B-152379, NOV. 26, 1963

B-152379: Nov 26, 1963

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YOU PROTEST A DETERMINATION BY AERONAUTICAL SYSTEMS DIVISION (ASD) THAT YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO "LETTER REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WG-3 6620-1371" WAS UNACCEPTABLE. ONLY TWO WERE CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE. IT IS REPORTED THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS: "/B) COMPLIANCE WITH SPECIFICATION MIL-E-27669A AS AMENDED IS UNACCEPTABLE AS FOLLOWS: "1. MOUNTING PROVISIONS FOR THE CONVERTOR ARE NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH FIGURE 1 OF MIL-E-27669A. "3. THE ELAPSED TIME INDICATOR AS REQUIRED BY MIL-E-27669A IS NOT SHOWN ON THE CONVERTOR. "/C) THE PROPOSED LIGHTING SYSTEM IS EXTREMELY COMPLICATED. THE USE OF 8 LAMPS IN EACH INDICATOR IS EXCESSIVE. PARAGRAPHS 3.9.3 AND 3.9.4 IS QUESTIONED.

B-152379, NOV. 26, 1963

TO AVIONIC DIVISION, JOHN OSTER MANUFACTURING COMPANY:

IN YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 23, 1963, YOU PROTEST A DETERMINATION BY AERONAUTICAL SYSTEMS DIVISION (ASD) THAT YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO "LETTER REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WG-3 6620-1371" WAS UNACCEPTABLE.

THE INSTANT CASE INVOLVES A 2-STEP FORMALLY ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF ENGINE INSTRUMENTATION SYSTEMS FOR USE ON C-141A AIRCRAFT. OF THE SIX PROPOSALS RECEIVED, ONLY TWO WERE CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE. IT IS REPORTED THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

"/B) COMPLIANCE WITH SPECIFICATION MIL-E-27669A AS AMENDED IS UNACCEPTABLE AS FOLLOWS:

"1. FIGURE 13 OF THE PROPOSAL SHOWS DIFFERENT CAPACITORS TO BE USED IN THE N1 AND N2, RPM INDICATORS. THIS RESULTS IN THE INDICATORS NOT BEING INTERCHANGEABLE AS REQUIRED BY THE SPECIFICATION.

"2. MOUNTING PROVISIONS FOR THE CONVERTOR ARE NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH FIGURE 1 OF MIL-E-27669A.

"3. THE ELAPSED TIME INDICATOR AS REQUIRED BY MIL-E-27669A IS NOT SHOWN ON THE CONVERTOR.

"/C) THE PROPOSED LIGHTING SYSTEM IS EXTREMELY COMPLICATED. THE USE OF 8 LAMPS IN EACH INDICATOR IS EXCESSIVE. COMPLIANCE WITH MIL-E 27669A, PARAGRAPHS 3.9.3 AND 3.9.4 IS QUESTIONED. THIS IS VERIFIED BY THE FACT THAT THE OFFEROR IS STUDYING OTHER APPROACHES TO IMPROVE VISIBILITY.

"/D) THE COLD JUNCTION COMPENSATING NETWORK DESIGN WHICH ALLOWS A TRACKING ACCURACY OF "2" C IS DEFICIENT AND WILL COMPROMISE EGT SYSTEM ACCURACY.

"/E) THE USE OF TWO REFERENCE POWER SUPPLIES FOR THE EGT COLD JUNCTION AND FOLLOW-UP POTENTIOMETERS IS NOT GOOD DESIGN PRACTICE FROM A SYSTEM ACCURACY VIEWPOINT. THIS TYPE OF CIRCUITRY, EVEN WITH TRIM RESISTORS INCORPORATED, REQUIRES NEAR PERFECT MATCHING OF COMPONENTS IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY CONTROLLED OUTPUTS. FURTHER, IT IS VERY IMPROBABLE THAT TEMPERATURE AND AGING DRIFTS CAN BE CONTROLLED. THIS DESIGN APPROACH IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

"/F) THE USE OF MAGNETIC CONVERTORS IN THE RPM MODULES IS UNDESIRABLE DUE TO EXCESSIVE WEIGHT AND HIGH HEAT GENERATION.

"/G) THE PRELIMINARY RELIABILITY ANALYSIS IS VERY DEFICIENT. DETAILS OF FACTORS WHICH WILL AFFECT RELIABILITY ARE INCOMPLETE; THEREFORE, THE PREDICTED MTBF FIGURES ARE NOT JUSTIFIED. IN ATTEMPTING TO PROVE THAT THE SYSTEM WILL MEET THE REQUIRED 340 HOURS MTBF, THE OFFEROR HAS NEGLECTED TO SHOW THAT THE EQUIPMENT WILL ULTIMATELY MEET THE GOAL OF 2000 MTBF.

"/H) THE OFFEROR'S FAILURE ANALYSIS IS DEFICIENT. ONLY THE FACTS THAT FUSES ARE USED IN EACH CHANNEL POWER SUPPLY AND LACK OF INPUT POWER RESULTS IN AN OFF INDICATION ARE DISCUSSED.'

ON MAY 8, 1963, YOU WERE ADVISED OF THIS REJECTION, AND UPON REQUEST, THE REASONS FOR THIS REJECTION WERE SET FORTH IN A LETTER FROM ASD DATED JUNE 3, 1963. IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 13, 1963, YOU SUPPLIED TECHNICAL INFORMATION AND ARGUMENTS TO SUPPORT YOUR BELIEF THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS AT LEAST IN THE CATEGORY DEFINED BY PARAGRAPH 2 503.1 (B) (V) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) AS A PROPOSAL WHERE "A REASONABLE EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT COULD BRING THE PROPOSALS TO AN ACCEPTABLE STATUS AND INCREASE COMPETITION.' ON JUNE 19, 1963, YOU MET WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF ASD TO DISCUSS THE ACCEPTABILITY OF YOUR PRODUCT. IN A LETTER OF JULY 11, 1963, YOU WERE ADVISED THAT THE ASD POSITION IN REGARD TO YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL REMAINED UNCHANGED.

IN OUR DECISION 40 COMP. GEN. 40, 41, WE COMMENTED THAT:

"* * * IN THE EVENT ANY TECHNICAL PROPOSAL IS CONSIDERED BY THE EVALUATION GROUP TO BE ON THE PERIPHERY OF ACCEPTABILITY IN THAT IT REQUIRES ONLY SOME MINOR POINT OF CLARIFICATION, THE PROCUREMENT OFFICIALS WILL PERMIT THE CONTRACTOR TO SUPPLY THE INFORMATION TO BRING THE PROPOSAL UP TO AN ACCEPTABLE LEVEL. BUT WHERE A TECHNICAL PROPOSAL IS MATERIALLY DEFICIENT, THE PROPOSER IS NOT ACCORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO QUALIFY HIS PROPOSAL. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING WHETHER ANY TECHNICAL PROPOSAL MEETS THE GOVERNMENT'S PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION IS SOLELY THAT OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY.'

THE RATIONALE FOR MAKING THIS RESPONSIBILITY SOLELY THAT OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY IS IN CONSONANCE WITH DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE DEALING WITH THE EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE DATA OFFERED IN RESPONSE TO INVITATIONS FOR BIDS OR REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS. WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS ARE NECESSARY TO MEET THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY, AND THE QUESTION AS TO THE MATERIALITY OF THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PRODUCT OFFERED AND THE ONE CALLED FOR IN THE SPECIFICATIONS, ARE NOT ORDINARILY CONSIDERED TO BE WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THIS OFFICE. IN OUR DECISION B-139830, DATED AUGUST 19, 1959, WE MADE THE FOLLOWING OBSERVATION:

"THIS OFFICE HAS NEITHER AN ENGINEERING STAFF NOR A TESTING LABORATORY TO EVALUATE THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF SPECIFICATIONS. MOREOVER, IN DISPUTES OF FACT BETWEEN A PROTESTANT AND A GOVERNMENT AGENCY, WE USUALLY ARE REQUIRED TO ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT AS CORRECT. WHETHER A PARTICULAR BID IS RESPONSIVE TO THE TECHNICAL DETAILS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS IS NOT A MATTER, ORDINARILY, FOR OUR DETERMINATION. * *

IN THIS REGARD, WE HELD IN OUR DECISION B-143389, DATED AUGUST 26, 1960, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE QUESTION AS TO THE ACTION, IF ANY, WHICH OUR OFFICE SHOULD TAKE IN CASES INVOLVING THE EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFICATIONS, ETC., HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF A NUMBER OF DECISIONS BY OUR OFFICE. YOUR PROTEST IS BASED UPON SUCH AN EVALUATION. OF NECESSITY, OUR OFFICE HAS ESTABLISHED A RULE GOVERNING SUCH SITUATIONS. IN A DECISION DATED JANUARY 8, 1938, TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, PUBLISHED AT 17 COMP. GEN. 554, 557, WE SET FORTH THE FOLLOWING RULE WHICH WE CONSIDER TO BE CONTROLLING IN THE INSTANT MATTER:

" "IT IS IN THE PROVINCE OF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS TO DRAFT PROPER SPECIFICATIONS NECESSARY TO SUBMIT FOR FAIR COMPETITIVE BIDDING PROPOSED CONTRACTS TO SUPPLY GOVERNMENTAL NEEDS, AND TO DETERMINE FACTUALLY WHETHER ARTICLES OFFERED MEET THOSE SPECIFICATIONS. ***" "

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS REPORTED IN THIS CASE, AND FOR THE REASONS SET OUT IN THE ABOVE-CITED DECISIONS, WE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN OBJECTING TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN.