B-143099, JUN. 30, 1960

B-143099: Jun 30, 1960

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YOU AND AMERICAN LAUNDRY MACHINERY COMPANY WERE THE ONLY BIDDERS UNDER BOTH INVITATIONS. 429 HIGH BID WERE BOTH REJECTED. 500 LOW BID WAS AGAIN REJECTED BECAUSE OF THE AIR JET FOLDER. WAS ACCEPTED. YOUR PROTEST APPEARS TO BE PREMISED ON THE BASIS THAT THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENT FOR A MECHANICAL BLADE FOLDER IN EACH INVITATION MERELY WAS BASED UPON PERSONAL PREFERENCE WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT. BEFORE ANY SPECIFICATIONS WERE PREPARED FOR EQUIPMENT INVOLVED. A CAREFUL STUDY WAS MADE BY MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL FROM THE NAVAL ACADEMY LAUNDRY OF THE MECHANICAL BLADE AND AIR JET FOLDERS IN A NUMBER OF LAUNDRIES FROM THE STANDPOINT OF MODERNIZING THE LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT APPARENTLY WITH THE VIEW OF OBTAINING THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY ATTAINABLE.

B-143099, JUN. 30, 1960

TO THE AMERICAN MACHINE AND METALS, INC.:

IN LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1960, YOU PROTESTED THE REJECTION OF YOUR BID UNDER INVITATION 161-78/60 AND UNDER THE SUBSEQUENT READVERTISEMENT IN INVITATION 161-85/60.

THE SUBJECT INVITATIONS SOLICITED BIDS FOR SUPPLYING TO THE NAVAL ACADEMY LAUNDRY AN AUTOMATIC FLATWORK FOLDING MACHINE CONFORMING TO FEDERAL SPECIFICATIONS OO-L-131E, EXCEPT THAT, AMONG OTHER EXCEPTIONS, IT HAD TO BE A MECHANICAL BLADE FOLDER. YOU AND AMERICAN LAUNDRY MACHINERY COMPANY WERE THE ONLY BIDDERS UNDER BOTH INVITATIONS. UNDER THE FIRST INVITATION, YOUR $5,850 LOW BID AND THE OTHER BIDDER'S $6,429 HIGH BID WERE BOTH REJECTED, SINCE YOUR OFFERED AIR JET FOLDER DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENT FOR A MECHANICAL BLADE TYPE, AND THE OTHER BIDDER'S DELIVERY TIME DID NOT MEET THE SCHEDULE SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE READVERTISED THE SAME REQUIREMENT ON A NEW DELIVERY SCHEDULE. UNDER THIS SECOND INVITATION, YOUR $5,500 LOW BID WAS AGAIN REJECTED BECAUSE OF THE AIR JET FOLDER. THE $6,429 HIGH BID OF THE OTHER BIDDER, MEETING THE MECHANICAL BLADE REQUIREMENT AND THE NEW DELIVERY SCHEDULE, WAS ACCEPTED.

YOUR PROTEST APPEARS TO BE PREMISED ON THE BASIS THAT THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENT FOR A MECHANICAL BLADE FOLDER IN EACH INVITATION MERELY WAS BASED UPON PERSONAL PREFERENCE WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

HOWEVER, BEFORE ANY SPECIFICATIONS WERE PREPARED FOR EQUIPMENT INVOLVED, A CAREFUL STUDY WAS MADE BY MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL FROM THE NAVAL ACADEMY LAUNDRY OF THE MECHANICAL BLADE AND AIR JET FOLDERS IN A NUMBER OF LAUNDRIES FROM THE STANDPOINT OF MODERNIZING THE LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT APPARENTLY WITH THE VIEW OF OBTAINING THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY ATTAINABLE. ON THE BASIS OF THEIR OBSERVATIONS OF THE PERFORMANCE OF BOTH TYPES OF FOLDERS AND THEIR CONSULTATIONS WITH RESPONSIBLE LAUNDRY OPERATORS, THE NAVAL ACADEMY LAUNDRY PERSONNEL CONCLUDED THAT THE MECHANICAL BLADE FOLDERS HAD THE FOLLOWING DESIRABLE ADVANTAGES OVER AIR JET FOLDERS: ,/1) QUALITY OF WORK APPEARS TO BE CONSISTENTLY BETTER DUE TO FORMATION OF MORE PERFECT FOLDING LINES, (2) LESS ATTENTION TO ADJUSTMENTS DUE TO AIR PRESSURE FLUCTUATION THEREBY SAVING "DOWN TIME," (3) FEWER "GO BACKS" DUE TO INACCURATE FOLDS, AND (4) ELIMINATES POSSIBILITY OF STAINING OF CLOTHING FROM OIL OR WATER IN AIR LINES.' IN VIEW OF THESE OPERATIONAL ADVANTAGES, THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE LAUNDRY DETERMINED TO INVITE BIDS FOR THE MECHANICAL BLADE FOLDER.

THUS, IT APPEARS THAT BEFORE A REQUIREMENT FOR A MECHANICAL BLADE FOLDER WAS SPECIFIED THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE LAUNDRY WERE CONSIDERED AND WERE FOUND TO BE SATISFIED BY THAT TYPE OF A MACHINE. THE INVITATION, THEREFORE, WAS A BONA FIDE ATTEMPT TO SET FORTH THE ACTUAL NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND FOR DRAFTING SPECIFICATIONS WHICH REFLECT THOSE NEEDS IS A FUNCTION PRIMARILY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES. COMP. GEN. 554, 557. AND THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT REQUIRED TO PURCHASE EQUIPMENT NOT FULFILLING ITS PARTICULAR NEEDS SOLELY BECAUSE IT CAN BE PURCHASED AT A LOWER PRICE. 36 COMP. GEN. 251, 252.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND SINCE YOU DID NOT OFFER TO SUPPLY THE SPECIFIED MECHANICAL BLADE FOLDER, WHICH YOU INDICATE YOU HAVE MANUFACTURED, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT YOUR BIDS WERE REJECTED IMPROPERLY.