B-171581, APR 8, 1971

B-171581: Apr 8, 1971

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DECISION OF THE CONTRACTING AUTHORITY THAT PROTESTANT'S PROPOSAL WAS SO TECHNICALLY DEFICIENT AS TO PRECLUDE FURTHER MEANINGFUL NEGOTIATIONS IS WITHIN THE AUTHORITY'S DISCRETION. TO EMR TELEMETRY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED DECEMBER 21. THE REPORT SHOWS THAT THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS WAS ISSUED ON NOVEMBER 4. YOURS WAS LOW AS TO PRICE. ALL THREE OFFERORS SUBMITTED TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WITH THEIR OFFERS WHICH WERE FORWARDED TO THE NAVAL AIR PROPULSION TEST CENTER FOR REVIEW AND EVALUATION. IT WAS THERE DETERMINED THAT THE PROPOSALS OF VIDAR AND DATA CONTROL SYSTEMS. WERE WITHIN A COMPETITIVE TECHNICAL RANGE. THE EMR TELEMETRY TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WAS CONSIDERED UNACCEPTABLE AND INCAPABLE OF BEING BROUGHT UP TO THE LEVEL OF TECHNICAL COMPETENCE TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS WITHOUT A COMPLETE REDESIGN OF THE UNIT.

B-171581, APR 8, 1971

BID PROTEST - COMPETIVE RANGE - TECHNICAL DEFICIENCIES DENYING PROTEST OF EMR TELEMETRY, LOW PROPOSER, AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT FOR MULTI-CHANNEL DATA SYSTEMS ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER, WARMINSTER, PENNSYLVANIA TO ANOTHER PROPOSER. DECISION OF THE CONTRACTING AUTHORITY THAT PROTESTANT'S PROPOSAL WAS SO TECHNICALLY DEFICIENT AS TO PRECLUDE FURTHER MEANINGFUL NEGOTIATIONS IS WITHIN THE AUTHORITY'S DISCRETION.

TO EMR TELEMETRY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM DATED DECEMBER 21, 1970, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANOTHER FIRM UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS N62269 -71-R-0238, ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER, WARMINSTER, PENNSYLVANIA.

THE REPORT SHOWS THAT THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS WAS ISSUED ON NOVEMBER 4, 1970, FOR A 144 CHANNEL DATA SYSTEM, A 168 CHANNEL DATA SYSTEM, AND RELATED TECHNICAL DATA, BOTH SYSTEMS TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH NAVAL AIR PROPULSION TEST CENTER SPECIFICATION NO. 1321/1XX ENTITLED "DATA ACQUISITION AND REPRODUCE SYSTEM," DATED OCTOBER 28, 1970. OF THE THREE PROPOSALS RECEIVED, YOURS WAS LOW AS TO PRICE. ALL THREE OFFERORS SUBMITTED TECHNICAL PROPOSALS WITH THEIR OFFERS WHICH WERE FORWARDED TO THE NAVAL AIR PROPULSION TEST CENTER FOR REVIEW AND EVALUATION. IT WAS THERE DETERMINED THAT THE PROPOSALS OF VIDAR AND DATA CONTROL SYSTEMS, THE OTHER TWO OFFERORS, WERE WITHIN A COMPETITIVE TECHNICAL RANGE. THE EMR TELEMETRY TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WAS CONSIDERED UNACCEPTABLE AND INCAPABLE OF BEING BROUGHT UP TO THE LEVEL OF TECHNICAL COMPETENCE TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS WITHOUT A COMPLETE REDESIGN OF THE UNIT.

THE EVALUATORS FOUND THAT YOUR PROPOSAL DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:

"A. THE VOLTAGE CONTROLLED OSCILLATORS (VCO) DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE INPUT CAPACITANCE (PARAGRAPH C 6D OF ENCLOSURE 3).

"B. THE VCO'S DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFIED DISTORTION (PARAGRAPH C 6K OF ENCLOSURE 3).

"C. THE VCO'S DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFIED COMMON MODE REJECTION (PARAGRAPH C 6D OF ENCLOSURE 3).

"D. THE VCO'S IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE AUTOMATIC CALIBRATION UNIT DID NOT COMPLY WITH THE INTERLOCK FEATURE (PARAGRAPHS C 60 AND 6 9D OF ENCLOSURE 3).

"E. THE VCO'S ANALOG OUTPUTS ARE NOT COMPATIBLE WITH EXISTING SYSTEMS AND IN FACT ARE NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THE EQUIPMENT OFFERED BY EMR. IF THE VCO'S ANALOG OUTPUTS WERE USED WITH THE EQUIPMENT OFFERED, THE VCO'S COMMON MODE REJECTION (CMR) WOULD BE FURTHER DEGRADED FROM ITS ALREADY UNACCEPTABLE LEVEL."

IN ADDITION, IT IS REPORTED THAT YOUR PROPOSAL STATED, AT PAGE 2-47:

"IN CERTAIN AREAS OF SPECIFICATION NO. 1321/1XX, HOWEVER, PARAMETERS OF EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE ARE CALLED OUT IN SUCH DETAIL THAT FULL COMPLIANCE WOULD ENTAIL COSTLY AND TIME-CONSUMING SPECIAL PRODUCT DESIGNS. EMR HAS ELECTED TO CONFIGURE THE PROPOSED SYSTEM WITH STANDARD AND MODIFIED STANDARD PRODUCTS FROM OUR 4000 SERIES AS WELL AS THOSE FROM REPUTABLE VENDORS."

IN VIEW OF THE DETERMINATION OF NONACCEPTABILITY OF THE EMR TELEMETRY PROPOSAL, NEGOTIATIONS WERE CONDUCTED ONLY WITH VIDAR AND DATA CONTROL, AND EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 15, 1970, AWARD WAS MADE TO DATA CONTROL FOR THE 144 CHANNEL SYSTEM AND RELATED TECHNICAL DATA AT A TOTAL PRICE OF $299,970.

YOU CONTEND THAT (1) YOUR OFFER WAS THE LOWEST SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS; (2) AT NO TIME DURING THE EVALUATION WERE YOU ADVISED OF DISCREPANCIES; AND (3) YOU WERE NOT ASKED TO QUALIFY OR AMPLIFY YOUR PROPOSAL.

ASPR 3-805.1(A) REQUIRES THAT "AFTER RECEIPT OF INITIAL PROPOSALS, WRITTEN OR ORAL DISCUSSIONS SHALL BE CONDUCTED WITH ALL RESPONSIBLE OFFERORS WHO SUBMIT PROPOSALS WITHIN A COMPETITIVE RANGE, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS, INCLUDING TECHNICAL QUALITY WHERE APPROPRIATE, CONSIDERED." "OTHER FACTORS" HAS BEEN HELD TO INCLUDE THE TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY OF PROPOSALS. 46 COMP. GEN. 606 (1967). IN OUR OPINION, A PROPOSAL MUST BE REGARDED AS WITHIN A COMPETITIVE RANGE UNLESS IT IS SO TECHNICALLY DEFICIENT OR OUT OF LINE IN PRICE AS TO PRECLUDE FURTHER MEANINGFUL NEGOTIATIONS. 45 COMP. GEN. 417 (1966); 47 ID. 252 (1967). PARTICULARLY WITH RESPECT TO TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS, WE RECOGNIZE THAT A REASONABLE DEGREE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION IS PERMISSIBLE IN DETERMINING WHETHER A PROPOSAL IS WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. B 163024, AUGUST 27, 1968. WE WILL NOT DISTURB SUCH DETERMINATION IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAR SHOWING OF ARBITRARY ABUSE OF DISCRETION. 48 COMP. GEN. 314 (1968). HERE THE PROCURING ACTIVITY DETERMINED THAT YOUR OFFER CONTAINED MAJOR DEFICIENCIES AND WE FIND NO BASIS TO DISAGREE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS NOT WITHIN A COMPETITIVE RANGE SO AS NOT TO REQUIRE FURTHER DISCUSSION PURSUANT TO ASPR 3-805.1(A). SEE B-168190, FEBRUARY 24, 1970.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.