B-154468, SEP. 2, 1964

B-154468: Sep 2, 1964

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TO MATHEWS CONVEYER COMPANY WEST COAST: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEFAX AND LETTER OF JUNE 16. BIDS WERE OPENED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE ABOVE INVITATION. WHILE YOUR FIRM ADMITTEDLY SUBMITTED THE LOWEST BID PRICE YOUR BID WAS REJECTED ON THE GROUND THAT IT WAS TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION. AWARD WAS MADE TO THE SECOND LOW BIDDER ON JUNE 12. EXCEPTION IS TAKEN TO THE REJECTION OF YOUR BID ON TECHNICAL GROUNDS. ALSO ASSERTED IS THE CONCLUSION THAT THE SECOND LOW BID IS TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE. THE TECHNICAL ARGUMENTS RAISED IN SUPPORT OF THESE CONTENTIONS WERE ORIGINALLY ANSWERED BY THE MARINE CORPS IN THEIR STATEMENT OF JUNE 19. AN INFORMAL CONFERENCE WAS CONDUCTED AT OUR OFFICE BETWEEN KEY PERSONNEL OF YOUR ORGANIZATION AND THE MARINE CORPS ON MONDAY.

B-154468, SEP. 2, 1964

TO MATHEWS CONVEYER COMPANY WEST COAST:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEFAX AND LETTER OF JUNE 16, 1964, AS WELL AS TO SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE PROTESTING AWARD OF A CONTRACT BY THE MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER, BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA, UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. 62204-0653-64 (FBM).

THE ABOVE INVITATION CALLED FOR THE FURNISHING AND INSTALLATION OF A FULLY AUTOMATED MATERIALS HANDLING SYSTEM BETWEEN WAREHOUSES 7 AND 9 AT THE MARINE CORPS SUPPLY CENTER, BARSTOW, CALIFORNIA. ON JUNE 8, 1964, BIDS WERE OPENED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE ABOVE INVITATION, AS AMENDED. WHILE YOUR FIRM ADMITTEDLY SUBMITTED THE LOWEST BID PRICE YOUR BID WAS REJECTED ON THE GROUND THAT IT WAS TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE TO THE INVITATION. AWARD WAS MADE TO THE SECOND LOW BIDDER ON JUNE 12, 1964.

IN YOUR FIRST LETTER OF PROTEST DATED JUNE 16, 1964, EXCEPTION IS TAKEN TO THE REJECTION OF YOUR BID ON TECHNICAL GROUNDS. ALSO ASSERTED IS THE CONCLUSION THAT THE SECOND LOW BID IS TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE. THE TECHNICAL ARGUMENTS RAISED IN SUPPORT OF THESE CONTENTIONS WERE ORIGINALLY ANSWERED BY THE MARINE CORPS IN THEIR STATEMENT OF JUNE 19, 1964, A COPY OF WHICH HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY FURNISHED TO YOU. BECAUSE OF DISAGREEMENT WITH THESE FINDINGS AND PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF THE TECHNICAL COMPLEXITIES OF THE MATTER, AN INFORMAL CONFERENCE WAS CONDUCTED AT OUR OFFICE BETWEEN KEY PERSONNEL OF YOUR ORGANIZATION AND THE MARINE CORPS ON MONDAY, JULY 13, 1964.

YOUR SUBSEQUENT LETTER DATED JULY 14, 1964, BASICALLY REITERATES YOUR ORIGINAL POSITION REGARDING THE ISSUES IN CONTROVERSY. AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION THE MARINE CORPS STILL MAINTAINS THAT YOUR BID IS TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE.

IN YOUR LETTERS DATED JUNE 27 AND JULY 14, 1964, YOU CONTEND THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS DID NOT REQUIRE TECHNICAL INFORMATION REGARDING THE ACTUAL STOPPING OF THE CONVEYOR ITSELF. IT IS YOUR POSITION THAT THE TERM "AUTOMATIC STOPS" ONLY REFERS TO THE TWO POWERED MECHANICAL DEVICES SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN THE SPECIFICATIONS IN PARAGRAPH 20.10 AND 23.1.17. THE MARINE CORPS, HOWEVER, MAINTAINS THAT YOU HAVE ATTEMPTED TO PLACE A TOO RESTRICTIVE INTERPRETATION UPON THE WORDS " AUTOMATIC STOPS.' SPECIFICALLY THEY STATE:

"THE MATHEWS LETTER STATES "THE MARINE CORPS HAS DECIDED TO PLACE A RATHER ALL-INCLUSIVE DEFINITION TO THE WORDS "AUTOMATIC STOPS.' THIS TERMINOLOGY, AS WE BELIEVE WAS ACKNOWLEDGED DURING THE MEETING ON 13 JULY, COVERS THE AUTOMATIC STOPPING OF ITEMS ON THE CONVEYOR LINE.' THE MARINE CORPS DID NOT AT ANY TIME ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE TERM "AUTOMATIC STOPS" SPECIFICALLY COVERS THE AUTOMATIC STOPPING OF ITEMS ON THE CONVEYOR LINE. THE MARINE CORPS' APPLICATION OF THE TERM ,AUTOMATIC STOPS" WAS AND STILL IS THAT IT APPLIES TO STOPPING OF THE CONVEYORS UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS.

"THE MATHEWS COMPANY ELECTED TO SPELL OUT SPECIFICALLY HOW THEY INTENDED TO COMPLY WITH PARAGRAPH 22.3 AND 22.1.3. IN SO DOING, THEIR PROPOSAL WAS SATISFACTORY FOR PARAGRAPH 22.3 BUT IN THEIR PRESENTATION ON PARAGRAPH 22.1.3, THEY DID NOT COMPLETE THEIR DATA TO SHOW WHAT THEY WERE TO DO ABOUT ACCUMULATION ON CONVEYORS 68 AND 68A AND THE RECIRCULATION OF TOTE BOXES IN WAREHOUSE 9. THE ALVEY-FERGUSON COMPANY'S PROPOSAL COVERED BOTH OF THESE PARAGRAPHS IN THEIR SECTION 23.3.2, LAST PARAGRAPH, FIRST PAGE, AND LAST PARAGRAPH, PAGE 4 AND ALSO BY USING THE CONTROL CONSOLE AS THEIR PRESENTATION OF THE OVERALL CONTROL LOGIC FOR THE SYSTEM, IN THEIR SECTION 24, THEY SPECIFICALLY POINTED OUT THE PARAGRAPHS THAT PERTAIN TO THE LIGHTS, BUTTONS, ETC., ON THE CONTROL CONSOLE. ON CONVEYOR 155 THEY SHOWED A FULL LINE LIGHT AND REFERRED TO PARAGRAPH 22.3. THIS LIGHT DOES NOT COME ON UNTIL CONVEYORS PRECEDING CONVEYOR 155 ARE STOPPED AND AS SUCH, THEY SHOW COMPLIANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 22.3. THEY SHOW A JAM CONTROL LIGHT ON THE CONSOLE AND EXPLAIN IN THEIR SECTION 24 THAT THIS IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 22.1.3. ONCE AGAIN THIS LIGHT DOES NOT COME ON UNTIL THE CONDITIONS OUTLINED IN PARAGRAPH 22.1.3 ARE EFFECTED. THEIR REFERENCES IN THIS REGARD SHOWS THAT THEY ARE AWARE OF ALL REQUIREMENTS UNDER BOTH THESE PARAGRAPHS INCLUDING ACCUMULATION ON CONVEYORS 68 AND 68A AND RECIRCULATION IN WAREHOUSE 9. THEY FURTHER STATE THAT THAT PHOTO ELECTRIC SENSING DEVICES SHALL BE USED TO SENSE FULL LINE, DIVERSIONS, ETC., IN SECTION 23.1.

"DURING THE MEETING ON 13 JULY, THE MATHEWS' REPRESENTATIVE WERE ASKED SPECIFICALLY IF THEY CONSIDERED THE OPERATION OF A FIRE DOOR ESSENTIAL TO THE OPERATION OF THE CONVEYOR SYSTEM. THEIR ANSWER WAS AN UNQUALIFIED "YES.' AS SUCH, IT IS INCONCEIVABLE THAT A MANUFACTURER WHO CONSIDERS THIS ASPECT ESSENTIAL WOULD NOT INCLUDE THIS INFORMATION IN THE OVERALL CONTROL OF THE SYSTEM. THERE IS NO REFERENCE ANYWHERE IN THE MATHEWS PROPOSAL AS TO THEIR METHOD OF APPLYING CONTROLS IN THIS REGARD. IT COULD HAVE BEEN SPELLED OUT OR SHOWN ON THEIR CONTROL CONSOLE DRAWING. THE ALVEY-FERGUSON PROPOSAL COVERED EACH OF THESE PARAGRAPHS SPECIFICALLY BY SHOWING ON THE CONTROL CONSOLE, LIGHTS THAT WOULD ADVISE THE CONSOLE/SYSTEM OPERATOR WHEN AND WHERE A FIRE DOOR HAS CLOSED AND WHEN AND WHERE A START/STOP PUSH BUTTON HAS BEEN ACTIVATED AS PER PARAGRAPHS 26 AND 23.1.3. THEY FURTHER SPELLED THIS OUT IN THEIR SECTION 26. THE MATHEWS PROPOSAL DID NOT FURNISH SUFFICIENT DATA REGARDING THE ABOVE PARAGRAPHS TO DETERMINE THEIR RESPONSIVENESS AND AS SUCH, ARE CONSIDERED NONRESPONSIVE IN THIS ITEM.'

IN SUBSTANCE THE MARINE CORPS ARGUES WHEN ONE USES THE TERM "AUTOMATIC STOPS" IN AN AUTOMATED MATERIALS HANDLING SYSTEM THAT, BY IMPLICATION, IT REFERS TO THOSE DEVICES WHICH STOP THE CONVEYOR AS WELL AS TO ITEMS ON THE CONVEYOR AND, THEREFORE, IT WAS INCUMBENT UPON MATHEWS TO SUPPLY TECHNICAL INFORMATION CONCERNING THE MEANS INTENDED FOR STOPPING THE CONVEYOR. FIND OURSELVES UNABLE TO AGREE WITH THIS POSITION. WE FEEL IT ONLY FAIR THAT IF THE MARINE CORPS WANTED SPECIFIC TECHNICAL DATA ON ALL STOPPING DEVICES, SUCH INFORMATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN CALLED FOR IN THE SPECIFICATIONS BY THE USE OF BROADER LANGUAGE AS SUGGESTED. IN SIMILAR INSTANCES WE HAVE HELD THAT IF A BIDDER RESPONDS TO AN INVITATION IN A REASONABLE FASHION, THE FACT THAT THE RESPONSE IS NOT IN CONFORMITY WITH THE AGENCY'S EXPECTATIONS AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR REJECTION OF SUCH BID AS NONRESPONSIVE SINCE THE AGENCY BEARS THE BURDEN OF SETTING OUT REQUIREMENTS WITH SUFFICIENT CLARITY TO AVOID SUCH CONFUSION. 43 COMP. GEN. 23. THEREFORE, WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT NO BID COULD BE DECLARED NONRESPONSIVE SOLELY FOR FAILURE TO SUBMIT DATA FOR ALL STOPPING DEVICES.

UNDER PARAGRAPH 3.1 (6) OF THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION BIDDERS WERE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE SPECIFIC TECHNICAL DESIGN AND DESCRIPTIVE DATA SUFFICIENT TO ASCERTAIN THE ENGINEERING AND FUNCTIONAL ADEQUACY OF THE CONTROL CONSOLE. DESCRIPTIVE DATA WAS REQUIRED TO DESCRIBE AND DEMONSTRATE BASIC CONSOLE MECHANICS. PARAGRAPH NO. 24 OF THE SPECIFICATION FURTHER STATES,"CONSOLE TO PROVIDE VISUAL INFORMATION ON THE OPERATION OF THE SYSTEM IN ADDITION TO CONTROL OF VARIOUS SEGMENTS OF THE SYSTEM. * * * THE CONVEYOR SYSTEM WILL BE GRAPHICALLY DISPLAYED ON THE CONSOLE PANEL WITH INDICATING LIGHTS, CONTROLS, AND COUNTERS LOCATED AT VARIOUS POINTS AS NECESSARY TO PROVIDE THE REQUIRED INFORMATION AND CONTROL. * * * NECESSARY CONTROLS WILL BE PROVIDED IN THE CONVEYOR SYSTEM AS REQUIRED TO OPERATE THE LIGHTS, COUNTERS, BUTTONS, ETC., ON THE CONSOLE.' THE MARINE CORPS ANALYZES THE CONTROL CONSOLE TO AN AIRPLANE COCKPIT IN THAT IT PORTRAYS TO THE PILOT OR OPERATOR THE EXACT OPERATION OF THE SYSTEM. INTER ALIA, THEY STATE:

"B. ON CONVEYOR LINES 1A THROUGH 1J (RECEIVING), THE MATHEWS DRAWING SHOWS A PILOT LIGHT WITH AN "A" IN IT. THIS, ACCORDING TO THEIR DRAWING, INDICATES THAT EACH LINE IS ATTENDED. IN READING PARAGRAPH 22.2 OF THE SPECIFICATION, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE MARINE CORPS DID NOT INTEND TO HAVE PERSONNEL MANNING THOSE RECEIVING LINES. IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD WHY THE MATHEWS PROPOSAL CALLS FOR THESE LINES TO BE ATTENDED NOR COULD THE MATHEWS PERSONNEL EXPLAIN THE REASON AT THE 13 JULY MEETING. IN THEIR 14 JULY LETTER, THEY SIMPLY STATE THAT "THESE LIGHTS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE OPERATION OF THE RECEIVING REPLENISHMENT AND RECEIVING TO REPLENISHMENT OPERATION AS DESCRIBED IN MATHEWS SPECIFICATION.' IN REVIEWING THE MATHEWS SPECIFICATION, THERE IS NO MENTION THAT THESE LINES ARE REQUIRED TO BE ATTENDED NOR IS THERE ANY COMMENT THAT EXPLAINS THEIR PURPOSE. THERE IS IN THE MARINE CORPS SPECIFICATION, PARAGRAPH 23.3.5, WHICH REQUIRES "PUSH BUTTON STATIONS TO BE PROVIDED FOR RELEASE OF UNITS 1A THROUGH 1J.' THIS REQUIREMENT IS A DEFINITE CONTROL FUNCTION FOR THE SYSTEM AND AS SUCH, HAS TO BE A PART OF THE CONTROL CONSOLE SO THE SYSTEM OPERATOR HAS CONTROL AND CAN ENSURE EFFICIENT OPERATION. THE MATHEWS PROPOSAL STATES THEY WILL HAVE CONTROLS TO SENSE THE EMPTY SPUR CONDITION FOR EACH REPLENISHMENT SPUR AND THAT PUSH BUTTONS SHALL BE PROVIDED FOR RELEASE OF TOTE BOX TRAINS FROM THE RECEIVING LINES. THEY DO NOT STATE WHERE THE PUSH BUTTONS WILL BE LOCATED NOR WHO WILL BE CONTROLLING THE RELEASE OF THE TOTE BOXES ON CONVEYORS 1A THROUGH 1J. IN THEIR LETTER OF 14 JULY, THEY STATE THAT "THE PUSH BUTTONS ARE NOT TO BE LOCATED ON THE CONTROL CONSOLE AND THAT IF THIS WAS REQUIRED, IT WAS THE MARINE CORPS' RESPONSIBILITY TO STATE SUCH IN DETAIL.' SINCE THE OVERALL CONTROL AND OPERATION OF THE SYSTEM IS SPECIFICALLY CENTRALIZED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SPECIFICATION AT THE CONTROL CONSOLE, THE MATHEWS CONTENTION THAT THIS WAS NOT A REQUIREMENT AND WAS AT THEIR OPTION, IS NOT CORRECT. AS THE SPECIFICATION IS WRITTEN THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE INTERPRETATION AND THAT IS ALL SYSTEM OPERATIONAL CONTROL DATA WILL BE FROM A CENTRAL POINT AT THE CONTROL CONSOLE.

"C. THE MATHEWS PROPOSAL DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY CONTROL DATA ON THE SHUTDOWN OF CONVEYORS THAT RUN THROUGH A FIRE DOOR BY USE OF THE START/STOP PUSH BUTTONS OR THE CLOSING OF A FIRE DOOR PER PARAGRAPHS 23.1.3 AND 26. THIS ONCE AGAIN IS AN OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENT WHICH THE SYSTEM OPERATOR MUST BE AWARE OF.

"IT IS THE MARINE CORPS' CONTENTION, AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUR CONTENTION, THAT THE CONTROL CONSOLE SHOWN ON THE MATHEWS DRAWING DOES NOT PROVIDE SUFFICIENT DESCRIPTIVE DATA NOR VISUAL REPRESENTATIONS TO ASCERTAIN THE FUNCTIONAL ADEQUACY OF THIS DEVICE AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPHS 3 (1) (6) AND 24.'

CONTRARY TO YOUR POSITION THAT A PUSH BUTTON IS REQUIRED AT EACH INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING LINE, THE MARINE CORPS MAINTAINS THAT THE REQUIREMENT FOR PUSH BUTTON STATIONS IS A CONTROL FUNCTION AND AS SUCH HAS TO BE PART OF THE CONTROL CONSOLE. PERSONNEL ATTENDING THE VARIOUS LINES DO NOT HAVE TO INDICATE THAT THE LINE IS READY FOR RELEASE SINCE THE CONTROL CONSOLE OPERATOR RELEASES ALL OF THE LINES AT VARIOUS PRESCRIBED PERIODS OF THE DAY.

ON PAGE 3 OF YOUR JULY 14 LETTER IT IS ALLEGED THAT CONTRARY TO THE EXPRESS REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ARBITRARILY DECIDED NOT TO EVALUATE PROTOTYPES OF THE TOTE BOX SIGNAL DEVICES. THE MARINE CORPS, HOWEVER, MAINTAINS THAT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SITUATION IS NOT COMPLETELY ACCURATE. APPARENTLY, IN AN EFFORT TO GIVE YOUR COMPANY AS MUCH LATITUDE AS POSSIBLE, THE CONTRACTING OFFICE AGREED TO ALLOW YOU TO SUBMIT A DEVICE THAT WAS BEING USED ELSEWHERE EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW THAT IT WAS ONLY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DEVICE THAT YOU ACTUALLY INTENDED TO FURNISH. IN OTHER WORDS, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER INFORMALLY TOOK THE POSITION THAT, IF A CONTRACTOR'S DRAWINGS AND DATA ADEQUATELY PORTRAYED THE REQUIRED ITEM, THE CONTRACTOR WOULD NOT BE DECLARED NONRESPONSIVE MERELY BECAUSE THE PROTOTYPE WAS DEFICIENT. WHILE WE ARE NOT PREPARED TO SUGGEST THAT THIS IS SOUND PROCUREMENT POLICY WE SUBMIT THAT IN FACT THERE WAS NO INJUSTICE TO ANY BIDDER IN THIS CASE. ALTHOUGH YOU SUBMITTED A "PROTOTYPE" OF THE INTENDED DEVICE YOUR FIRM FAILED TO SUBMIT SUFFICIENT DESCRIPTIVE DATA TO ENABLE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO DETERMINE THE LOGIC OF THE ITEM PROPOSED. IN THEIR REPORT TO THIS OFFICE THE MARINE CORPS STATES:

"* * * THERE WAS NO DESCRIPTIVE DATA TO DETERMINE THE LOGIC OF THE PROPOSED DRAWING. THIS DRAWING WAS DISCUSSED AT SOME LENGTH WITH MATHEWS PERSONNEL AND YOUR STAFF AT THE 13 JULY MEETING. IN TRYING TO ANALYZE THE LOGIC OF THE DRAWING, THE MARINE CORPS WAS FACED WITH A PROBLEM DUE TO THE FIRST LINE BEING NUMBERED 1 THROUGH 10 AND THE SECOND LINE, RIGHT HALF NUMBERED CLR 1 2. THIS LOGIC GIVES A POSSIBLE COMBINATION OF EITHER 28 OR 30 POSITIONS. THE SPECIFICATION CALLS FOR 29 AND WHILE MATHEWS STATES A POSSIBILITY OF 29, THEY FAILED TO INCLUDE DATA TO EXPLAIN THEIR RATIONALE. THERE ARE A COMBINATION OF ERRORS THAT ARE POSSIBLE WITH THE DEVICE AND WITHOUT ANY DESCRIPTIVE DATA TO EXPLAIN THE RATIONALE, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE THEIR LOGIC. THIS WAS DISCUSSED WITH THE MATHEWS PERSONNEL AT THE 13 JULY MEETING AND THEY COULD OFFER NO INFORMATION NOR EXPLAIN THEIR RATIONALE. THEY DID COMMENT THAT THEY ARRANGED THE DEVICE IN THIS MANNER SO THAT BY MOVING ONLY ONE TAB IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO MOVE EMPTY TOTE BOXES THROUGHOUT THE SYSTEM. THIS WAS NOT EXPLAINED FURTHER NOR WAS ANY COMMENT MADE IN THEIR BID SUBMITTAL AND EVEN AT THIS DATE, THE MARINE CORPS IS STILL IN DOUBT AS TO HOW THIS DEVICE WILL FUNCTION. THE MATHEWS PERSONNEL STATED THAT THE TOTE BOX SIGNAL DEVICE SUBMITTED WITH THE ALVEY-FERGUSON BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE. THIS IS NOT TRUE. BOTH THE PROTOTYPE AND THE DRAWING PLUS THE DESCRIPTIVE DATA FULLY COMPLIES WITH PARAGRAPH 3.1. (4) AND PARAGRAPH 23.3.1 OF THE SPECIFICATION.'

THE MARINE CORPS HAS TAKEN THE FOLLOWING POSITION ON THE ISSUE OF "FULL SPUR PROTECTION:"

"* * * THE MARINE CORPS DOES IN FACT HAVE FULL SPUR PROTECTION INCLUDED IN THE SPECIFICATION. REFERENCE IS MADE TO PARAGRAPH 22.4 (PARCEL POST RECEIVING), LAST SENTENCE,"IN THE EVENT THE REPLENISHMENT SPUR CANNOT RECEIVE PARCEL POST RECEIVING, THE DIVERTOR SHALL BE LOCKED OUT, THE TOTE BOX SHALL CONTINUE AROUND THE CONVEYOR SYSTEM AND BE DIVERTED ONTO CONVEYOR 79A.' THE LOCK-OUT OF THE DIVERTOR SHALL BE EFFECTIVE WHENEVER THE SPUR LINE IS FULL FOR ANY TOTE BOX THAT IS DESTINED FOR THAT SPUR. SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE OF FULL SPUR CONDITION IS NOT REQUIRED AT THE CONSOLE AS PARAGRAPH 22.4 STATES "THE TOTE BOX SHALL CONTINUE AROUND THE CONVEYOR SYSTEM AND BE DIVERTED ONTO CONVEYOR 79A.' WHILE THE MATHEWS PROPOSAL DOES COVER FULL SPUR PROTECTION BY SHOWING THIS CONDITION ON THE CONTROL CONSOLE, THIS INFORMATION CAN IN NO WAY ENHANCE THE SYSTEM OPERATOR CONTROL OVER THIS CONDITION SINCE THE LOCK-OUT OF THE DIVERTOR IS AUTOMATIC AT EACH SPUR. THE OPERATOR CANNOT SET NOR RELEASE THE FULL SPUR CONDITION. HE DOES, HOWEVER, NEED TO KNOW WHEN HE HAS A CLEAR SPUR CONDITION. THIS KNOWLEDGE IS REQUIRED SO THAT HE MAY RELEASE THE RECEIPTS ON LINES 1A THROUGH 1J, BE THERE TO TOTE BOXES OR 15 TOTE BOXES ON EACH LINE, FOR TRANSPORTATION TO THE APPROPRIATE REPLENISHMENT SPUR AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPHS 22.2 AND 23.3.5 RECEIVING REPLENISHMENT. THUS THERE IS NO DEFICIENCY IN THE SPECIFICATION.

"THE MATHEWS CONTENTION THAT ALVEY-FERGUSON DID NOT INCLUDE FULL SPUR PROTECTION IS INCORRECT. THE ALVEY-FERGUSON PROPOSAL DOES CONTAIN FULL SPUR PROTECTION AND THIS INFORMATION IS FOUND IN THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS OF THEIR PROPOSAL. IN SECTION 23 THEY SHOW A DRAWING OF A TYPICAL DIVERTOR FOR TRAYS WHICH WILL BE AT EACH SPUR. ON THE DRAWING IS SHOWN A PHOTO- ELECTRIC DEVICE WHICH CAN ONLY BE USED FOR FULL SPUR CONTROL. IN THEIR PRESENTATION ON THE TOTE BOX SIGNAL DEVICE AND SIGNAL READING DEVICES THEY FURTHER SHOW THE FOLLOWING DATE: SECTION 23.3.2 STATES "EACH READING STATION HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO PROVIDE THE EXACT CONTROL REQUIRED AT THAT DIVERTOR STATION. SECTION 22 OF THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION DESCRIBES THE REQUIRED OPERATING SEQUENCE, AND EACH READER IS ORIENTED AND WIRES IN A MANNER TO ACHIEVE THAT CONTROL SEQUENCE.' THEY FURTHER EXPLAIN THEIR LOGIC OF THE SIGNAL DEVICE AND READING DEVICES. IN THEIR LOGIC THEY STATE THAT DIVERTOR NO. 10, WHICH IS AT CONVEYOR NUMBER 79A IS CONTROLLED AS FOLLOWS: "IN ORDER THAT THIS DIVERTOR WILL ONLY BE ENERGIZED BY TOTE BOXES OR PARCELS INTENDED FOR LOCAL DELIVERY, AN ADDITIONAL PHOTO-ELECTRIC DEVICE WILL BE PROVIDED. IF THE READER DOES NOT RESPOND TO THE CODE LISTED FOR UNIT 10 (R PLUS T) AND IF THE PHOTO-ELECTRIC DEVICE SENSES THE PRESENCE OF AN OBJECT (EITHER A LOCAL DELIVERY TOTE BOX, PARCEL OR REPLENISHMENT ERROR) THEN THE OBJECT WILL BE DIVERTED TO UNIT 79A, AS SPECIFIED IN SECTION 22. THE ABOVE DATA IS MORE THAN SUFFICIENT TO DETERMINE THAT ALVEY-FERGUSON'S PROPOSAL DOES CONTAIN FULL SPUR CONTROL AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 22.'"

IN YOUR FOUR-PAGE LETTER DATED JULY 16, 1964, YOU STATE THAT THE SYSTEM, AS CONTEMPLATED, IS DEFECTIVE IN THAT A COMPLETE LOAD OF TOTE BOXES FROM THE RECEIVING AREA DESTINED FOR THE REPLENISHMENT SPUR WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GAIN ENTRY INTO THE PROPER SPUR BECAUSE TOTE BOXES FROM PARCEL POST OR PRESERVATION WILL GET THERE FIRST. IT IS ALLEGED THAT THIS NULLIFIES THE CONTROL SCHEME OUTLINED IN PARAGRAPHS 22.2 AND 23.3.5. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT, ALTHOUGH THE TEST REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER WAS INTENTIONALLY SET UP TO TAX ALL ASPECTS OF SYSTEM, PRACTICALLY THERE IS LITTLE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING AS MUCH TRAFFIC ON THE SYSTEM AS OUTLINED IN SECTION 8.2.3. THE 250 TOTE BOXES LEFT IN THE PRESERVATION AND PACKAGING LINES REPRESENTS WORK IN PROGRESS INCLUDING THE CONSOLIDATION OF ITEMS FROM SEVERAL BOXES INTO A SINGLE BOX. AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION IT IS THE OPINION OF THE MARINE CORPS THAT PARAGRAPHS 22, 23 AND 24 ALLOW SUFFICIENTLY COMPLETE AND INTEGRATED CONTROL. INFORMALLY WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT THE SYSTEM PROPOSED BY ALVEY-FERGUSON WILL IN FACT MEET THE TEST SPECIFIED.

ON THE BASIS OF THE ABOVE FACTS OF RECORD WE ARE UNABLE TO AGREE THAT EITHER THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE DEFECTIVE OR THAT THERE IS ANY BASIS FOR QUESTIONING THE ACTION TAKEN IN THIS MATTER. AS YOU WERE ADVISED AT THE CONFERENCE ON JULY 13, 1964, OUR OFFICE HAS NEITHER AN ENGINEERING STAFF NOR THE FACILITIES TO MAKE AN EVALUATION REGARDING THE CONFORMITY OF BIDS TO THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF SPECIFICATIONS. THEREFORE, BY NECESSITY, WHERE WE ARE CONFRONTED WITH DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT BETWEEN A PROTESTANT AND A GOVERNMENT AGENCY WE ARE USUALLY REQUIRED TO ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT AS CONTROLLING IN THE ABSENCE OF CAPRICIOUS OR ARBITRARY ACTION. 17 COMP. GEN. 554; 41 COMP. GEN. 124, 127. TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD NOT ONLY BE CONTRARY TO OUR OWN EVALUATION OF THE RELATIVE MERITS OF THE ARGUMENTS, BUT WOULD IN EFFECT BE TANTAMOUNT TO ESTABLISHING THIS OFFICE AS A TECHNICAL AUTHORITY. YOUR PROTEST IS THEREFORE DENIED.