B-166110-1, AUG. 19, 1969

B-166110-1: Aug 19, 1969

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ALTHOUGH PROTESTANT'S COMPONENT FOR QUALIFICATION FAILED TO QUALIFY AND THEREFORE HE WAS NOT SOLICITED REJECTION SHOULD HAVE INDICATED THAT PART WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE BECAUSE OF DISCREPANCY BETWEEN DRAWING AND THE PART RATHER THAN STATING THAT THE PART WAS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR THE BRAND-NAME PRODUCT. CLARK: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 16. IS PROCURING DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGES. THE NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND WAS REQUESTED TO REPORT TO OUR OFFICE ON YOUR PROTEST. THE DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGE IS USED BY THE NAVY IN THE PNEUMATIC SYSTEM OF THE NAVY RA-5C AND F-4 AIRCRAFT. PART NUMBER 841344 WAS THE FIRST DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGE LISTED UNDER FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER -8682. ASO PROPOSED TO PROCURE ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES OF PART NUMBER 841344 FROM WALTER KIDDE AND THE PROCUREMENT WAS PUBLICIZED IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY.

B-166110-1, AUG. 19, 1969

BID PROTEST - PRODUCT QUALIFICATION DECISION DENYING PROTEST OF CATALYTIC ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING CORPORATION AGAINST TEST METHODS USED BY NAVY AVIATION SUPPLY OFFICE IN NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT OF DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGES. ALTHOUGH PROTESTANT'S COMPONENT FOR QUALIFICATION FAILED TO QUALIFY AND THEREFORE HE WAS NOT SOLICITED REJECTION SHOULD HAVE INDICATED THAT PART WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE BECAUSE OF DISCREPANCY BETWEEN DRAWING AND THE PART RATHER THAN STATING THAT THE PART WAS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR THE BRAND-NAME PRODUCT. SINCE LETTER DID INVITE PROTESTANT TO FURTHER QUALIFY NO ACTION CAN BE TAKEN BY GAO.

TO MR. LAWRENCE R. CLARK:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 16, 1969, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING AGAINST THE MANNER IN WHICH THE NAVY AVIATION SUPPLY OFFICE (ASO), PHILADELPHIA, IS PROCURING DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGES.

INITALLY, YOU INDICATED THAT CATALYTIC HAS BEEN FURNISHING DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGES, PART NUMBER 3120, TO THE AIR FORCE UNDER FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER 4440-999-7117 AND THAT YOU PROTESTED AGAINST THE NAVY PROCURING SUCH CARTRIDGES UNDER FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER 1650-816-8682, WHICH DOES NOT INCLUDE YOUR PART NUMBER, WITHOUT CATALYTIC BEING PROVIDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE. FURTHER, YOU PROTESTED AGAINST THE USE OF MULTIPLE FEDERAL STOCK NUMBERS FOR THE CARTRIDGES.

THE NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND WAS REQUESTED TO REPORT TO OUR OFFICE ON YOUR PROTEST. THE COMMAND FURNISHED INFORMATION WHICH FOLLOWS.

THE DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGE IS USED BY THE NAVY IN THE PNEUMATIC SYSTEM OF THE NAVY RA-5C AND F-4 AIRCRAFT. WALTER KIDDE AND COMPANY, INC., PART NUMBER 841344 WAS THE FIRST DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGE LISTED UNDER FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER -8682. SUBSEQUENTLY, ASO PROPOSED TO PROCURE ADDITIONAL QUANTITIES OF PART NUMBER 841344 FROM WALTER KIDDE AND THE PROCUREMENT WAS PUBLICIZED IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY. AS A RESULT OF THE PUBLICITY, MOLECULAR PRODUCTS, INC., SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL OFFERING ITS PART NUMBER 42018 COVERED BY FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER 4440-999 7117, ALLEGING THAT IT WAS EQUAL AND FULLY INTERCHANGEABLE WITH THE WALTER KIDDE PART AND THAT THE AIR FORCE HAD FOUND THE PART SATISFACTORY FOR F-4 AIRCRAFT USE. THE AIR FORCE ADVISED ASO THAT THE MOLECULAR PART HAD BEEN FOUND TO BE SATISFACTORY IN AIR FORCE F-4 AIRCRAFT. UPON EVALUATION, THE MOLECULAR PART WAS APPROVED AS BEING INTERCHANGEABLE WITH THE WALTER KIDDE PART FOR USE IN THE NAVY RA-5C AND F-4 AIRCRAFT AND AN AWARD WAS MADE TO MOLECULAR FOR THE PARTS. HOWEVER, THE MOLECULAR PART WAS FOUND TO BE UNSATISFACTORY UPON USE IN THE NAVY RA-5C AND F-4 AIRCRAFT AND MOLECULAR WAS SO NOTIFIED. MOLECULAR MODIFIED THE PART AND SUBMITTED IT FOR APPROVAL. THE MODIFIED PART, NUMBERED 82018-C, WAS APPROVED AND ADDED TO FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER -8682.

THE FOREGOING INDICATES WHY THE NAVY IS SKEPTICAL THAT PARTS LISTED UNDER FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER -7117 ARE INTERCHANGEABLE WITH PARTS LISTED UNDER FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER -8682. HOWEVER, AS A RESULT OF YOUR PROTEST AND IN ORDER TO PROVIDE CATALYTIC AN OPPORTUNITY TO QUALIFY UNDER FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER -8682, IT WAS INVITED TO SUBMIT DESCRIPTIVE DATA AND SAMPLES OF CARTRIDGES IT CONSIDERED SUITABLE FOR NAVY USE IN RA-5C AND F-4 AIRCRAFT.

CATALYTIC FURNISHED ASO A DRAWING AND SAMPLES OF PART NUMBER 3120. ASO REFERRED THE DRAWING AND SAMPLES TO THE NAVAL AIR REWORK FACILITY (NAVAIRWORKFAC), JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, FOR EVALUATION. NAVAIRWORKFAC DECIDED THAT PART NUMBER 3120 WAS UNACCEPTABLE FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

"INVESTIGATION INDICATES CARTRIDGE, P/N 3120, NOT ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR SPECIFIED CARTRIDGE, WALTER KIDDE INC. P/N 841344.'ASSEMBLY OF P/N 312) NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH CEMCO DRAWING NO. 31209 CEMCO DRAWING NO. 3120 LIST OF MATERIALS INDICATES ONE FILTER, P/N 3127, AND THREE SCREENS, P/N 3125. DISASSEMBLY OF CARTRIDGE REVEALS ONE FILTER IN INLET, DOWN STREAM OF FOAM RUBBER FILTER PAD VICE BETWEEN SCREENS IN OUTLET END OF CARTRIDGE.'DISASSEMBLY ALSO REVEALED ONLY ONE SCREEN AND NO FILTER IN OUTLET END INSTEAD OF TWO SCREENS ENCLOSING FILTER DESIGN OF CARTRIDGE, P/N 3120, SUCH THAT INTERNAL SCREENS, P/N 3125, AND FILTER, P/N 3127, ARE NOT POSITIVELY POSITIONED AND RETAINED THUS ALLOWING POSSIBLE BY-PASS OF DESICCANT.'RECOMMEND CARTRIDGE, P/N 3120, NOT BE USED IN PRESENT CONFIGURATION ON RA-5C AIRCRAFT.' THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED THAT IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING THE CATALYTIC PART 3120 WAS NOT CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE FOR USE IN NAVY RA-5C AND F-4 AIRCRAFT. CATALYTIC WAS NOT SOLICITED FOR A PROCUREMENT NEGOTIATED ON THE BASIS OF PUBLIC EXIGENCY UNDER 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (2) AT THAT TIME IN VIEW OF THE UNSATISFACTORY EVALUATION. PROPOSALS WERE SOLICITED FROM WALTER KIDDE AND MOLECULAR AND AWARD WAS MADE TO WALTER KIDDE.

YOU PROTESTED THAT PROPER TEST METHODS WERE NOT EMPLOYED AND THAT A NAVY EMPLOYEE ATTEMPTED TO DISCOURAGE CATALYTIC FROM SEEKING FURTHER QUALIFICATION. NAVAIRWORKFAC HAS STATED THAT CATALYTIC'S SAMPLES WERE NOT TESTED, BUT WERE RADIOGRAPHICALLY INSPECTED, DISASSEMBLED AND REJECTED AS NOT BEING IN CONFORMITY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF CATALYTIC DRAWING NUMBER 3120. HOWEVER, IF THAT IS THE CASE, THE REJECTION LETTER SHOULD HAVE INDICATED THAT THE PART WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE BECAUSE OF THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE DRAWING AND THE PART RATHER THAN STATING THAT THE PART WAS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR THE WALTER KIDDE PART. WE THEREFORE BELIEVE THAT THE REJECTION NOTICE WAS MISLEADING. WE ARE RECOMMENDING TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY BY SEPARATE LETTER, COPY ENCLOSED, THAT APPROPRIATE STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO INSURE IN THE FUTURE THAT SUCH NOTICES CLEARLY SET FORTH THE BASIS FOR REJECTION SO THAT INTERESTED COMPANIES ATTEMPTING TO QUALIFY WILL READILY UNDERSTAND WHAT IS REQUIRED OF THEM TO CORRECT DISCREPANCIES. IN ANY EVENT, THE LETTER OF REJECTION INVITED CATALYTIC TO FURTHER ATTEMPT TO QUALIFY AND IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT CATALYTIC INTENDS TO SUBMIT ADDITIONAL DRAWINGS AND SAMPLES FOR EVALUATION. FURTHER, MR. R. PEYRE-FERRY, THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE WHO YOU ALLEGE ATTEMPTED TO DISCOURAGE CATALYTIC FROM SUBMITTING NEW SAMPLES FOR CONSIDERATION AFTER THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD INVITED ITS SUBMISSION, HAS STATED IN WRITING THAT HE EMPHATICALLY DENIES THE ALLEGATION.

WITH REGARD TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT THERE SHOULD ONLY BE ONE FEDERAL STOCK NUMBER FOR THE DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGES, OUR OFFICE HAS LEARNED INFORMALLY FROM THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, WHICH HAS MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITY, THAT STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF STOCK NUMBERS. IN THAT REGARD, -8682 AND -4859 WERE CANCELED AS DUPLICATES OF - 7117; HOWEVER, WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT 8682 HAS BEEN REINSTATED AT THE REQUEST OF ASO UNDER FEDERAL STOCK CLASS 4440 ASSIGNED TO THE DEFENSE CONSTRUCTION SUPPLY CENTER FOR PURCHASE.

IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT CATALYTIC WAS UNABLE TO QUALIFY ITS PART IN TIME TO COMPETE FOR THE LAST PROCUREMENT OF DEHYDRATOR CARTRIDGES BY THE NAVY; HOWEVER, ON THE RECORD, THERE IS NO FURTHER ACTION OUR OFFICE MAY TAKE IN THE MATTER.