B-153164, MAR. 13, 1964

B-153164: Mar 13, 1964

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE RESCISSION BY THE NAVY OF PURCHASE ORDER NOPF- 1622-64. THE PURCHASE ORDER WAS ISSUED BY THE U.S. WAS THE SUBJECT OF A REPORT TO THIS OFFICE. FIVE SOURCES WERE SOLICITED AND TWO OFFERS WERE RECEIVED. THE APPARENT LOW QUOTATION OF $495 WAS OFFERED BY ROCKFORD AMERICAN MACHINERY SALES. ONE OTHER BID WAS RECEIVED. IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE ARTICLE OFFERED BY ROCKFORD AND THE BRAND NAME ITEM WERE MINOR IN NATURE AND. WAS ISSUED TO ROCKFORD REQUIRING DELIVERY OF THE ITEM OFFERED BY IT BY NOVEMBER 25. THE ITEM WAS DELIVERED TO THE U.S. IT WAS CONCLUDED AFTER CAREFUL REEVALUATION THAT THE ROCKFORD UNIT WAS NOT. IT APPEARS THAT WHAT WERE ORIGINALLY REGARDED AS MINOR DIFFERENCES WERE FOUND TO BE MAJOR DIFFERENCES.

B-153164, MAR. 13, 1964

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE RESCISSION BY THE NAVY OF PURCHASE ORDER NOPF- 1622-64, DATED NOVEMBER 5, 1963, WITH ROCKFORD AMERICAN MACHINERY SALES, INC. THE PURCHASE ORDER WAS ISSUED BY THE U.S. NAVAL ORDNANCE PLANT, FOREST PARK, ILLINOIS, AND WAS THE SUBJECT OF A REPORT TO THIS OFFICE, RL.2, DATED FEBRUARY 25, 1964, BY THE ASSISTANT CHIEF FOR PURCHASING, BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS.

REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS NO. 6-6712-64, WITH CLOSING DATE OF OCTOBER 14, 1963, SOLICITED OFFERS UNDER ITEM I, FOR ONE PLASTIC HARDNESS TESTER, WILSON MECHANICAL INSTRUMENT NO. 95187 OR EQUAL, AS PER ADDITIONAL SUPPLEMENTARY SPECIFICATIONS LISTING PARTICULAR REQUIREMENTS WHICH IDENTIFIED WITH SOME PRECISION THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ITEM REQUIRED. FIVE SOURCES WERE SOLICITED AND TWO OFFERS WERE RECEIVED. THE APPARENT LOW QUOTATION OF $495 WAS OFFERED BY ROCKFORD AMERICAN MACHINERY SALES, INC., UPON AN "EQUAL" ITEM,"RAMS, ROCKFORD," MODEL NO. 10-R.P., REGULAR HARDNESS TESTER INCLUDING ALL STANDARD EQUIPMENT. ONE OTHER BID WAS RECEIVED, FROM WILSON MECHANICAL INSTRUMENT DIVISION, MELROSE PARK, ILLINOIS, THE BRAND NAME MANUFACTURER, AT A UNIT PRICE OF $760.

THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE PROCURING AGENCY REPORTS THAT AFTER EVALUATION OF BOTH QUOTATIONS BY TECHNICAL PERSONNEL, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE ARTICLE OFFERED BY ROCKFORD AND THE BRAND NAME ITEM WERE MINOR IN NATURE AND, AS A CONSEQUENCE, PURCHASE ORDER NO. 1622-64 DATED NOVEMBER 5, 1963, WAS ISSUED TO ROCKFORD REQUIRING DELIVERY OF THE ITEM OFFERED BY IT BY NOVEMBER 25, 1963. THE ITEM WAS DELIVERED TO THE U.S. NAVAL ORDNANCE PLANT WITHIN THE REQUIRED SCHEDULE. AFTER DELIVERY, BUT PRIOR TO PAYMENT, AND AS A RESULT OF A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 18, 1963, TO U.S. NAVAL ORDNANCE PLANT FROM WILSON MECHANICAL INSTRUMENT DIVISION, THE BRAND NAME MANUFACTURER, IT WAS CONCLUDED AFTER CAREFUL REEVALUATION THAT THE ROCKFORD UNIT WAS NOT, IN FACT, EQUAL TO THE WILSON UNIT OR IN CONFORMITY WITH THE SPECIFICATION REQUIREMENTS IN VARIOUS RESPECTS. IN OTHER WORDS, IT APPEARS THAT WHAT WERE ORIGINALLY REGARDED AS MINOR DIFFERENCES WERE FOUND TO BE MAJOR DIFFERENCES, ALTHOUGH THE ONLY DOCUMENTATION FURNISHED INDICATES THAT THE REPORTED "MAJOR DIFFERENCES" WERE IN EVERY INSTANCE DEVIATIONS WHICH HAD BEEN SPECIFICALLY POINTED OUT BY ROCKFORD IN THE LETTER TRANSMITTING ITS QUOTATION.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT AN APPARENTLY ERRONEOUS ORDER HAD BEEN ISSUED TO ROCKFORD, THE U.S. NAVAL ORDNANCE PLANT DECIDED TO CONTACT ROCKFORD, EXPLAIN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE ERRONEOUS EVALUATION AND RESULTANT ORDER AND REQUEST THAT ROCKFORD ACCEPT TERMINATION OF THE ORDER AT NO COST TO EITHER PARTY. IT IS REPORTED THAT REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER CONTACTED ROCKFORD BY TELEPHONE ON NOVEMBER 27, 1963, EXPLAINED THE SITUATION, AND RECEIVED ASSURANCE FROM MR. LUNDIN, PRESIDENT OF ROCKFORD, THAT ROCKFORD UNDERSTOOD THE SITUATION AND WOULD ACCEPT A NO- COST TERMINATION OF THE ORDER. MR. LUNDIN IS REPORTED TO HAVE SAID THAT IF THE UNIT WERE RETURNED TO ROCKFORD PROMPTLY, DISPOSITION OF THE UNIT TO ANOTHER CUSTOMER COULD BE MADE WITHOUT LOSS TO ROCKFORD. MR. LUNDIN ALSO AGREED TO EXECUTE ANY DOCUMENTS NECESSARY TO COMPLETE THE AGREEMENT REACHED ON THE TELEPHONE. SUBSEQUENTLY THE UNIT WAS RETURNED TO ROCKFORD AND MR. LUNDIN EXECUTED A NO-COST TERMINATION ON JANUARY 9, 1964. HOWEVER, THE MATTER OF THIS PROCUREMENT HAS BEEN PROTESTED BY ROCKFORD ON THE GROUND THAT APPARENTLY WILSON, THE BRAND NAME MANUFACTURER, WAS THE ONLY FIRM THAT COULD MEET THE STATED REQUIREMENTS, ALTHOUGH MACHINES MANUFACTURED BY OTHER FIRMS ALLEGEDLY CAN DO THE JOB AS WELL AS THE WILSON MACHINE.

WHILE IT APPEARS FROM THE SECOND EVALUATION THAT THE ROCKFORD ITEM DID NOT FULLY MEET THE SPECIFICATIONS OF THE REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS, THE RECORD CONTAINS NO STATEMENT THAT IT WOULD NOT IN FACT SATISFACTORILY MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF THE ORDNANCE PLANT, AND IT IS NOTED FROM ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT OF JANUARY 27, 1964 (S31:EC 4330) THAT CONSIDERATION IS BEING GIVEN TO BROADENING FUTURE SPECIFICATIONS TO PERMIT CONSIDERATION OF THE ITEM OFFERED BY ROCKFORD. IN VIEW THEREOF AND SINCE IT APPEARS THAT THE EXISTING REQUIREMENT FOR A HARDNESS TESTER IS BEING WITHHELD PENDING DISPOSITION OF ROCKFORD'S PROTEST, WE BELIEVE THAT NEW PROPOSALS SHOULD BE REQUESTED ON THE BASIS OF A PURCHASE DESCRIPTION REPRESENTING THE GOVERNMENT'S MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS RATHER THAN ON A BRAND NAME BASIS. 38 COMP. GEN. 291. IN THE EVENT IT SHOULD BE DETERMINED THAT ONLY THE WILSON TESTER WILL IN FACT MEET THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS IT WOULD APPEAR THAT CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE GIVEN TO NEGOTIATING A CONTRACT WITH WILSON.