B-174904, APR 14, 1972

B-174904: Apr 14, 1972

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

SINCE IT APPEARS THAT ELPAC'S BID WAS CAREFULLY EVALUATED AND THAT THE DEFICIENCIES FOUND THEREIN WERE MATERIAL. PROTESTANT'S CONTENTION THAT THE AWARD TO MONITER SYSTEMS UNDER AN "IMPACT ORDER" WAS IMPROPER IS WITHOUT MERIT. SINCE ELPAC'S PROPOSAL WAS CLEARLY REJECTED ON ITS MERITS AND NOT BECAUSE OF THE URGENT NEED FOR A PORTION OF THE SYNCHRONIZERS. THE PROTEST IS DENIED. TO ELPAC INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 26. UPON A DETERMINATION THAT THERE WAS AN ABSENCE OF DETAILED DESIGN DATA AND SUFFICIENTLY DETAILED PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS FOR AN ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT. THE SUBJECT REQUIREMENT WAS NEGOTIATED PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. 2304(A)(10). FIVE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED AND FOUR (INCLUDING YOURS) WERE EVALUATED TO BE TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

B-174904, APR 14, 1972

BID PROTEST - TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY - PROPRIETY OF "IMPACT ORDER" DECISION DENYING THE PROTEST OF ELPAC, INC., AGAINST REJECTION OF ITS BID UNDER AN RFP ISSUED BY THE SPACE AND MISSILE CENTER, VANDENBERG AFB, CALIF., FOR THE DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND INSTALLATION OF A QUANTITY OF SIGNAL CONDITIONER/BIT SYNCHRONIZERS. UNDER A NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT, THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 3-805.1(A) REQUIRE DISCUSSIONS ONLY WITH OFFERORS WHO SUBMIT PROPOSALS WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. IN THE INSTANT CASE, SINCE IT APPEARS THAT ELPAC'S BID WAS CAREFULLY EVALUATED AND THAT THE DEFICIENCIES FOUND THEREIN WERE MATERIAL, THE COMP. GEN. DOES NOT FEEL THAT THE AIR FORCE HAS ABUSED THE DISCRETIONARY POWER IT EXERCISES WITH REGARD TO DETERMINATIONS OF TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY. FURTHER, PROTESTANT'S CONTENTION THAT THE AWARD TO MONITER SYSTEMS UNDER AN "IMPACT ORDER" WAS IMPROPER IS WITHOUT MERIT, SINCE ELPAC'S PROPOSAL WAS CLEARLY REJECTED ON ITS MERITS AND NOT BECAUSE OF THE URGENT NEED FOR A PORTION OF THE SYNCHRONIZERS. FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.

TO ELPAC INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 26, 1972, AND THAT OF YOUR GENERAL SALES MANAGER, PCM DATA SYSTEMS DIVISION, DATED JANUARY 7, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING THE REJECTION OF YOUR OFFER UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) F04701-71-R-0027, AS AMENDED, ISSUED JULY 28, 1971, BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, SPACE AND MISSILE TEST CENTER, VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA.

THE RFP SOLICITED THE DESIGN, FABRICATION AND INSTALLATION OF 13 SIGNAL CONDITIONER/BIT SYNCHRONIZERS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH VARIOUS SPECIFICATIONS, TOGETHER WITH CIRCUIT CARD AND DATA AND THE DEVELOPMENT AND CONDUCTING OF A PERSONNEL TRAINING PROGRAM TO PROVIDE INSTRUCTION ON THE TESTING, CALIBRATION, INSTALLATION, OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE REFERENCED ARTICLES.

UPON A DETERMINATION THAT THERE WAS AN ABSENCE OF DETAILED DESIGN DATA AND SUFFICIENTLY DETAILED PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS FOR AN ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT, THE SUBJECT REQUIREMENT WAS NEGOTIATED PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. 2304(A)(10), AS IMPLEMENTED BY ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) 3-210.2(XIII).

FIVE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED AND FOUR (INCLUDING YOURS) WERE EVALUATED TO BE TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE. HOWEVER, IT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY DETERMINED THAT THE STATEMENT OF WORK CONTAINED POSSIBLY MISLEADING LANGUAGE, AND THAT THE REFERENCED ACTIVITY'S REQUIREMENTS NECESSITATED ADDITIONAL UNITS. ACCORDINGLY, AN AMENDMENT WAS ISSUED TO PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS WHICH CORRECTED THE STATEMENT OF WORK, REFINED CERTAIN PARTS OF THE PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION, AND INCREASED THE QUANTITY OF UNITS REQUIRED. ONLY THREE OF THE ORIGINAL FIVE OFFERORS RESPONDED TO THIS AMENDMENT. UPON EVALUATION THEREOF, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT ONLY MONITOR SYSTEMS HAD SUBMITTED A TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE PROPOSAL, AND THAT THE OTHER TWO PROPOSALS WERE SO DEFICIENT THAT FURTHER NEGOTIATIONS WITH THOSE OFFERORS WOULD BE FUTILE.

YOU WERE ADVISED BY A LETTER DATED JANUARY 3, 1972, OF THE REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL AND OF THE PRIMARY AREAS IN WHICH IT WAS FOUND DEFICIENT.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THERE EXISTED A CRITICAL NEED FOR AT LEAST FOUR OF THE SYNCHRONIZERS BY FEBRUARY 1, 1972, TO SUPPORT SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR A LAUNCHING SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY 16, 1972. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT A SHORTER DELIVERY SCHEDULE FOR FIVE OF THE UNITS WAS NEGOTIATED, AT NO INCREASE IN PRICE, WITH MONITOR SYSTEMS AND THE AWARD WAS CONSUMMATED ON JANUARY 3, 1972.

YOU CONTEND THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS IN THE AREAS IN WHICH THE PROCURING ACTIVITY FOUND THE PROPOSAL DEFICIENT. YOU ALSO BELIEVE THAT THE REASONS FOR REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL WERE EXTREMELY MINOR, AND THAT THE DEVIATIONS OF YOUR PRODUCT FROM THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE RFP COULD HAVE BEEN RESOLVED BY A SIMPLE TELEPHONE CALL FROM THE PROCURING ACTIVITY TO YOUR FIRM. YOU FURTHER PROTEST THE AWARD UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF AN "IMPACT ORDER", CONTENDING THAT THE EMERGENCY SO INDICATED COULD HAVE BEEN ACCOMMODATED BY A MORE ADEQUATE REVIEW OF YOUR PROPOSAL.

THE PROCURING ACTIVITY HAS FURNISHED OUR OFFICE WITH A STATEMENT OF THE SPECIFIC INSTANCES IN WHICH YOUR PROPOSAL WAS FOUND TO BE TECHNICALLY DEFICIENT. THIS STATEMENT IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"(1) ELPAC DOES NOT PROVIDE EVIDENCE THAT THEIR PROPOSED UNIT, MODEL DS2071, IS IN FIELD USE AS IS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 1.0 OF THE SAMTEC STATEMENT OF WORK AND PARAGRAPH 1.2 OF THE SAMTEC TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION.

(2) MIL-STD-757 IS A PROCEDURE FOR COMPUTING RELIABILITY BASED ON DEMONSTRATION DATA (DATA COLLECTED FROM OBSERVED TESTS AND OPERATION OF THE SAME PRODUCT WHICH IS BEING EVALUATED - IN THIS CASE, THE SIGNAL CONDITIONER/BIT SYNCHRONIZER) OBTAINED ON THE SAME PRODUCT FOR WHICH THE EVALUATION IS REQUIRED. THIS MIL-STD IS CONSIDERED TO BE VALID ONLY FOR ESTIMATING ACHIEVED RELIABILITY AND IS NOT TO BE APPLIED TO PREDICTING INHERENT RELIABILITY COVERED BY MIL-STD-756. THE RELIABILITY FIGURES SUBMITTED BY ELPAC, INC ARE BASED ON COMPONENT RELIABILITY (LIGHT BULB, WIRE, TRANSISTOR, METER, ETC) AS PERMITTED BY MIL-STD-756 AND NOT ON ACTUAL BIT SYNCHRONIZER UNIT TESTS AS REQUIRED BY MIL-STD-757. THE INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY ELPAC, INC DOES NOT CONSTITUTE EVIDENCE THAT THE RELIABILITY FIGURES ARE BASED UPON OBSERVED TESTS AND OBSERVATIONS OF THE MODEL DS2071 SIGNAL CONDITIONER/BIT SYNCHRONIZER AS REQUIRED BY MIL-STD- 757.

(3) INPUT SENSITIVITY: ELPAC STATES THAT THE MODEL DS2071 WILL ACCEPT INPUT SIGNALS RANGING BETWEEN 0.5 TO 60.0 VOLTS AND IMPLIES THAT THE UNIT WILL ACCEPT SIGNALS RANGING BETWEEN -0.5 TO -60.0 VOLTS. THE SAMTEC REQUIREMENT IS FOR ACCEPTANCE OF SIGNALS RANGING BETWEEN 0.5 TO 30.0 AND 0.5 TO -30.0 VOLTS. THE PROPOSED UNIT DOES NOT MEET THE SAMTEC REQUIREMENT.

(4) SIGNAL SOURCE: SAMTEC REQUIRES THAT THE UNIT ACCEPT UP TO SIX SIGNAL SOURCES OF WHICH ANY ONE CAN BE SELECTED FOR PROCESSING. ELPAC PROPOSES TO MEET THIS REQUIREMENT IN SECTION II OF THE PROPOSAL BUT IN SECTION III, TABLE I, ONLY FOUR SOURCES ARE LISTED UNDER FUNCTION.

(5) DC OFFSET: THE MODEL DS2071 ACCEPTS ONLY SINGLE ENDED SIGNALS HAVING A DC OFFSET OF UP TO 100% OF THE PEAK-TO-PEAK INPUT SIGNAL AMPLITUDE. SAMTEC REQUIRES A UNIT THAT WILL ACCEPT BALANCED LINE SIGNALS AS WELL AS SINGLE ENDED SIGNALS WHICH HAVE DC OFFSETS REFERENCED TO GROUND OF UP TO 100% OF THE PEAK-TO-PEAK INPUT SIGNAL AMPLITUDE. SINCE SAMTEC IS STANDARDIZING TO USE BALANCED LINE SIGNAL CABLES THE PROPOSED MODEL DS2071 WILL NOT SATISFY SAMTEC REQUIREMENTS.

(7) SIGNAL ACQUISITION AND SYNCHRONIZATION: SAMTEC REQUIRES THAT THE SIGNAL CONDITIONER/BIT SYNCHRONIZER SHALL BE CAPABLE OF ACQUIRING AND LOCKING ONTO SIGNALS HAVING BASE LINE SHIFTS OF OR - 100% OF PEAK TO-PEAK SIGNAL AMPLITUDES AT RATES UP TO 5% OF THE BIT RATE AND SIGNAL TO-NOISE RATIOS (SNR) GREATER THAN 12 DB. THIS CONDITION MUST BE MET FOR ALL THE FOLLOWING PCM CODES AS DEFINED IN IRIG DOCUMENT 106-69: NRZ L, NRZ-M, NRZ- S, RZ, B10-L, B10-M, AND B10-S. THE ELPAC MODEL DS2071 WILL MEET THE SAMTEC REQUIREMENT FOR ONLY B10-L, B10-M, AND B10-S CODES. FOR NRZ-L, NRZ -M, NRZ-S, AND RZ CODES, THE MODEL DS2071 CAN ACQUIRE AND LOCK ONTO SIGNALS HAVING BASE LINE SHIFTS OF

OR - 100% OF THE PEAK-TO-PEAK SIGNAL AMPLITUDES AT RATES UP TO ONLY 1.0% OF THE BIT RATE AND SNR GREATER THAN 12 DB. THE ELPAC UNIT DOES NOT MEET THIS CRITICAL SAMTEC REQUIREMENT.

(9) SYNCHRONIZATION MAINTAINABILITY: SAMTEC REQUIRES THAT THE SIGNAL CONDITIONER/BIT SYNCHRONIZER MAINTAIN SYNCHRONIZATION WHEN TRANSITION DENSITIES FALL AS LOW AS ONE IN ONE HUNDRED (1.0%) BIT TIMES WITH NOMINAL SIGNAL INPUT. THE MODEL DS2071 WILL MAINTAIN SYNCHRONIZATION WITH TRANSITION DENSITIES ONLY AS LOW AS 5.0% WITH SNR GREATER THAN 15 DB. THE DS2071 DOES NOT MEET THE SAMTEC REQUIREMENT."

ASPR 3-805.1(A) REQUIRES DISCUSSIONS ONLY WITH OFFERORS WHO SUBMIT PROPOSALS WITHIN A COMPETITIVE RANGE, PRICE AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED. THE TERM "OTHER FACTORS" HAS BEEN HELD TO INCLUDE THE TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY OF PROPOSALS. SEE 46 COMP. GEN. 606, 610 (1967). 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. DO NOT, IN THIS CASE, FIND THAT THE AGENCY HAS ABUSED THIS DISCRETION.

IN THE INSTANT CASE THE PROCURING ACTIVITY DETERMINED THAT YOUR OFFER WAS SO TECHNICALLY DEFICIENT AS TO PRECLUDE MEANINGFUL NEGOTIATIONS. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS CAREFULLY CONSIDERED AND THE DEFICIENCIES THEREIN WERE DOCUMENTED IN DETAIL BY THE EVALUATION PERSONNEL SHOWING THE BASIS FOR THEIR CONCLUSION THAT YOUR PROPOSAL COULD NOT BE MADE ACCEPTABLE WITHOUT MAJOR REVISION. IN VIEW OF THE DESCRIPTION OF SUCH DEFICIENCIES, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT THE PROPOSAL EVALUATORS OF THE AGENCY DID NOT HAVE SUBSTANTIAL SUPPORT FOR THEIR CONCLUSIONS, OR THAT THE DEFICIENCIES IN YOUR PROPOSAL WERE MERELY MINOR MATTERS WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN RESOLVED IN NEGOTIATIONS. ACCORDINGLY, WE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE AGENCY'S DECISION NOT TO CONDUCT NEGOTIATIONS WITH YOUR FIRM. SEE B- 168190, FEBRUARY 24, 1970, AND B 171030, JUNE 22, 1971.

WITH REGARD TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT THIS AWARD SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF AN "IMPACT ORDER", THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED BECAUSE OF THE AGENCY'S POSITION THAT THE MEANINGFUL NEGOTIATIONS, AND NOT BECAUSE OF THE URGENT NEED FOR A PORTION OF THE SYNCHRONIZERS. SINCE A RELATIONSHIP HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN BETWEEN THE CRITICAL NEED FOR THE ITEMS AND THE REJECTION OF YOUR OFFER, WE DO NOT CONSIDER THIS OBJECTION TO BE WELL-TAKEN.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.