Core Value Focus: Customer Service

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” says Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.” Sabre88 has never tired in the pursuit of its core values, and uses them as opportunities for growth as it continues to improve upon them.

Sabre88 prides itself on our customer service. Our teamwork and open communication create a welcoming environment, while our understanding of accountability drives us. Community service is a part of our lifeblood, we aim to help the community as much as it has helped us. Our innovation-based solutions offer creative approaches to modern uses of technology and vision to reach the desired product.

Sabre88 was founded as a result of the realization of a need for innovative small businesses that can provide the government with 100% customer-focused service. Sabre88 takes pride in helping its clients improve overall business processes by tailoring best practices into replicable methodologies and by drawing on a capacity to assemble premier experts, processes, and tools tailored to its client’s individual needs. Our mission is to utilize its competitive mindset to enhance customer performance by developing new strategies after an analysis of existing organizational challenges. All of the figures that point to our growth and capabilities are second to the fact that Sabre88 provides our customers with the defined and impactful solutions to everyday problems.

Sabre88, LLC has a solid record of building strategic partnerships with the federal government to achieve mission-focused solutions. Sabre88 believes that building trusting relationships with the clients that it serves is critical to both organization’s success. Sabre88 takes a hands-on approach to serve its clients by making quarterly visits to clients and onsite personnel to identify possible problem areas and gain a deeper insight into the organizational culture. Additionally, the project managers on-site maintain crucial relationships with our customers, Project Manager Rossemery Duran exemplifies the culture we are trying to create saying, “Working in the same facility as the client has allowed my team and me to maintain constant and open lines of communication. I communicate with the client on a daily basis to ensure that they are receiving exceptional support. If any issues arise, I work with the client to rectify the issue as soon as possible”.  Sabre88’s proven ability to help government leaders manage large-scale initiatives and achieve mission goals is unsurpassed in its fervent commitment to the objectives of clients 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Far too often government requirements are fulfilled by hand- off contractors who lack the technical understanding and the management capabilities to satisfy task directives. Consequently, this leads to dissatisfied clients and growing distrust between federal agencies and contractors who attempt to support them. Sabre88, LLC has displayed a unique aptitude for bridging this gap to meet and satisfy the needs of Sabre88 clients and personnel. For Sabre88, this unique outlook in approach is the foundation of the company’s sustainability and growth which allows the organization to not just win new opportunities but develop exclusive and individualized partnerships based on a customer’s unique circumstances. We strive to maintain this company culture through our entire community, our project managers work hard to maintain strong relationships with our customers, “The client’s needs are always my top priority. I ensure that my team is aware that we need to be flexible in order to adapt to any of the changes that the client may have”. Good customer service starts with flexibility, insight, and resourcefulness. Throughout the organization, we strive to maintain and improve our skills with this core value with every experience.

Author: Bobby Cottingham

Explained: AOC Bill

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wants companies to be “friendlier” to their employees. And she wants the federal government to reward companies for it. The New York representative introduced a series of bills Wednesday aimed at creating what she calls a “just society.” That includes bills to update the federal poverty line, expand tenants’ rights, and to extend federal programs to all immigrants and former prisoners. She also wants to make sure all taxpayer-funded government contracts go to businesses that treat their workers well. It’s called the Uplift Our Workers Act. The bill would require the federal Office of Contract Compliance to create a scoring system that ranks businesses based on “worker friendliness.” Companies with the most worker-friendly policies would get the highest score, which in turn would give them an advantage in winning a lucrative government contract. This is no small thing. More than 42,000 US businesses hold federal contracts, and all of them agree to follow certain rules to keep their deals with the government. The score is not another requirement; it’s more of an incentive. Just like the government gives preference to minority-owned or veteran-owned business, it would also give preference to businesses with the best workplace policies.

It’s a creative policy idea, and one that would certainly burden employers who are always trying to save on labor costs. But it’s comprehensive, and creates a big incentive for America’s largest companies to give workers the best benefits and perks available.

How the score works

Under the bill, the Department of Labor and the White House would develop the scoring system for contractors who do government work, which includes everything from making military uniforms to developing computer software. Contract officers would score companies depending half a dozen factors, such as whether the business and its subcontractors have been penalized for violating any labor laws and whether the company can guarantee that its workers won’t work more than 40 hours a week to fulfill the contract, and whether they pay overtime to those who do. Higher scores would be given to companies that pay all employees at least $15 an hour and provide them with at least seven paid sick days. They would also give preference to those who guarantee fair scheduling to allow “workers to effectively provide for their families financially and emotionally.” That means giving workers a monthly work schedule ahead of time, and a final schedule two weeks ahead of time.

Contract officers will also consider whether or not a company compensating employees who are “on call” and whether it offers extra work hours to current employees before hiring others. Employers would also score higher if they guarantee at least 12 weeks paid family or parental leave and if they provide high-quality, subsidized health care. Extra points if they support employee unionizing efforts and have policies in place to analyze ethical, social, and environmental risks in their supply chain. And here’s one of the most interesting things: It directs contracting officers to consider this score just as important — if not more — than the cost of the contract. That’s a dramatic shift, considering that some contractors probably cut back on labor costs to provide the lowest possible price in the bidding process. Making sure that taxpayers don’t overpay businesses for their services is a legitimate concern, but this bill would also ensure that taxpayer funds are also used to reward companies that treat workers well.

It’s a different means to the same end

Ocasio-Cortez is hardly the only member of Congress trying to get businesses to treat workers better as income inequality in the US has skyrocketed. For example, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which passed the House last month. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has sponsored the Family Act, which guarantees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to workers. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Healthy Families Act, which would require businesses to provide full-time workers with at least seven days of paid sick leave. She also introduced the Schedules That Work Act, which guarantees predictable schedules for workers, or extra pay if they have to work irregular schedules. So far, Republicans in the Senate haven’t even debated these bills. What Ocasio-Cortez’s bill does is create a huge incentive for businesses to do all of this. Sure, not every business is interested in a federal contract. But the 42,000 companies that do include America’s largest corporations, which employ tens of thousands of workers — like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, AT&T, and FedEx. And most importantly, they would only get a higher score if their subcontracted employees get the listed benefits, too — meaning Google’s cafeteria workers could get paid sick days as an incentive.

It may be easy to dismiss the bill as unachievable, especially coming from such a junior member of Congress. But Ocasio-Cortez has already managed to change the conversation about what is achievable on Capitol Hill. Just look at all the presidential candidates who endorse the Green New Deal.

Author: Prasanna Haresh Patil


SBA Amends and Improves HUBZone Regulations

The U.S. Small Business Administration is making major updates to the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Program, which comes as good news to those small business concerns who have struggled with the 1997 law. These revisions, becoming effective on December 26, 2019, are just in time for the holidays, and a wonderful present it is for the HUBZone program and all those involved.

The HUBZone program has faced a great deal of challenges since its inception in 1997. The program, which was designed to bring opportunity and growth to underutilized zones, has yet to flourish. Agencies to date have not yet been able to fulfill the government wide goal of awarding at least 3% of all contracts to HUBZone companies. This does not come from lack of effort, however.

On January 30, 2017, the executive branch issued Executive Order 13771 directing federal departments and agencies to reduce regulatory burdens and control regulatory costs. In response to this directive, SBA initiated a review of all of its regulations to determine which might be revised or eliminated, the HUBZone Program standing out as an area of improvement.  The revisions to the HUBZone Program effective December 26th clarify current HUBZone Program policies and procedures and makes changes that will benefit the small business community by making the HUBZone Program more efficient and effective.

With these new updates, many of the challenges facing HUBZone small business have been addressed and improved upon, namely the certification process. For service firms, winning contracts to perform services in another state would often require them to hire from non-HUBZone areas, disqualifying them from eligibility for future HUBZone contracts. To alleviate these problems, § 126.500(a) of the final rule requires only annual recertification rather than immediate recertification at the time of every offer for a HUBZone contract award.

Additionally, the SBA modified the process of determining which areas would be classified as HUBZones and when the qualifications would change. HUBZones previously would shift based annually based on the most recent income and unemployment numbers.  This made it extremely difficult to maintain compliance. The Final Rule solves this problem, offering a public online tool that depicts HUBZONEs and is update every five years rather than updating annually.

The current trend in HUBZone contract awards reported shows 1.65% in FY2017 and 2.05% in FY2018. Look for these numbers to increase in the coming years.

Author: Paul McVeigh


Microsoft’s Pentagon Cloud Contract Controversy: Why It’s a Big Deal

Microsoft just won a huge cloud contract from the Pentagon, outbidding Amazon and a handful of others. But the Pentagon contract, which is valued at $10 billion over 10 years, isn’t a done deal.

Amazon, which was favored to win the contract, isn’t going away quietly. The company has vowed to protest the decision, claiming bias on the part of the government and unfair intervention on the part of President Trump.

Ever since the Pentagon announced the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, the leading cloud players had been pulling out all the stops to win it. JEDI is one component in the Pentagon’s efforts to modernize. The initiative relies on artificial intelligence, Internet of Things devices, and data analytics to enable the Pentagon to be more agile.

Pentagon contract mired in controversy from the start

Through JEDI, the Pentagon wants to be able to access data from the cloud, whether it’s on the battlefield or in a remote corner of the world. As it stands, the Pentagon’s systems are antiquated, making it hard to access and share data. Given the size and scope of the contract, it was expected that Amazon and Microsoft would go head to head to win it.

Bidding for the contract had been mired in controversy from the start. Some of the bidders — including IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle did not like that the Pentagon wasn’t splitting the contract across vendors. The Pentagon wanted a single vendor because it believes that it’s the best approach to enhance security, improve data access, and make it easier to incorporate more cloud computing technology in the future. Microsoft argued that approach was the opposite of the one the cloud industry was taking but was all in with its bid nonetheless.

Oracle and IBM emerged as vocal critics of the process, crying foul over Amazon’s unfair advantages. After all, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the undisputed leader in the sector, even if Microsoft is chipping away at its dominance.

Despite all the pushback in August, it appeared Amazon would be the eventual winner. Then President Trump stepped in. According to media reports, the contract decision was placed on hold as the Trump White House began an examination of Amazon’s bid. Trump was already a critic of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and told the press during a meeting with the prime minister of the Netherlands that his administration was receiving complaints about the bidding process. A few months later, the Pentagon decided to award the contract to Microsoft, sending its stock higher and prompting Amazon’s warning that it will challenge the decision.

Amazon is not going away quietly

Amazon’s move will likely draw out the final awarding of the contract, which has already been delayed. And landing it would be important for both Amazon and Microsoft, which is why the e-commerce giant is willing to fight. Both companies are aiming to expand their cloud businesses by getting more government work. The JEDI contract will be a huge selling point when bidding on other government contracts. The military takes security seriously when working with vendors, and if one already has a proven track record, it’s likely to get more business. It doesn’t hurt that the federal government is reportedly gearing up to spend $40 billion on cloud computing initiatives in the coming years. Losing the contract also hurts Amazon’s reputation more than it would Microsoft’s. AWS is the leader in the cloud market, having entered it earlier than its rivals. Sure, Microsoft has been slowly chipping away at AWS’s dominance, but it still remains a distant second-place player. Amazon has also shown it is serious about winning government contracts, recently beginning to hire for its second headquarters, which will be located just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., and near the Pentagon.

While the saga of the JEDI deal won’t end anytime soon, one thing is for sure: Winning the contract would be in the best interest of both cloud players and their investors now and in the years to come, especially as the government gears up to spend tons of money modernizing its vast computer systems.

Author: Prasanna Haresh Patil