B-155766, APR. 6, 1965

B-155766: Apr 6, 1965

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THIS INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 1. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE BANDOLEERS WAS AS FOLLOWS: "IN ACCORDANCE WITH DRG. BIDS WERE OPENED ON OCTOBER 15. TEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS: "BIDDER NET PRICE J. WAS DETERMINED TO BE TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE. WITH YOUR CONCERN WHICH WAS ALSO FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF FA-T7 BANDOLEERS WERE SUBMITTED FOR INSPECTION IN NOVEMBER 1964. THIS TYPE OF STITCHING MUST BE RUN OFF THE MATERIAL LEAVING A TAIL TO BE SECURE AND THIS IS REQUIRED BY THE DRAWING FOR THIS TYPE OF STITCHING IN ALL OTHER AREAS. IF BAR TACKING IS DONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DRAWING IT WILL RESULT IN UNRAVELLING SINCE THIS TYPE OF STITCHING CANNOT BE BACKSTITCHED. "7. THE DRAWINGS THAT I HAVE REQUIRE THAT THE STRAP SHOULD ONLY BE 56 INCHES PLUS OR MINUS 1/16 INCH.

B-155766, APR. 6, 1965

TO LA CROSSE GARMENT MANUFACTURING COMPANY:

WE REFER TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF DECEMBER 14, 1964, AND LETTERS OF DECEMBER 14, 1964, MARCH 11, 1965, AND MARCH 12, 1965, PROTESTING THE CANCELLATION OF INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. AMC (A) 36-038-65-114 (CAI).

THIS INVITATION WAS ISSUED ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1964, BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY FRANKFORD ARSENAL, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, FOR 1,201,560 FA-T7 BANDOLEERS FOR 7.62 MM CARTRIDGES. THE DESCRIPTION OF THE BANDOLEERS WAS AS FOLLOWS:

"IN ACCORDANCE WITH DRG. NO. D 10533984 DATED 11-27-63, SPECIFICATION MIL-B-60107 (MU) DATED 11-27-63 AND SPECIFICATION MIL-I 45208A DATED 12-16 -63 AND DATA LISTED ON TECHNICAL DATA PACKAGE LIST DATED 4-30-64.'

BIDS WERE OPENED ON OCTOBER 15, 1964, AND TEN BIDS WERE RECEIVED AS FOLLOWS:

"BIDDER NET PRICE

J. M. BUCHEIMER CO. .245222

FREDERICK, MD.

LACROSSE GARMENT .25793

LACROSSE, WISCONSIN

BAY STATE NOVELTY .26100

CHELSEA, MASS.

EDLEN HERMAN .27597

PHILADELPHIA, PA.

PIONEER CANVAS .28512

PHILADELPHIA, PA.

KINGS POINT, IND. .29667

NEW YORK, N.Y.

BENCHCRAFT LUGGAGE .31850

BRONX, N.Y.

TWEEDIE FOOTWEAR .34390

JEFFERSON CITY, MO.

FOSTER COMPANY .35046

NEW ORLEANS, LA.

LITE INDUSTRIES .44460"

PATTERSON, N.J.

THE BID OF J. M. BUCHEIMER COMPANY, FREDERICK, MARYLAND, WAS DETERMINED TO BE TECHNICALLY NONRESPONSIVE.

AFTER BID OPENING THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT THE ABOVE INVITATION SHOULD BE CANCELLED. IN THIS CONNECTION SAMPLES UNDER CONTRACT NO. DA-36-038-AMC-1704 (A) DATED JUNE 26, 1964, WITH YOUR CONCERN WHICH WAS ALSO FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF FA-T7 BANDOLEERS WERE SUBMITTED FOR INSPECTION IN NOVEMBER 1964. WITH RESPECT TO THESE SAMPLES THE QUALITY CONTROL REPRESENTATIVE FOUND AS FOLLOWS:

"6. THE METHOD OF BAR TACKING THAT THE CONTRACTOR USED WOULD SEEM TO BE SUPERIOR TO THAT OF THE DRAWING AS INTERPRETED BY THE TELETYPE. THIS TYPE OF STITCHING MUST BE RUN OFF THE MATERIAL LEAVING A TAIL TO BE SECURE AND THIS IS REQUIRED BY THE DRAWING FOR THIS TYPE OF STITCHING IN ALL OTHER AREAS. IF BAR TACKING IS DONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DRAWING IT WILL RESULT IN UNRAVELLING SINCE THIS TYPE OF STITCHING CANNOT BE BACKSTITCHED.

"7. THE TELETYPE STATES THAT THE 58 INCH CARRYING STRAP (PLUS OR MINUS 1/16 INCH) RANGES UP TO 1 7/16 INCH LESS THAN MINIMUM. THE DRAWINGS THAT I HAVE REQUIRE THAT THE STRAP SHOULD ONLY BE 56 INCHES PLUS OR MINUS 1/16 INCH. REQUEST CLARIFICATION OF THIS DISCREPANCY.

"8. THE PLUS OR MINUS 1/16 INCH TOLERANCE AS GIVEN THROUGHOUT THE DRAWING REQUIREMENTS IS NOT PRACTICAL FOR THIS TYPE OF ITEM AS WAS EXPERIENCED ON A PREVIOUS CONTRACT AT THIS SAME PLANT FOR BANDOLEER, T4. THE PLUS OR MINUS 1/16 INCH TOLERANCE ON THE 56 INCH STRAP IS COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC. THESE TOLERANCES ARE TOTALLY INCOMPATIBLE WITH THOSE OF THE DEFENSE CLOTHING AND TEXTILE SUPPLY CENTER WHICH PROCURES MANY ITEMS OF THIS NATURE AND WITH GOOD COMMERCIAL PRACTICE AS WELL. I WOULD SUGGEST A PLUS OR MINUS 1/8 INCH TOLERANCE FOR ALL MEASUREMENTS UNDER 12 INCHES AND PLUS OR MINUS 1/2 INCH FOR THOSE MEASUREMENTS OVER 12 INCHES.'

ALSO, THE DEVIATIONS RELATING TO 1/16 INCH TOLERANCE AND THE STRAP LENGTH ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE WHICH HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED IN MAY 1964 UNDER CONTRACT NO. DA-11-173-AMC-146/A) FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF BANDOLEERS WHICH WAS AWARDED ON DECEMBER 19, 1963, BY THE AMMUNITION PROCUREMENT AND SUPPLY AGENCY. WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE TECHNICAL PACKAGE FOR THE INSTANT PROCUREMENT WAS NOT MODIFIED BECAUSE CERTAIN PROCUREMENT MISSIONS (INCLUDING THE BANDOLEER PROCUREMENT) WERE TRANSFERRED FROM APSA TO FRANKFORD ARSENAL, AND THE CHANGES IN THE TECHNICAL PACKAGES TRANSFERRED HAD NOT BEEN FINALIZED. THE CONTRACTING OFFICER DETERMINED THAT THE CHANGES IN THE SPECIFICATIONS WERE OF SUFFICIENT MAGNITUDE TO WARRANT THE CANCELLATION OF THE IFB FOR THE INSTANT PROCUREMENT SINCE THESE CHANGES WOULD FACILITATE PRODUCTION AND REDUCE THE ULTIMATE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. ALSO, IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT A BIDDER UNDER THE INSTANT IFB WHO WAS AWARE OF THE PREVIOUSLY APPROVED DEVIATIONS FOR BANDOLEERS MIGHT HAVE A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE OVER BIDDERS WHO RELIED ON THE SPECIFICATIONS LISTED IN THE IFB.

IN SUPPORT OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S DETERMINATION THAT THE CHANGES IN THE SPECIFICATIONS ARE OF SUFFICIENT MAGNITUDE TO WARRANT CANCELLATION OF THE INSTANT IFB THE FOLLOWING TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF THESE CHANGES HAS BEEN FURNISHED TO OUR OFFICE.

"A. CHANGES "A" INDICATE RELAXATIONS OF TOLERANCES FROM 1/16 TO 1/8 INCH WHICH ARE EXPECTED TO FACILITATE PRODUCTION AND REDUCE IN PROCESS OR ITEM REJECTS WITH NO DEGRADATION IN THE QUALITY OF THE BANDOLEER. THESE TOLERANCE RELAXATIONS SHOULD BE A BASE OF SOME COST CONCESSION TO THE GOVERNMENT.

"B. CHANGE "B" PERMITS A VERY GENEROUS TOLERANCE OF PLUS OR MINUS ONE (1) INCH TO COMPENSATE FOR VARIATIONS IN METHODS OF MEASURING OVERALL LENGTH OF THE CARRYING STRAP AND POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS. INCREASE IN PROCUREMENT COSTS IS JUSTIFIED. THIS CHANGE IS OF BENEFIT TO THE MANUFACTURER FOR THE ABOVE REASON.

"C. CHANGES "C" INDICATE RELOCATION OF THE BOX TACK REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ENDS OF THE CARRYING STRAP. THE VERTICAL BOX TACKING OVER THE POSITIONING STRAP WILL NOW LIE ENTIRELY WITHIN THE WIDTH OF THE POSITIONING STRAP AND ELIMINATE THE PREVIOUS PROCEDURE OF VERTICAL BOX TACK STITCHING OVER VARIABLE THICKNESSES OF MATERIAL. BOX TACK FOR THE OTHER END OF THE CARRYING STRAP WILL BE OF THE SIZE FOR MANUFACTURING CONVENIENCE. THIS CHANGE IS EXPECTED TO FACILITATE PRODUCTION.

"D. CHANGE "D" REQUIRES ELONGATION OF THE BAR TACK WHEN USING THE 404 STITCH INTO LOOSE TAILS" OFF OF THE MATERIAL TO PREVENT UNRAVELLING OF THE THREAD WITH SOME IMPROVEMENT IN BANDOLEER QUALITY. THIS CHANGE WILL REQUIRE SOME ADDITIONAL THREAD PER BANDOLEER, BUT THE PERMISSIBLE RUN-ON AND RUN-OFF OF THE BAR TACK SHOULD PERMIT THE SAME OR A SLIGHTLY HIGHER RATE OF PRODUCTION. NO COST INCREASE WOULD BE JUSTIFIED.

"2. APPLICATION OF ALL OF THE ABOVE REFERENCED CHANGES TO CURRENT OR FUTURE PROCUREMENT CONTRACTS WILL FACILITATE PRODUCTION OF THE T-7 BANDOLEER, REDUCE IN PROCESS OR END ITEM REJECTS WITH CORRESPONDING PRODUCTION COST SAVINGS. OVERALL, THESE CHANGES WARRANT SOME REDUCTION IN PROCUREMENT COSTS OF THE T-7 BANDOLEER TO THE GOVERNMENT.'

THE ABOVE EVALUATION WAS SUPPLEMENTED BY THE FOLLOWING TECHNICAL STATEMENTS SUBMITTED INFORMALLY BY ARMY TO OUR OFFICE ON MARCH 15, 1965:

"A. SUB-PARA 1.A. ALTHOUGH THE TOLERANCE RELAXATIONS MAY NOT HAVE A DIRECT EFFECT UPON THE RATES OF PRODUCTION, THE RELAXATIONS WILL REDUCE THE NUMBERS OF REJECTED BANDOLEERS. THIS RESULTANT INCREASE IN PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY SHOULD BE REFLECTED IN A POSITIVE SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT.

"B. SUB-PARA 1.B. THE VERY LIBERAL TOLERANCE CHANGE EFFECTS ADVANTAGES SIMILAR TO THOSE IN A. ABOVE AND SHOULD RESULT IN A SLIGHT DIRECT SAVING IN PROCUREMENT COSTS.

"C. SUB-PARA 1.C. REDUCTION IN SIZE OF THE BOX TACK AND THE CORRESPONDING RELOCATION OF THIS TACK OVER AN AREA OF UNIFORM MATERIAL THICKNESS SHOULD INCREASE THE PRODUCTION RATE FOR THIS OPERATION, AND REDUCE THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF BOX TACK THREAD. THESE ADVANTAGES SHOULD RESULT IN A PROCUREMENT COST SAVING.

"D. SUB-PARA 1.D. THE RELATIVE PRODUCTION ADVANTAGES OF THE NEW AND THE ORIGINAL BAR TACK REQUIREMENTS ARE OPEN TO SOME DEBATE. AS SUPPORTED BY DC AND TSC PERSONNEL (MR. STREICHER), IT IS OUR OPINION THAT THE "NEW" REQUIREMENT OF "LOOSE TAILS" WILL AFFECT A SLIGHTLY HIGHER RATE OF PRODUCTION WHICH WILL MORE THAN OFFSET THE INCREASED THREAD REQUIREMENT. OVERALL, A SLIGHT COST SAVINGS APPEARS TO BE JUSTIFIED.'

IT IS YOUR POSITION THAT THE 1/16 INCH TOLERANCE SPECIFIED ON THE DRAWINGS FOR THIS PROCUREMENT IS UNREALISTIC AND THAT BIDDERS COGNIZANT OF THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF SEWING WOULD KNOW THAT THERE IS NO SEWING MACHINE MADE WHICH WOULD KEEP A STITCH OR OPERATION WITHIN SUCH CLOSE TOLERANCES. YOU CONTEND THAT THE TOLERANCES SPECIFIED IN THE INVITATION HAD TO BE INTERPRETED IN THE LIGHT OF PRACTICABLE ABILITY TO PRODUCE THE ITEM AND THAT THE TOLERANCES WERE SO INTERPRETED BY THE OTHER BIDDERS. HOWEVER, IN THIS CONNECTION WE NOTE THAT THE TOLERANCE CHANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY SPECIFICATION CHANGES PROPOSED.

ARTICLE 8 (B) OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE INVITATION SPECIFICALLY RESERVES TO THE GOVERNMENT THE RIGHT TO REJECT ANY AND ALL BIDS. ADDITION, ALL BIDS MAY BE REJECTED PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF 10 U.S.C. 2305 (C), WHENEVER IT IS DETERMINED THAT SUCH ACTION IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. WE HAVE RECOGNIZED THAT THE PUBLIC'S INTEREST PERMITS THE REJECTION OF ANY AND ALL BIDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF CLARIFYING THE SPECIFICATIONS. SEE B-149672, JUNE 3, 1963.

IN THIS INSTANCE THE CONTRACTING AGENCY HAS DETERMINED PURSUANT TO A TECHNICAL EVALUATION THAT THE CHANGES IN THE SPECIFICATIONS WOULD FACILITATE PRODUCTION AND REDUCE THE ULTIMATE COST OF THE PROCUREMENT AND THAT THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THE INSTANT IFB WERE NOT SUFFICIENTLY CLEAR TO INSURE COMPETITION ON AN EQUAL FOOTING AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE ADVERTISING STATUTES. WE HAVE HELD THAT SUCH DETERMINATIONS ARE A MATTER OF DISCRETION WITH THE PROCURING ACTIVITY. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 789, 790. YOU DISAGREE WITH ARMY'S POSITION ON THE ABOVE MATTERS. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE RECORD PRESENTED WE CANNOT SAY THAT ARMY'S POSITION IN THIS CASE IS AN ABUSE OF THE DISCRETION VESTED IN THE PROCURING ACTIVITY. CONSEQUENTLY, IN THE INSTANT PROCUREMENT WE WILL NOT SUBSTITUTE OUR JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE ARMY. IN THIS CONNECTION YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE OTHER BIDDERS WERE NOT MISLED BY THE DRAWINGS LISTED IN THE IFB IS MERELY A CONCLUSION WHICH IS NOT SUPPORTED BY STATEMENTS FROM THOSE BIDDERS.