B-174269, JAN 11, 1972

B-174269: Jan 11, 1972

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

FOR FURNISHING A QUANTITY OF PLAIN ROD END BEARINGS TO BE USED IN THE C- 151 TRANSPORT PROCUREMENT WHICH WAS UNDER CONTROL OF WARNER ROBINS AIR MATERIEL AREA (WRAMA). SINCE THE HEIMS BEARING WAS IN THREE PARTS. IT WAS NOT COVERED BY THE RFP. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT WRAMA ADVISED DISC THAT THREE-PIECE BEARINGS WERE THE ONLY BEARINGS APPROVED FOR THIS PROCUREMENT. SINCE TECHNICAL COGNIZANCE FOR THE BEARINGS WAS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF WRAMA. SINCE SPECIFICATIONS ARE WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY. TWO OFFERS WERE RECEIVED ON THE BEARINGS. ONE OF THE OFFERS WAS SUBMITTED BY HEIM UNIVERSAL WHICH OFFERED TO FURNISH THE BEARINGS AT A UNIT PRICE OF $10.22. THE ONLY OTHER OFFER ON THE BEARINGS WAS SUBMITTED BY TRANSPORT DYNAMICS AND IT OFFERED TO FURNISH THE BEARINGS AT A UNIT PRICE OF $15.20.

B-174269, JAN 11, 1972

BID PROTEST - SPECIFICATIONS - ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION DECISION DENYING PROTEST OF SOUTHWEST PRODUCTS CO., AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO HEIM UNIVERSAL DIVISION, NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL, UNDER AN RFP ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY CENTER (DISC), PHILADELPHIA, PA., FOR FURNISHING A QUANTITY OF PLAIN ROD END BEARINGS TO BE USED IN THE C- 151 TRANSPORT PROCUREMENT WHICH WAS UNDER CONTROL OF WARNER ROBINS AIR MATERIEL AREA (WRAMA), ROBINS AFB, GA. PROTESTANT STATES THAT AS THE RFP SPECIFIED ITS PART NUMBER, IT THEREBY CALLED FOR BEARINGS OF TWO-PIECE CONSTRUCTION AND THAT, SINCE THE HEIMS BEARING WAS IN THREE PARTS, IT WAS NOT COVERED BY THE RFP. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT WRAMA ADVISED DISC THAT THREE-PIECE BEARINGS WERE THE ONLY BEARINGS APPROVED FOR THIS PROCUREMENT. SINCE TECHNICAL COGNIZANCE FOR THE BEARINGS WAS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF WRAMA, DISC HAD NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO PROCURE THE BEARINGS SPECIFIED, AND SINCE SPECIFICATIONS ARE WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY, NO BASIS EXISTS FOR QUESTIONING AWARD TO HEIMS.

TO SOUTHWEST PRODUCTS CO.:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF NEGOTIATED DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY (DSA) CONTRACT NO. DSA 500-72-C-1533 TO HEIM UNIVERSAL DIVISION, NORTH AMERICAN ROCKWELL, UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. DSA 500-72-R 0150, ISSUED BY THE DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY CENTER (DISC), PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, HAS BEEN FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION.

THE RFP ISSUED ON AUGUST 9, 1971, ON BEHALF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, SOLICITED OFFERS FOR FURNISHING A TOTAL QUANTITY OF 1,370 PLAIN ROD END BEARINGS, FEDERAL STOCK NO. 3120-904-9044. THE SOLICITATION SCHEDULE RESTRICTED THE PROCUREMENT TO ITEMS MANUFACTURED UNDER THE PART NUMBERS AND DRAWINGS OF THE FOLLOWING THREE FIRMS, "THE SOUTHWEST PRODUCTS CORP. (81376), MONROVIA, CALIF. P/N 2DREMS-8; THE HEIM UNIVERSAL CORP. (73134), FAIRFIELD, CONN. P/N MSJKV8; THE KAHR BEARING CORP. (97613), BURBANK, CALIF. P/N KBNE8-19W." THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR FIRM'S PART NUMBER COVERS A BEARING OF TWO-PIECE CONSTRUCTION AND THAT THE PART NUMBERS OF HEIM AND KAHR COVER BEARINGS OF THREE-PIECE CONSTRUCTION.

TWO OFFERS WERE RECEIVED ON THE BEARINGS. ONE OF THE OFFERS WAS SUBMITTED BY HEIM UNIVERSAL WHICH OFFERED TO FURNISH THE BEARINGS AT A UNIT PRICE OF $10.22. THE ONLY OTHER OFFER ON THE BEARINGS WAS SUBMITTED BY TRANSPORT DYNAMICS AND IT OFFERED TO FURNISH THE BEARINGS AT A UNIT PRICE OF $15.20. YOUR FIRM SUBMITTED A "NO BID" CITING AS YOUR REASON THE FOLLOWING: "WE DO NOT BID AGAINST BIG BUSINESS AS WE CANNOT AFFORD IT. THE OTHER TWO PARTS NOTED ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE AS FAR AS FATIGUE LIFE AS THE 2-DREMS-8, WHICH WAS PREVIOUSLY SOLD TO THE AIR FORCE." ON AUGUST 27, 1971, CONTRACT NO. DSA 500-72-C-1533 WAS AWARDED TO HEIM UNIVERSAL.

YOU STATE THAT THE PART NUMBERED ITEMS SPECIFIED IN THE RFP FOR HEIM UNIVERSAL AND KAHR BEARING ARE BEARINGS OF THREE-PIECE CONSTRUCTION AND THAT THE PART NUMBER SPECIFIED IN THE RFP FOR YOUR FIRM IS OF A BEARING OF TWO-PIECE CONSTRUCTION. YOU MAINTAIN THAT PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE SUBJECT RFP, YOU WERE ADVISED BY SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES, OUR OFFICE, AND DISC THAT IN FUTURE SOLICITATIONS, THE PROCURING ACTIVITY, IN LIEU OF OR IN ADDITION TO LISTING THE PART NUMBER FOR YOUR TWO-PIECE BEARING, WOULD LIST YOUR THREE-PIECE BEARING, P/N DREMHD-8-001, AS AN EQUIVALENT, INTERCHANGEABLE PART. ADDITIONALLY, YOU ALLEGE THAT YOU WERE INFORMED BY DISC THAT YOUR FIRM COULD NOT QUOTE ON ANOTHER PART, BUT THAT IT MUST QUOTE ON THE PART NUMBER SPECIFIED IN THE RFP, OR ELSE YOUR OFFER WOULD BE CONSIDERED NONRESPONSIVE TO THE RFP. YOU REQUEST THAT THE CONTRACT AWARDED TO HEIM UNIVERSAL BE CANCELED AND THAT YOUR FIRM BE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT A QUOTATION ON YOUR THREE-PIECE BEARING.

IN REGARD TO YOUR ALLEGATION THAT DISC ADVISED YOUR COMPANY THAT YOU COULD ONLY QUOTE ON THE PART NUMBER SPECIFIED IN RFP-0150, DISC DENIES HAVING FURNISHED YOUR COMPANY WITH SUCH ADVICE AND STATES THAT SINCE RFP- 0150 COVERED A NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT, YOUR FIRM WAS NOT PRECLUDED FROM OFFERING FOR CONSIDERATION YOUR THREE-PIECE BEARING AND THAT IF THE THREE- PIECE BEARING HAD BEEN OFFERED, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE AIR FORCE FOR EVALUATION AS TO ITS ACCEPTABILITY UNDER RFP 0150. DISC DOES STATE, HOWEVER, THAT IT HAS HAD TO CAUTION YOUR COMPANY UNDER A NUMBER OF PRIOR ADVERTISED INVITATIONS FOR BIDS SOLICITATIONS, THAT YOUR FIRM COULD NOT SUBMIT OFFERS ON A BASIS OTHER THAN THE CITED PURCHASE DESCRIPTION AND SPECIFICATIONS AND THAT YOU COULD NOT VARY ANY OTHER OF THE MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE SOLICITATION.

OUR DECISION OF APRIL 28, 1968, B-166383, TO YOU, WHICH YOU CITE IN YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1971, INVOLVED A SITUATION WHERE THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY AWARDED PURCHASE ORDERS DESCRIBING TWO-PIECE DESIGN ROD END BEARINGS TO TRANSPORT DYNAMICS, INC., WHICH CORPORATION OFFERED TO FURNISH A BEARING OF THREE-PIECE DESIGN SUBSEQUENTLY DETERMINED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE TO BE ACCEPTABLE AFTER REQUIRED MODIFICATION. OUR DECISION HELD THAT YOUR FIRM SHOULD HAVE BEEN RESOLICITED FOR QUOTATIONS UPON SUCH CHANGE IN REQUIREMENTS. WE CONCLUDED, HOWEVER, THAT IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE RECORD INDICATED THAT THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION FOR THE BEARING DESIGNATED AS FSN 3120 904-9044 HAD BEEN MODIFIED FOR FUTURE PROCUREMENTS TO PERMIT DELIVERY OF THE PLAIN ROD END BEARINGS IN EITHER TWO-PIECE DESIGN OR THREE-PIECE DESIGN AND THAT SINCE THAT PROCUREMENT WAS ON AN EXPEDITED BASIS, WITH DELIVERY PRESUMABLY HAVING BEEN COMPLETED, CORRECTIVE ACTION BY OUR OFFICE WAS FORECLOSED.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE ROD END BEARING IN QUESTION, FSN 3120-904 9044, IS USED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE ON THE C-141 AIRCRAFT PRODUCED BY THE LOCKHEED AIRCRAFT CORPORATION AND THAT TECHNICAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ITEM RESTS WITH HEADQUARTERS, WARNER ROBINS AIR MATERIEL AREA (AIR FORCE LOGISTICS COMMAND), ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, GEORGIA, HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS WRAMA.

THE RECORD FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE BY DSA INDICATES THAT SUBSEQUENT TO OUR DECISION, PROCUREMENTS FOR THE SUBJECT ROD END BEARINGS WERE HANDLED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. INITIALLY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR DECISION, PURCHASE DESCRIPTIONS WERE MODIFIED TO PERMIT THE FURNISHING OF BEARINGS OF EITHER TWO OR THREE PIECES, APPARENTLY WITHOUT CALLING OUT SPECIFIC MANUFACTURERS' PART NUMBERS. LATER, FOLLOWING A PROTEST BY YOU THAT BEARINGS OF THREE-PIECE CONSTRUCTION DID NOT MEET THE REQUIRED RADIAL LOAD CAPACITY OF 22,400 POUNDS, A SOLICITATION WAS MODIFIED TO RESTRICT THAT PARTICULAR PROCUREMENT TO TWO-PIECE BEARINGS ONLY, RESULTING IN AN AWARD TO YOUR COMPANY. THIS MODIFICATION WAS MADE WITHOUT CONSULTING WITH WRAMA, THE USING AGENCY WITH TECHNICAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SUBJECT BEARINGS.

THEREAFTER, IN ANSWER TO A PROTEST BY YOUR FIRM, WRAMA ADVISED DISC THAT THREE PIECE BEARINGS WITH A STATIC RADIAL-LIMIT LOAD OF 14,700 POUNDS WERE THE EQUIVALENT OF TWO-PIECE BEARINGS WITH A 22,400-POUND RADIAL STATIC LOAD ON THE BASIS THAT THE LATTER FIGURE REPRESENTS AN ULTIMATE LOAD CAPACITY WHILE THE LESSER FIGURE REPRESENTS THE NORMAL LOAD LIMIT, CUSTOMARILY TWO-THIRDS OF THE ULTIMATE LOAD. ADDITIONALLY, PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF RFP-0150, WRAMA ADVISED DISC THAT ONLY THE THREE-PART NUMBERS SUBSEQUENTLY LISTED IN THAT RFP WERE APPROVED AS SOURCES OF SUPPLY FOR THE SUBJECT BEARINGS.

INASMUCH AS TECHNICAL COGNIZANCE FOR THE BEARINGS IN QUESTION IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF WRAMA, DISC HAD NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO PROCURE ONLY THE BEARINGS SPECIFIED BY WRAMA. FURTHER, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT ANY BASIS EXISTS FOR QUESTIONING THE CONTRACT AWARDED TO HEIM UNIVERSAL UNDER RFP- 0150 IN VIEW OF OUR LONG-HELD POSITION THAT SPECIFICATION DRAFTING IS PRIMARILY A DISCRETIONARY FUNCTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY INVOLVED, IN THIS CASE WRAMA. SEE 49 COMP. GEN. 156 (1969).

THERE SEEMS, HOWEVER, TO HAVE BEEN A BREAKDOWN IN COMMUNICATION IN THIS INSTANCE BECAUSE, ALTHOUGH THE FACT THAT YOUR COMPANY PRODUCES A THREE- PIECE BEARING HAS BEEN KNOWN TO DISC SINCE OUR 1968 DECISION, THAT BEARING HAS NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN SUBMITTED TO WRAMA FOR TECHNICAL EVALUATION. THIS REGARD, WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED BY THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY THAT THE SOUTHWEST THREE-PIECE BEARING, ALONG WITH THE BEARINGS OF TWO OTHER MANUFACTURERS, WILL BE SUBMITTED TO WRAMA FOR EVALUATION AND THAT OUR OFFICE WILL BE ADVISED OF THE EVALUATION RESULTS. ALTHOUGH NO REASONS ARE ADVANCED TO EXPLAIN THE FAILURE OF DISC TO REQUEST A TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF YOUR THREE-PIECE BEARING PREVIOUSLY, IT APPEARS THAT IT WILL BE LISTED IN FUTURE SOLICITATIONS IF THE EVALUATION DEMONSTRATES ITS TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY.

SINCE THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR FIRM AND TWO OTHER BIDDERS WERE IN A POSITION TO SUPPLY A ROD END BEARING WHICH MET THE SPECIFICATIONS IN RFP- 0150, WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT SUCH SOLICITATION WAS NOT UNDULY RESTRICTIVE. SEE B-167059, OCTOBER 22, 1969; B-164222, SEPTEMBER 23, 1968; B-161654, AUGUST 7, 1967.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.