The language guide below defines words and phrases that are commonly used in our industry.


The act of acquiring goods and services (including construction) for the use of a governmental activity through purchase, rent, or lease. Includes the establishment of needs, description of requirements, selection of procurement method, selection of sources, solicitation of procurement, solicitation for offers, award of contract, financing, contraction administration, and related functions.

BPA (Blanket Purchase Agreement)

A contract under which a vendor agrees to provide goods or services on a purchase-on-demand basis. The contract generally establishes prices, terms, conditions, and the period covered (no quantities are specified); shipments are to be made as required by the purchaser.

Bill of Lading

A written receipt or contract, given by a carrier, showing a list of goods delivered to it for transportation. The straight bill of lading is a contract which provides for direct shipment to a consignee. The order bill of lading is negotiable; it enables a shipper to collect for a shipment before it reaches its destination (this is done by sending the original bill of lading with a draft drawn on the consignee through a bank). When the consignee receives the lading indicating that payment has been made, the lading will be surrendered to the carrier’s agent, and the carrier will then ship the goods to the consignee, and the bill of lading will be surrendered to the carrier.


The contiguous United States; the 48 states excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

COO (Country of Origin)

The country of manufacture, production, or growth where an article or product comes from. There are differing rules of origin under various national laws and international treaties.

CPG (Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines)

Designates items that must contain recycled content when purchased by federal, state, and local agencies, or by contractors using appropriated federal funds, when these agencies spend more than $10,000 per year on any of the designated items. For example, if a state agency spends more than $10,000 per year on copy paper, and part of that money is from appropriated federal funds, then that state agency must follow the EPS guidelines and buy 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper. (Section 6002 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act [RCRA] and Presidential Executive Order 13101.)

DFARS (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement)

A supplement to the book of Federal Acquisition Regulations. This supplement pertains to federal acquisition regulations specific to the Department of Defense. The FAR and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) also apply to purchases and contracts by DoD contracting activities made in support of foreign military sales or North Atlantic Treaty Organization cooperative projects without regard to the nature or sources of funds obligated, unless otherwise specified in this regulation.

DLA (Defense Logistics Agency)

A combat support agency in the United States Department of Defense, with more than 26,000 civilian and military personnel throughout the world. Located in 48 states and 28 countries, DLA provides supplies to the military services and supports their acquisition of weapons, repair parts, and other materials.

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)

The electronic interchange of business information using a standardized format; a process which allows one company to send information to another company electronically rather than with paper.

EPP (Environmentally Preferable Product)

A product or service that has a lesser or reduced impact on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. Such products or services may include but are not limited to those which contain recycled content, minimize waste, conserve energy or water, and reduce the amount of toxins either disposed of or consumed.

FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation)

Provides uniform acquisition policies and procedures for use by all executive agencies.

GSA (General Services Administration)

An independent agency of the United States government was established to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. GSA supplies products and communications for U.S. government offices, provides transportation and office space to federal employees, and develops government-wide, cost-minimizing policies and other management tasks.

IFB (Invitation to Bid)

This is an invitation to contractors or equipment suppliers to submit an offer on a specific project to be realized or product or service to be furnished. The IFB is focused on pricing, and not on ideas or concepts.

Micro-purchase Threshold

This is an acquisition by the government of supplies or services that, because the aggregate is below a certain price, allows the government to avoid many of the ordinary competitive requirements under the FAR, including small business set-aside requirements.

MIL-STD, MIL-SPEC, or MilSpecs

Used to help achieve standardization objectives by the U.S. Department of Defense. Ensures products meet certain requirements, commonality, reliability, total cost of ownership, compatibility with logistics systems, and similar defense-related objectives.

MRO Supply (Maintenance, Repair & Operations)

Supplies consumed in the production process, but which do not either become part of the end product or are not central to the firm’s output. MRO items include consumables (such as cleaning, laboratory, or office supplies), industrial equipment (such as compressors, pumps, valves) and plant upkeep supplies (such as gaskets, lubricants, repair tools), and computers, fixtures, furniture, etc.

NAICS (North American Industry Classification System)

Classification of business established by type of activity for the purpose of facilitating the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of data collected by various agencies of the United States government, state agencies, trade associations, and private research organizations for promoting uniformity and comparability in the presentation of statistical data relating to those establishments and their fields of endeavor.

NSN (National Stock Number/NATO Stock Number)

13-digit numeric code for identifying standardized material items. They are recognized by all NATO countries and the U.S. Department of Defense. Most commonly used for procurement, stocking, locating, and monitoring items.


Outside the contiguous United States; i.e. Alaska, Hawaii, and all other countries.

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)

A company that produces parts and equipment that may be marketed by another manufacturer.

OMR (Open Market Requisition)

Are used to request the purchase of goods or services that are not available on an existing contract.

RFB (Request for Bid)

A solicitation in which the terms, conditions, and specifications are described, and responses are not subject to negotiation.

RFP (Request for Proposal)

To solicit a proposal, often made through a bidding process by an agency or company interested in procurement of a commodity, service, or valuable asset to potential suppliers to submit business proposals.

RFQ (Request for Quote)

A standard business process whose purpose is to invite suppliers into a bidding process to bid on specific products or services.

Simplified Acquisition Threshold

The dollar amount below which a non-Federal entity may purchase property or services using small purchase methods. Non-Federal entities adopt small purchase procedures in order to expedite the purchase of items costing less than the simplified acquisition threshold. The simplified acquisition threshold is set by the Federal Acquisition Regulation at 48 CFR Subpart 2.1 (Definitions) and in accordance with 41 U.S.C. 1908.


A solicitation is a written request for information; it is generally a request for quotation issued by a federal government agency. The solicitation specifies the provisions, contract clauses, and special requirements applicable to the quotation and resulting contract. A pre-solicitation is a request for information which may not have all the provisions, contract clauses, and special requirements defined; it is issued prior to the request for quote (solicitation).


The support or maintenance of someone or something, especially military equipment or personnel.

TAA (Trade Agreement Act)

The Trade Agreements Act (TAA) is the enabling statute that implements numerous multilateral and bilateral international trade agreements and other trade initiatives.