B-154539, SEP. 16, 1964

B-154539: Sep 16, 1964

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 13. (AMI) WAS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE BIDDER CONFORMING TO ALL REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS. THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED APRIL 7. THE INVITATION WAS AMENDED TO CHANGE THE ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION DATE OF THE PRE-PRODUCTION SAMPLE. DELIVERY ORDER NO. 1 WAS INCREASED FROM 36 EACH TO 41 EACH. TEN SOURCES WERE SOLICITED AND FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED. BECAUSE OF THE HIGHLY TECHNICAL AND SPECIALIZED NATURE OF THE CALIBRATION EQUIPMENT BEING PROCURED IT WAS DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR 2-202.5 (C) THAT THE SUBMISSION OF DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE AS PART OF THE BID WAS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY IN ORDER TO COMPLETELY DEFINE THE ITEM OFFERED AND PERMIT A PROPER TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF THE BIDS.

B-154539, SEP. 16, 1964

TO ADVANCED MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS, INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 13, 1964, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO HICKOK ELECTRICAL INSTRUMENT COMPANY UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. AMC (A) 36-038-64-82 (SP), ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. YOU STATE THAT YOU PROTEST THE AWARD INASMUCH AS ADVANCED MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS, INC. (AMI) WAS THE LOWEST RESPONSIVE BIDDER CONFORMING TO ALL REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION FOR BIDS.

THE INVITATION WAS ISSUED APRIL 7, 1964, CALLING FOR ITEM 1, SQUARE WAVE GENERATOR, ARMY PART NO. 8598968 IN ACCORDANCE WITH DRAWING NO. A8598968 REV. C, SPEC. MIL-F-451338 CATEGORY C, UPON A MAXIMUM ESTIMATED QUANTITY OF 50 EACH, WITH A FIRM INITIAL DELIVERY ORDER OF 36 EACH. UNDER DATE OF APRIL 16, 1964, THE INVITATION WAS AMENDED TO CHANGE THE ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION DATE OF THE PRE-PRODUCTION SAMPLE, AND UNDER DATE OF APRIL 21, 1964, BY AMENDMENT NO. 2, DELIVERY ORDER NO. 1 WAS INCREASED FROM 36 EACH TO 41 EACH. TEN SOURCES WERE SOLICITED AND FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED.

BECAUSE OF THE HIGHLY TECHNICAL AND SPECIALIZED NATURE OF THE CALIBRATION EQUIPMENT BEING PROCURED IT WAS DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR 2-202.5 (C) THAT THE SUBMISSION OF DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE AS PART OF THE BID WAS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY IN ORDER TO COMPLETELY DEFINE THE ITEM OFFERED AND PERMIT A PROPER TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF THE BIDS. THE BIDS AS SUBMITTED CONTAINED DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE AND THEREFORE WERE REVIEWED TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THE ITEMS OFFERED MET THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AS SET OUT IN THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION.

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 8, 1964, THE TECHNICAL PERSONNEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ITEM, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE USER (ARMY METROLOGY AND CALIBRATION CENTER), INFORMED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT YOUR BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE TO THE REQUIREMENTS AS SET OUT IN THE INVITATION. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REVIEWED THE MEMORANDUM AND CONCURRED IN THE DETERMINATION MADE THAT YOUR BID WAS NONRESPONSIVE FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

(1) YOUR PRODUCT'S FRONT PANEL DIAL MARKINGS DO NOT AFFORD THE RESOLUTION REQUIRED OF A SQUARE WAVE GENERATOR USED AS A CALIBRATION STANDARD IN THE ARMY CALIBRATION PROGRAM.

(2) THE FREQUENCY CONTROL RANGE OF "1 TO 100" AND THE 5 BAND DECADE MULTIPLIER DO NOT AFFORD THE NECESSARY VERNIER TYPE READOUT CAPABILITY FOR CALIBRATION PURPOSES.

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 30, 1964, YOU ANSWERED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S LETTER OF JUNE 26, 1964, TAKING ISSUE WITH HIS DETERMINATION AS TO THE RESPONSIVENESS OF YOUR BID STATING IN PERTINENT PART, THAT:

"* * * YOUR REASONS FOR DECLARING AMI'S BID NON-RESPONSIVE ARE NOT JUSTIFIED INASMUCH AS:

"/A) THE RESOLUTION MARKING REQUIREMENTS ON THE PANEL ARE NOT SPECIFIED ANYWHERE IN SPECIFICATION CONTROL DRAWING A8598968 AND IN ADDITION, THERE IS NOT ONE PLACE IN THE SPECIFICATIONS WHERE THE WORD "RESOLUTION" APPEARS.

"/B) A FREQUENCY CONTROL OF 1 TO 10 IS SPELLED OUT IN SPECIFICATION CONTROL DRAWING A8598968. AMI'S FREQUENCY CONTROL DIAL IS CALIBRATED IN 10 TO 100 WHICH IS 1 TO 10. THE RATIO OF 1 TO 100 AS MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER IS AN ERROR ON YOUR BEHALF AND DOES NOT CONFORM TO OUR INSTRUMENT.

WITH RESPECT TO THE FOREGOING, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY REPORTS AS FOLLOWS:

WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT THE WORD "RESOLUTION," WHICH AS USED IN THIS PROCUREMENT ACTION MEANS THE ABILITY TO READ DIRECTLY AN INCREMENTAL VALUE, IS NOT MENTIONED ON THE DRAWING A8598968, THE WORD ITSELF IS ONLY THE RESULT OF THE REQUIREMENTS WHICH ARE SET OUT ON THE DRAWING. THE DRAWING CALLS FOR "FREQUENCY CONTROL: DIAL CALIBRATED "1 TO 10" AND DECADE MULTIPLIER SWITCH. SIX BANDS.' THIS REQUIREMENT ESTABLISHES A FRONT PANEL DIAL WHICH IS TO BE CALIBRATED FROM 1 TO 10, AND WITH THE DIAL SO CALIBRATED THE RESOLUTION OBTAINED IS FINITE, AND MEETS THE NEEDS OF THE CALIBRATION LABORATORY IN THAT IT WILL PERMIT DIRECT READINGS OF FREQUENCY OUTPUTS OF, FOR EXAMPLE, 12, 14, 56, 62, 120, 140, 620, ETC., CYCLES PER SECOND. YOUR ITEM HAS A COMBINATION OF "FREQUENCY" DIAL AND "FREQUENCY MULTIPLIER" WHICH WILL NOT PERMIT DIRECT INCREMENTAL READINGS SET FORTH ABOVE AS EXAMPLES, BUT WILL ONLY PERMIT INCREMENTAL READINGS OF FIVE UNITS. INCREMENTAL READINGS BETWEEN THE FIVE UNIT MARKS WOULD HAVE TO BE ESTIMATED. YOUR ITEM WILL ALSO NOT PROVIDE THE DIRECT INCREMENTAL READING AT THE HIGHER FREQUENCY RANGES WITHIN THE REQUIREMENTS OF DRAWING A8598968, WHEREAS EACH OF THE OTHER BIDDERS OFFERED AN ITEM WHICH WAS CALIBRATED 1 TO 10 OVER A RANGE OF APPROXIMATELY 360 DEGREES ON THE DIAL. THIS IS STATED TO BE AN ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT OF THE AGENCY SINCE IN THE FIELD OF CALIBRATION ACCURACY IS THE BASIS OF THE STANDARDS WHICH ARE USED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE ARMY CALIBRATION PROGRAM.

YOU CONCEDE, IN EFFECT, THAT A FREQUENCY CONTROL OF 1 TO 10 IS SET OUT IN SPECIFICATION CONTROL DRAWING A8590968, AND STATE THAT, YOUR ITEM'S FREQUENCY CONTROL DIAL IS CALIBRATED IN 10 TO 100 WHICH IS 1 TO 10. THIS IS TANTAMOUNT TO SAYING THAT YOUR INSTRUMENT WHICH HAS A SCALE OF 10 TO 100 IS EQUIVALENT TO A SCALE OF 1 TO 10. THIS CONTENTION HAS BEEN FOUND ADMINISTRATIVELY UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE OF TWO FACTS: FIRST, A CALIBRATED DIAL OF 10 TO 100 IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO A CALIBRATED DIAL OF 1 TO 10 WHERE THE 1 TO 10 CALIBRATION IS SPREAD OVER APPROXIMATELY 360 EGREES; SECOND, FROM A READING OF YOUR BID LETTER OF APRIL 17, 1964, AT PARAGRAPH 1, IT IS APPARENT THAT YOU INTENDED NOT TO SUPPLY A DIAL WITH A READING OF 1 TO 10, BUT INTENDED TO SUPPLY YOUR STANDARD MODEL 330 SQUARE WAVE GENERATOR MODIFIED TO EXTEND LOWER FREQUENCY COVERAGE BY ONE ADDITIONAL RANGE FROM 1 TO 10 CYCLES PER SECOND. THUS IT WAS APPARENT THAT YOU WERE OFFERING TO EXTEND THE READINGS ON YOUR PRESENT DIAL, RESULTING IN SUPPLYING A DIAL WITH READINGS FROM 1 TO 100 OVERAPPROXIMATELY 360 DEGREES. YOUR PROPOSAL TO EXTEND THE DIAL RANGE TO INCLUDE READINGS OF 1 TO 10 WOULD MEAN THAT READINGS BETWEEN 1 AND 10 WOULD HAVE TO BE MADE AT THE LOWER POSITION OF THE SCALE WITHIN A RANGE OF APPROXIMATELY 36 DEGREES AS OPPOSED TO THE REQUIRED DIAL SCALE WHICH WOULD PERMIT READINGS BETWEEN 1 TO 10 OVER APPROXIMATELY THE ENTIRE DIAL SURFACE OF 360 DEGREES. YOUR OFFER TO EXTEND THE READINGS ON YOUR PRESENT DIAL INDICATES THAT YOU DID NOT SERIOUSLY BELIEVE AT THE TIME OF YOUR INITIAL PROTEST THAT A DIAL WITH READINGS OF 10 TO 100 IS EQUIVALENT TO ONE WITH READINGS OF 1 TO 10 OVER A SIMILAR DEGREE RANGE.

YOU ALSO REFER TO THE FACT THAT IN THE COVERING LETTER SENT WITH YOUR BID IT WAS STATED THAT ALL TERMS AND SPECIFICATIONS OF THE BID WERE UNDERSTOOD AND WOULD BE COMPLIED WITH IS A BLANKET OFFER TO COMPLY WITH ALL TERMS AND SPECIFICATIONS. HOWEVER, IN CASES DEALING WITH INVITATIONS FOR BIDS WHEREIN DESCRIPTIVE LITERATURE IS REQUIRED TO BE SUPPLIED WITH THE BID, WE HAVE HELD THAT SUCH BLANKET OFFERS WILL NOT SERVE TO SUPPLY OMITTED INFORMATION OR CORRECT OR CLARIFY AMBIGUOUS BIDS. UNLESS BIDS ARE EVALUATED SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THEIR CONTENT AT THE TIME OF BID OPENING, THE COMPETITIVE BID SYSTEM WOULD LOSE ITS INTEGRITY BECAUSE, CONTRARY TO THE PURPOSES OF THE ADVERTISING STATUTES, THE EFFECT WOULD BE THAT BIDS COULD BE VARIED AFTER OPENING AND PRIOR TO AWARD. SEE 40 COMP. GEN. 132 AND 36 COMP. GEN. 415. THE QUESTION OF RESPONSIVENESS TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR PROPER READOUT CAPABILITY OVER THE PROPER RANGE WERE MATTERS FOR THE DETERMINATION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER.

ACCORDINGLY, WE FIND NO LEGAL BASIS TO OBJECT TO THE REJECTION OF YOUR BID AS NONRESPONSIVE AND YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.