B-149510, NOV. 15, 1962

B-149510: Nov 15, 1962

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

J. KLANG PAPER CO.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20. SINCE IT WAS STATED THAT THE PRODUCTS DELIVERED UNDER ANY RESULTING CONTRACT WOULD CONFORM TO THE APPROVED SAMPLE "AS TO THE CHARACTERISTICS FOR WHICH THE SAMPLE WAS REQUIRED" AND WOULD CONFORM TO THE SPECIFICATIONS AS TO ALL OTHER CHARACTERISTICS. SINCE THE PAPER WAS TO BE USED FOR ROUTINE REPRODUCTION AND TYPING. ONLY TWO FACTORS IN QUALITY WERE CONSIDERED IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO TEST. ONE FACTOR WAS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE BIDDERS IN A NOTE UNDER THE ITEM DESCRIPTION IN THE INVITATION. FUZZ OR PARTICLES WHICH WILL PICK. THE OTHER FACTOR THAT WAS CONSIDERED CRITICAL WAS THE ERASING QUALITY OF THE PAPER. THE SAMPLES SUBMITTED BY THE BIDDERS WERE TESTED ONLY FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE TWO FACTORS CONSIDERED TO BE CRITICAL.

B-149510, NOV. 15, 1962

TO P. J. KLANG PAPER CO.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1962, PROTESTING AGAINST THE REJECTION OF THE LOW BID YOU SUBMITTED UNDER INVITATION ORD-36 -038-62-507.

THE SUBJECT INVITATION SOLICITED BIDS FOR AN ESTIMATED QUANTITY OF 3,000,000 SHEETS OF TYPE IV WHITE PAPER IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL SPECIFICATION UU-P-121J, DATED OCTOBER 18, 1960, AND AMENDMENT 1, DATED APRIL 12, 1961. THE INVITATION CONTAINED A REQUIREMENT THAT, AS A PART OF THE BID, SAMPLES BE SUBMITTED FOR EVALUATION TO DETERMINE COMPLIANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS. PARAGRAPH (C) OF THE BID SAMPLE PROVISION INDICATED THE POSSIBILITY THAT NOT ALL CHARACTERISTICS INCLUDED IN THE SPECIFICATION WOULD BE TESTED, SINCE IT WAS STATED THAT THE PRODUCTS DELIVERED UNDER ANY RESULTING CONTRACT WOULD CONFORM TO THE APPROVED SAMPLE "AS TO THE CHARACTERISTICS FOR WHICH THE SAMPLE WAS REQUIRED" AND WOULD CONFORM TO THE SPECIFICATIONS AS TO ALL OTHER CHARACTERISTICS.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS REPORTED THAT, SINCE THE PAPER WAS TO BE USED FOR ROUTINE REPRODUCTION AND TYPING, ONLY TWO FACTORS IN QUALITY WERE CONSIDERED IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO TEST. ONE FACTOR WAS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE BIDDERS IN A NOTE UNDER THE ITEM DESCRIPTION IN THE INVITATION. THE NOTE PROVIDED THAT THE PAPER MUST NOT CONTAIN ANY LINT, FUZZ OR PARTICLES WHICH WILL PICK, LIFT, FLUFF OR PILE ON THE BLANKET. THE OTHER FACTOR THAT WAS CONSIDERED CRITICAL WAS THE ERASING QUALITY OF THE PAPER. IN THIS CONNECTION, PARAGRAPH 3.3 OF THE FEDERAL SPECIFICATION REQUIRES THAT THE PAPER RETAIN GOOD RULING, WRITING AND TYPING QUALITY, TEXTURE AND SURFACE APPEARANCE, WITHOUT INK SPREADING AFTER REPEATED ERASURES.

THE SAMPLES SUBMITTED BY THE BIDDERS WERE TESTED ONLY FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE TWO FACTORS CONSIDERED TO BE CRITICAL. THE TESTING DISCLOSED TO THE EXAMINING PERSONNEL THAT THE SAMPLES SUBMITTED BY THE THREE LOW BIDDERS DID NOT MEET THE REQUIRED ERASING QUALITY IN THAT ERASURES COULD NOT BE SATISFACTORILY MADE. HOWEVER, THE BID SAMPLE SUBMITTED BY THE FOURTH LOW BIDDER WAS DETERMINED TO HAVE MET THE CRITICAL TESTS AND THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED TO THAT BIDDER.

SINCE THE PROCUREMENT OFFICIALS ARE BETTER QUALIFIED THAN WE ARE TO REVIEW AND EVALUATE THE SUFFICIENCY OF OFFERED PRODUCTS TO DETERMINE WHETHER THEY MEET THE QUALITATIVE REQUIREMENTS THAT ARE NEEDED, WE DO NOT FEEL JUSTIFIED IN QUESTIONING THEIR DETERMINATION. AS WE INDICATED IN 17 COMP. GEN. 554, AT PAGE 557, IT IS THE PROVINCE OF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS TO DETERMINE WHETHER ARTICLES OFFERED MEET THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS.

WHILE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER INDICATES THAT ONLY THE QUALITIES THAT WERE TESTED WERE CONSIDERED CRITICAL, IT IS NOTED THAT THE FEDERAL SPECIFICATION THAT WAS INCORPORATED INTO THE INVITATION BY REFERENCE CONSIDERS OTHER QUALITIES TO BE EQUALLY AS CRITICAL. UNDER PARAGRAPH 4.4 OF THE SPECIFICATION THERE ARE LISTED, IN ADDITION TO ERASING QUALITY, OTHER QUALITIES OF "MAJOR" SIGNIFICANCE THAT INCLUDE DIMENSIONS AND TRIM, GRAIN, WRITING QUALITY AND SIZING. THEREFORE, SINCE THE INVITATION DID NOT INDICATE THE SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS THAT WOULD BE TESTED IN THE SAMPLE, IT APPEARS THAT YOU MAY HAVE HAD SOME REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THE SAMPLE MIGHT BE SUBJECTED TO TESTS IN ADDITION TO THOSE ACTUALLY PERFORMED. BUT, BE THAT AS IT MAY, THE FACT REMAINS THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE HAS DETERMINED THAT YOUR SAMPLE DID NOT MEET THE ERASING TEST AND THEREFORE THE OUTCOME OF SUCH OTHER TESTS ON YOUR SAMPLE WOULD NOT BE MATERIAL.

FURTHER, SINCE THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE HS DECIDED THAT BECAUSE OF THE USE TO BE MADE OF THE PAPER ONLY THE TWO TESTS MADE ARE CRITICAL, THE PERFORMANCE ON THE SUCCESSFUL SAMPLE OF SUCH TESTS AS ARE ADMINISTRATIVELY CONSIDERED TO BE NONCRITICAL WOULD BE AN IDLE GESTURE. HOWEVER, IN AN ATTEMPT TO PRECLUDE A RECURRENCE OF THE PRESENT SITUATION, WE ARE SUGGESTING TO THE CONTRACTING AGENCY THAT IN THE FUTURE WHEN SAMPLES SUBMITTED WITH BIDS ARE NOT TO BE EVALUATED FOR ALL THE QUALITIES SPECIFIED AS MAJOR QUALITIES THE INVITATION SO INDICATE AND SPECIFY THE SPECIFIC QUALITIES WHICH WILL BE TESTED.