIIDs were created to simplify the procurement process, but aren't quite intuitive either, so we've created a guide for you about how to read them and what makes them so important.
What is a Procurement Instrument Identifier or PIID?
Both civilian and Department of Defense (DoD) agencies have unique alpha and/or numeric codes assigned to procurement artifacts like contracts, solicitations, and agreements. This is a PIID. They were implemented back in 2017 to standardize procurement transactions across the federal government and both the Federal Acquisition Regulation or FAR, and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement or DFARS, include guidance for using and implementing a PIID for all new solicitations and contract awards. If any of your active contracts were started before the implementation, they will not have a PIID, but all that have started since will.
How to Read a PIID
The data hidden within the PIID can be decoded by first separating the characters into 4 different sections or positions. They differ depending on where the PIID is assigned from, what Fiscal Year it was issued, what type of procurement artifact it is, and the specific solicitation or contract number. The issue below shows an example of a PIID.
- Positions 1-6: Identify the department/agency and the office issuing the identifier. Usually, your PCO Procurement Contracting Officer.
- Positions 7-8: Last two digits of the Fiscal Year in which the procurement instrument is issued or awarded.
- Position 9: This position indicates the type of instrument by entering an uppercase letter that matches the instrument. For example, Blanket Purchase Agreements = A, Indefinite-delivery contracts = D, and basic ordering agreements = G.
- Positions 10-17: These numbers are issued by the issuing agency. Agencies must choose a minimum of four characters and up to eight, but the same number of characters must be used agency-wide.
There are a few things to be aware of when it comes to the supplementary PIID as well. This is used to identify any amendments to solicitation and modifications to contracts, orders, and agreements. It’s necessary to understand that it cannot be used as a replacement for the PIID, only to be used alongside. Assigned to amendments of solicitations, it is noticeably different from the PIID since it takes the original PIID and adds on an additional four-position serial number beginning with 0001.
Can you Change Your PIID?
Yes, it is possible to change a PIID, but if and only if one of the following two circumstances apply:
- If the PIID numbering system is ‘exhausted’
- If the continued use of the PIID is administratively burdensome (ex: implementation of a new agency contract writing system)
Why are PIIDs Important for GSA Contractors?
PIIDs are the uniform method used to track solicitations, contracts, Blanket Purchase Agreements, etc., and their subsequent modifications and/or amendments. Once you have familiarized yourself with the art of the PIID, you'll be able to instantly or near instantly learn significant identifying information that may be pertinent to any of these procurement artifacts.
GSA is also starting to assign PIIDs to the newer contracts, so if you acquire a GSA Schedule soon or you are nearing your 20 years and will get a streamlined Schedule, the number will be in PIID format.
It's an important and useful tool to have under your belt since this will come up repeatedly throughout the lifecycle of your procurement agreements and you’ll need to keep things well organized. Even once a solicitation becomes an awarded contract, the PIID will not remain the same and will, in fact, change.
Whether you are responding to a solicitation, or already have an established BPA, you will encounter new PIIDs in different stages like the Interagency Agreement PIID, Acquisition PIIDs, Solicitation PIIDs, and Award PIIDs. For the sake of your business, it’s crucial to organize your work thoroughly throughout their lifecycles and that starts with understanding what you are looking at and looking for.
Do You Want to Learn More About Government Solicitations?
Now that you hopefully have a strong grasp on what PIIDs are and how they relate to government contracting, you might be interested in learning more about government solicitations—what they are, where to find them, how to break them down, and successfully respond. No matter what stage, from market research in Requests for Information (RFIs) to a final proposal in Requests for Proposals (RFPs), these solicitations are an important part of business development in government contracting.
If you want to read some more on how you can engage, check out these blogs:
- RFIs vs. RFPs
- Responding to RFIs: Tips and Tricks for Engaging in Market Research
- 3 Tips for a Successful RFP Response
If you have any more questions about your GSA Schedule or need assistance with PIIDs, contact one of our consultants today.