Interview with INDUS Technologies Inc.

INDUS At A Glance (click to download)

Why is Navy Gold Coast important to INDUS Technologies?

First off, INDUS is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). We are a larger small business with about 220 employees and have chosen to work around the country.  Navy Gold Coast attracts many people. Of course, many of them are from San Diego and many people here want to get more involved at SPAWAR, so Gold Coast provides an opportunity to meet with friends, competitors, and teammates from around the country, and occasionally with customers from the same locations. For me it is a great way to spend a little money, be a sponsor and be recognized, and then hook-up with companies that are functional and operational in different locations, so it is like one-stop shopping.

What areas of the Navy is INDUS focused on working with?

We tend to focus mostly on the Systems Centers and Warfare Centers. Primarily because they issue what I call bite sized contracts. Tasking that is relevant to our size in the realm of 5, 10, 20, 25 million dollar contracts. We do not mind working on much larger procurements but our competitive zone tends to be right in this range. Systems and Warfare Centers are agencies that tend to focus a lot of energy on Gold Coast. I know many people who also like Gold Coast’s match making opportunities, but it has never been one of my favorite endeavors. For me, match making is the exhibit area on steroids. I just usually start at my booth and talk to people that stop by to see me. When I feel like wandering, I either wander around to other booths or just meet people at the various social events. There is really nothing to dislike about Gold Coast for me.

As you mentioned you like to meet with customers, as you mentioned your primary customers are NAVSEA, NAVAIR, and SPAWAR. What about potential partners and subcontractors?

When the government shows up you get many contractors. As I stated earlier this is a great way to also meet competitors, sit down, talk with them and learn a lot about what they are doing. Frankly, this a difficult business area, because one day you are collaborating with somebody and the next day you are competing. We look hard at our competitors and figure out why they are doing well. We also look at what we can do together to not break our heads competing. We like meeting the excellent folks that are working at different locations (e.g. Keyport, Crane, Dahlgren or Panama City) and find out how we can work with them to take advantage of their incumbency in those locations.

What are the things that you look for in potential partners?

First-of all, we are a services company and we do not have a product. We do not do any shrink wrap software development or have any inventory. Our product is our services so we look for companies that are competitive in their environments, augment our strengths, are cost competitive, thought of well, and can help us put together a compelling proposal to win new work. We find that trying to “carpet-bag” into a local area and say, “hey, my office is in San Diego, but I’ll take great care of you in Crane, Indiana or Keyport, Washington” is not a compelling argument. Stating, “We’re working with XYZ Corp which has three or four contracts here, and together we will be able to really to provide you excellent support”, is a much stronger argument.

A partner’s location is important to INDUS?

It is, for a number of reasons. One, having someone who knows the local environment is important, in putting together a proposal which addresses the right buzz words, and demonstrates knowledge of what keeps a customer up at night. The old days of having enough BD people to chase around the world, “kiss a lot of rings” and visit every location, are no longer a viable in today’s competitive environment. We have to rely on the local expertise of our teammates to strengthen our intelligence about a procurement.

Returning to topic of Gold Coast, do you have specific goals for 2017?

Once again, INDUS will be a sponsor. I believe INDUS has been a sponsor every year since Gold Coasts inception. What we like to come away with is a number of teaming arrangements that we did not have prior to Gold Coast. We do this by chatting with folks who might ask if “we have any plans for a particular procurement?”. Usually we can get a ride on someone’s contract or perhaps we might even prime for a large business who is looking around for a highly capable sub-contractor. Another thing we like about Gold Coast is that it is a great opportunity to meet with a number of the SPAWAR Systems Center technical and programmatic personnel. The Navy brings many of these folks to Gold Coast, not just the small business people and contracting folks. It is a great opportunity to get face-to-face with the technical folks and determine what is important to them, generally, in a non-threading environment. In some cases you can catch them at a cocktail party or something similar, which tends to be a less formal environment and much easier to talk in.

As a final note; is there a specific message that you’d like to share with the government, potential partners or competitors?

The federal government has looked at it-self and said it is not only ok to talk to industry, but Frank Kendall made the point of stating, “It is not just ok, it is your job to talk to industry”. Of course it is also their job to filter out some of the B.S. that Industry might feed them, but the bottom line is that it’s not only ok it’s considered important for the government to know what’s going on in industry, and for industry to provide that information. We all need to take full advantage of this while the opportunity for full and open discussion is still available. Certainly, when procurement is close to issue they cannot talk about it anymore, but it is still a good time to see and be seen, and to be recognized as someone who might be a good potential winner, and provider of required work.