B-150878, JUN. 3, 1963

B-150878: Jun 3, 1963

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TO ELECTRO-MECHANICAL CORPORATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF FEBRUARY 15 AND 27. WHICH IS PART OF A RESEARCH PROJECT TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF DETECTING SUBMARINES AT EXTREMELY LONG RANGES. APPROXIMATELY 19 PROPOSALS WERE EVALUATED. OF WHICH YOURS WAS THE FOURTH LOWEST AT $708. AWARD WAS MADE TO THE MASSA DIVISION OF COHU ELECTRONICS AT A PRICE OF $709. YOU PROTEST THIS AWARD ON THE GROUND THAT YOU WERE THE LOW RESPONSIBLE BIDDER. THE SELECTION OF SUBCONTRACTORS IS A RESPONSIBILITY PLACED UPON PRIME CONTRACTORS AND IN THIS CASE. THE SELECTION WAS MADE BY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. PRICE IS AN ELEMENT FOR CONSIDERATION BUT NOT THE PREDOMINANT FACTOR. IT SEEMS PERTINENT TO NOTE HERE THAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR BID AND THAT OF THE MASSA DIVISION OF COHU ELECTRONICS IS LESS THAN 1/10 OF ONE PERCENT.

B-150878, JUN. 3, 1963

TO ELECTRO-MECHANICAL CORPORATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF FEBRUARY 15 AND 27, 1963, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING AWARD TO ANY OTHER CONCERN UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS DATED DECEMBER 4, 1962, FOR MODULE HYDROPHONE INSTRUMENTATION.

THE ABOVE SOLICITATION CONTEMPLATED THE NEGOTIATION OF A SUBCONTRACT BY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AS PRIME CONTRACTOR UNDER OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH CONTRACT NONR-266 (66), WHICH IS PART OF A RESEARCH PROJECT TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF DETECTING SUBMARINES AT EXTREMELY LONG RANGES. APPROXIMATELY 19 PROPOSALS WERE EVALUATED, OF WHICH YOURS WAS THE FOURTH LOWEST AT $708,919, AND AWARD WAS MADE TO THE MASSA DIVISION OF COHU ELECTRONICS AT A PRICE OF $709,600. YOU PROTEST THIS AWARD ON THE GROUND THAT YOU WERE THE LOW RESPONSIBLE BIDDER.

THE SELECTION OF SUBCONTRACTORS IS A RESPONSIBILITY PLACED UPON PRIME CONTRACTORS AND IN THIS CASE, THE SELECTION WAS MADE BY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. IN NEGOTIATING A SUBCONTRACT WHEN THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE SUBCONTRACT PLACES A PREMIUM ON TECHNICAL MERIT AND, AS IN THIS CASE, ON A HIGH DEGREE OF QUALITY CONTROL TO HELP ASSURE THE TIMELY DELIVERY OF RELIABLE RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION, PRICE IS AN ELEMENT FOR CONSIDERATION BUT NOT THE PREDOMINANT FACTOR. IT SEEMS PERTINENT TO NOTE HERE THAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR BID AND THAT OF THE MASSA DIVISION OF COHU ELECTRONICS IS LESS THAN 1/10 OF ONE PERCENT.

THE EVALUATION AND SELECTION OF THE SUBCONTRACTOR WERE MADE BY A TECHNICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE CONSISTING OF SCIENTIFIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL OF THE HUDSON LABORATORIES OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY WHO ARE CONSIDERED TO BE HIGHLY QUALIFIED FOR THE TASK. THIS EVALUATION GAVE CAREFUL CONSIDERATION TO TECHNICAL QUALIFICATION, TECHNICAL EXPERIENCE IN THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED, AND OTHER PERTINENT FACTORS SUCH AS THE METHODS BY WHICH THE PROPOSER PLANNED TO ACCOMPLISH MANUFACTURE AND ASSEMBLY, AND THE ANTICIPATED RELIABILITY OF THE COMPLETED PACKAGE.

IN THIS PROCUREMENT, IT WAS NOT FEASIBLE TO WRITE SPECIFICATIONS WHICH WOULD ASSURE RELIABILITY OF THE END PRODUCT, SINCE THIS PARTICULAR INSTRUMENTATION HAS NEVER BEEN MANUFACTURED BEFORE IN THE FORM CONTEMPLATED. OF IMPORTANCE ALSO IS THE FACT THAT THE COMPONENTS IN QUESTION ARE UNITS WHICH, WHEN INSTALLED IN THE OCEAN, WILL BE COMPLETELY INACCESSIBLE AND NONRECOVERABLE. IN ADDITION, AN UNSATISFACTORY PRODUCT WOULD INVOLVE NOT ONLY THE INSTRUMENTATION IN QUESTION, BUT THE ENTIRE INSTALLATION IN THE OCEAN, REPRESENTING A TOTAL INVESTMENT IN EXCESS OF $4,000,000, WHICH INCLUDES CABLE, MODULES, OTHER COMPONENTS, INSTALLATION COSTS, ETC.

THE FOREGOING EMPHASIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEKING A SUBCONTRACTOR ON THE BASIS OF MERIT, AS DISCLOSED BY PERSONAL CONTACT AND A REVIEW OF THE TECHNICAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE PROPOSAL, AND LOOKING TOWARD THE TIMELY COMPLETION OF A PROGRAM WHICH IS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE TO THE DEFENSE EFFORT. THE SELECTION OF THE SUBCONTRACTOR NECESSARILY PLACES CONSIDERABLE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE COMMITTEE MAKING THE EVALUATION AND DEPENDENCE MUST BE HAD ON ITS JUDGMENT IN THE MATTER.

IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE THAT THE ACTION OF THE SELECTION COMMITTEE WAS NOT MADE IN GOOD FAITH AND IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS BEST INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT, WE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN OBJECTING TO AWARD OF THE SUBCONTRACT TO THE MASSA DIVISION OF COHU ELECTRONICS. YOUR PROTEST MUST