It's quite simple. Up to $5,000, you can buy stuff with a credit card fairly easily with a certain level of management approval. Beyond that, up to $25,000, there's a higher level of approval needed.
I referenced earlier that there are different approvals with DISO and everything else, which is poorly understood, so we're often correcting that. I would suggest that less than half the DISO orders we receive are correct. We have to return them to federal government for correction.
Beyond $25,000, I'm not sure what the rule is, as I've not looked at it lately, but it gets into NAFTA, so it has to be offered, and there's work done with the Americans. We're talking about a two- or three-year delay in procurement. I reckon the turnaround time in the federal government is typically two years from the time we say hello until the time we get a purchase order and start running on something.
I really have given up trying to sell anything above $25,000 to the federal government, unless it's more than $100,000. I had one contract for $10,000. We solved the problem fairly quickly, then we had to get their IT approval, and then there was security, and then there was the threat risk assessment. We had to go through all the different departments, and all had the power to veto the system.
Ultimately when it's done, it goes off to PWGSC, and someone we've never spoken to looks at procurement. In one case, a clear case, we spent two years working on a project. We got the equipment, surveyed the market, picked the best stuff, loaded the software, gave it to them to trial, and they wanted it. Actually, we got the software contract, but they gave the hardware contract to two guys in a basement with a fax machine and a reseller agreement.
The deal was that the person making that decision had never met us and knew nothing about us. He was just asked to procure this at the best possible price. So he goes out with a detailed list, which I provided, and asks everybody for the pricing. I've already quoted my price, which builds in our time and effort, plus the support we promised, and the stuff just gets shipped in, in a box, from God knows where. The guys make a 5% markup, and my client is stuck, because he's asking me to support a hardware product that I've not been paid for. That's not an unusual circumstance.