B-181409, OCT 16, 1974

B-181409: Oct 16, 1974

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DISCLOSURE OF PRECISE NUMERICAL WEIGHTS ASSIGNED TO FACTORS USED IN EVALUATING PROPOSALS IS NOT REQUIRED SO LONG AS OFFERORS ARE INFORMED OF BROAD SCHEME OF SCORING TO BE EMPLOYED AND RELATIVE WEIGHT OF FACTORS TO BE USED IN EVALUATING PROPOSALS FOR AWARD. WHERE RFP STATES THAT EQUAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE PLACED ON TECHNICAL AND COST PROPOSALS FOR EVALUATION PURPOSES. EQUAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE ASSIGNED TO FACTORS SET FORTH IN TECHNICAL CRITERION. FACTORS OTHER THAN PRICE MAY BE CONSIDERED AND GIVEN APPROPRIATE WEIGHT WHEN PROPOSALS ARE EVALUATED AND THE RESULTS OF A TECHNICAL EVALUATION MAY BE CONSIDERED CONTROLLING WHERE ONE PROPOSAL IS TECHNICALLY SUPERIOR TO A LOWER PRICED BUT TECHNICALLY INFERIOR PROPOSAL.

B-181409, OCT 16, 1974

1. DISCLOSURE OF PRECISE NUMERICAL WEIGHTS ASSIGNED TO FACTORS USED IN EVALUATING PROPOSALS IS NOT REQUIRED SO LONG AS OFFERORS ARE INFORMED OF BROAD SCHEME OF SCORING TO BE EMPLOYED AND RELATIVE WEIGHT OF FACTORS TO BE USED IN EVALUATING PROPOSALS FOR AWARD. WHERE RFP STATES THAT EQUAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE PLACED ON TECHNICAL AND COST PROPOSALS FOR EVALUATION PURPOSES, AND EQUAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE ASSIGNED TO FACTORS SET FORTH IN TECHNICAL CRITERION, GAO DETERMINES THAT REQUIREMENT OF INFORMING OFFERORS OF EVALUATION FACTORS AND RELATIVE WEIGHTS ASSIGNED THERETO HAS BEEN MET. 2. IN A NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT, A CONTRACT NEED NOT BE AWARDED TO THE LOWEST RESPONSIBE OFFEROR. FACTORS OTHER THAN PRICE MAY BE CONSIDERED AND GIVEN APPROPRIATE WEIGHT WHEN PROPOSALS ARE EVALUATED AND THE RESULTS OF A TECHNICAL EVALUATION MAY BE CONSIDERED CONTROLLING WHERE ONE PROPOSAL IS TECHNICALLY SUPERIOR TO A LOWER PRICED BUT TECHNICALLY INFERIOR PROPOSAL. QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY OF PROPOSALS ARE PRIMARILY FOR THE DETERMINATION OF PROCURING AGENCY, AND SUCH A DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY OUR OFFICE WHERE, AS HERE, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE STATED EVALUATION CRITERIA WERE APPLIED AND THE DETERMINATIONS WERE REASONABLE.

FREQUENCY ENGINEERING LABORATORIES:

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) N00123-74-R-0501, WAS ISSUED ON OCTOBER 30, 1973, BY THE NAVAL REGIONAL PROCUREMENT OFFICE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, FOR ENGINEERING SUPPORT SERVICES FOR THE BASIC POINT DEFENSE MISSILE SYSTEM. NINE PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS RESPONDED TO THE SOLICITATION WITH PROPOSALS. ACCORDING TO THE NAVY, TECHNICAL EVALUATION WAS PERFORMED BY THE COGNIZANT TECHNICAL PERSONNEL AT THE NAVAL SHIP SYSTEM ENGINEERING STATION (NSWSES), PORT HUENEME, CALIFORNIA, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVALUATION CRITERIA DELINEATED IN SECTION D OF THE RFP, WHICH READ IN PART:

"SECTION D - EVALUATION AND AWARD FACTORS

"D-1 THE FOLLOWING FACTORS FOR EVALUATION FOR AWARD PURPOSES ARE STATED IN ORDER OF THEIR RELATIVE ORDER OF IMPORTANCE WITH THE ADDED REQUIREMENT THAT AWARD OF THE PROPOSED CONTRACT WILL BE MADE TO THE RESPONSIBLE CONTRACTOR WHOSE PROPOSAL MEETS MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TECHNICAL/PERFORMANCE/FACILITY CAPABILITIES SET FORTH IN SECTION D-1.1, WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION UNDER PROCEDURES OUTLINED IN SECTION D-2 HEREUNDER, AND WHOSE PROPOSAL IS PREDICATED UPON THE LOWEST TOTAL PRICE DETERMINED COMPARATIVELY AND/OR RELATIVELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH ESTIMATES SET FORTH IN SECTION D-1.2 BELOW.

"D-1.1 TECHNICAL/PERFORMANCE/FACILITY CAPABILITY: EVALUATION WILL BE BASED ON DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE SUBMITTED ON THE FOLLOWING FACTORS COMPARED WITH THE WORK STATEMENT REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION F-1 HEREIN:

"D-1.1.1 QUALITY AND AVAILABILITY OF PERSONNEL KNOWLEDGEABLE AND EXPERIENCED IN THE DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, FABRICATION, TESTING, MAINTENANCE, OPERATION OR ENGINEERING SUPPORT OF THE EQUIPMENT, SYSTEMS, COMPONENTS, SUBSYSTEMS, ETC., OR SIMILAR TYPE EQUIPMENT SET FORTH IN WORK STATEMENT OF SECTION F-1 HEREIN.

"D-1.1.2 NATURE OF PAST AND CURRENT GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS AND QUALITY OF PERFORMANCE THEREOF AS MAY BE VERIFIED UNDER REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION D-2 HEREIN AS RELATED TO THE EFFORT SET FORTH IN SECTIONS E-1 AND F-1 HERETO. EVIDENCE SHOULD BE PRESENTED BY INDICATING THE CONTRACT NUMBER, SCOPE WITH A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF TYPE OF EQUIPMENT, SYSTEM, ETC."

THE NAVY STATES THAT THE WEIGHTS ASSIGNED BY THE ACTIVITY, BUT NOT SHOWN IN THE RFP, WERE 50 PERCENT FOR TECHNICAL AND 50 PERCENT FOR COST, AND WITHIN THE TECHNICAL CRITERION THE TWO SUBFACTORS WERE GIVEN EQUAL WEIGHT. OFFERORS WERE ASKED TO SUBMIT TWO COST PROPOSALS ON A TIME AND MATERIALS BASIS, ONE FOR THE CONTRACT PERIOD, DECEMBER 1, 1973 - NOVEMBER 30, 1974, AND ONE FOR AN ADDITIONAL ONE YEAR PERIOD, DECEMBER 1, 1974 - NOVEMBER 30, 1975. A DETERMINATION WAS MADE TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING OFFERORS' PROPOSALS AS FALLING WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE:

ACHIEVED

TECHNICAL

GRADE OF TOTAL

OFFEROR 100.0 FIRST YEAR OPTION YEAR BOTH YEARS

RAYTHEON COMPANY 94.7 $396,290. $419,525. $815,815.

VITRO (AUTOMATION IND.) 83.3 407,345. 417,470. 824,815.

SPERRY GYROSCOPE 80.7 397,055. 395,055. 790,110.

FREQUENCY ENGINEERING 71.3 464,500. 487,230. 951,730.

VALUE ENGINEERING 69.7 341,105. 342,945.684,050.

STANWICK SYSTEMS 65.0 398,905. 398,905. 797,810.

BY LETTERS DATED APRIL 5, 1974, THE PROCURING ACTIVITY NOTIFIED ALL OFFERORS WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE OF DEFICIENCIES, IF ANY, IN THEIR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS. TELEPHONIC DISCUSSIONS RELATIVE TO TECHNICAL DEFICIENCIES WERE ALSO HELD WITH EACH OFFEROR WITHIN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE. THESE LETTERS ALSO INFORMED OFFERORS OF A CHANGE IN THE EVALUATION CRITERIA AND THAT AWARD WOULD NOT NECESSARILY BE MADE TO THE ONE SUBMITTING THE LOWEST TOTAL NOT-TO-EXCEED CEILING AMOUNT. THE LETTERS STATED IN PART:

"1. CHANGES TO RFP N00123-74-R-0501:

A. DELETE SECTION D-1 IN ITS ENTIRETY.

B. SUBSTITUTE, IN LIEU OF, THE FOLLOWING: SECTION D-1: FOR AWARD PURPOSES, EQUAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE PLACED ON YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL AND YOUR COST PROPOSAL, AND WITHIN THE TECHNICAL PORTION, EQUAL IMPORTANCE WILL BE GIVEN TO FACTORS SET FORTH IN SECTION D-1.1.1 AND D 1.1.2."

FINALLY, ALL OFFERORS WERE REQUESTED TO MAIL OR DELIVER THEIR BEST AND FINAL OFFERS BY APRIL 24, 1974.

BEST AND FINAL OFFERS WERE RECEIVED FROM THE SIX OFFERORS AND WERE REEVALUATED ON THE BASIS OF THE REVISED EVALUATION CRITERIA AND ON THE FIRST YEAR COST FIGURES ONLY. THE FOLLOWING TABLE SUMMARIZES THE RESULTS OF THE REEVALUATION.

TOTAL

NOT TO ACHIEVED ACHIEVED

EXCEED TECHNICAL ACHIEVED COST/

CEILING RATING COST GRADE TECHNICAL

OFFEROR ACCOUNT 50.0 (MAX) 50.0 (MAX) 100.0 (MAX)

RAYTHEON SERVICE $372,674. 45.84 44.58 90.43

FREQUENCY ENGINEERING 336,200. 34.5 50.00 84.50

VALUE ENGINEERING 348,650. 35.3 48.15 83.45

AUTOMATION INDUSTRIES 399,395. 40.15 40.60 80.75

SPERRY GYROSCOPE 389,619. 39.15 42.06 81.21

STANWICK SYSTEMS 398,905. 34.00 40.68 74.68

ON THE BASIS OF THE REEVALUATIONS, THE NAVY CONTEMPLATES MAKING AWARD TO RAYTHEON SERVICE COMPANY.

FREQUENCY ENGINEERING LABORATORIES, (FEL) A DIVISION OF HARVARD INDUSTRIES, AND THE OFFEROR WHICH SUBMITTED THE LOWEST COST PROPOSAL, PROTESTS THE NAVY'S PROPOSED AWARD TO OTHER THAN ITSELF. FEL STATES THAT IT APPEARS THAT THE NAVY IS NOT GIVING FULL CONSIDERATION TO THE EVALUATION AND AWARD FACTORS AS CONTAINED IN THE RFP AND THAT AWARD TO OTHER THAN THE LOWEST PRICED, TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE OFFEROR WOULD VIOLATE THE GOVERNMENT'S PROCEDURES FOR EVALUATION AND AWARD. FEL CONTENDS THAT ITS PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH AND SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF OTHER CONTRACTS INVOLVING THE SYSTEM BEING PROCURED HERE GIVES IT SUFFICIENT TECHNICAL COMPETENCE TO PERFORM THIS CONTRACT. THEREFORE, FEL STATES THAT SINCE IT IS THE LOW OFFEROR AND

"BASED ON THE EVALUATION AND AWARD FACTORS WHERE EQUAL IMPORTANCE IS PLACED ON THE TECHNICAL AND COST PROPOSAL, FEL MUST BE CONSIDERED AS LOW (OFFEROR) FOR THE FULL 50% AND WHATEVER PERCENTAGE MAY HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED AS A RESULT OF OUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WOULD PLACE US ABOVE ANY OF THE OTHER (OFFERORS)."

AS FOR FEL'S ALLEGATION THAT AWARD TO ANY OTHER OFFEROR WOULD PRECLUDE THE GOVERNMENT FROM ATTAINING A SIGNIFICANT TECHNICAL OR COST ADVANTAGE, THE NAVY STATES THAT ALTHOUGH RAYTHEON HAS PROPOSED HIGHER HOURLY COSTS IT IS BELIEVED THAT THIS SHOULD BE OFFSET BY RAYTHEON'S OVERALL HIGHER LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE WHICH SHOULD RESULT IN A MORE EFFECTIVE OPERATION AND PERMIT IT TO COMPLETE TASKS WITH FEWER MANHOURS RESULTING IN LOWER OVERALL COSTS TO THE GOVERNMENT. FURTHERMORE, THE NAVY POINTS OUT THAT THE EVALUATION CRITERIA INDICATED THAT IT WAS NOT INTENDED THAT AWARD WOULD GO TO THE OFFEROR SUBMITTING THE LOWEST COST PROPOSAL AND MEETING MINIMUM TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS. THEREFORE, WHEN RAYTHEON'S COST RATING WAS COMBINED WITH ITS SUPERIOR TECHNICAL RATING, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVALUATION CRITERIA, IT WAS CONSIDERED THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS OFFER.

THE NAVY FURTHER STATES THAT FEL'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS WITH PREVIOUS CONTRACTS DEALING WITH THE BASIC POINT DEFENSE SYSTEM WERE CONSIDERED IN EVALUATION OF ITS PROPOSAL, AND THAT THE ASSIGNED TECHNICAL WEIGHT REFLECTS THIS CONSIDERATION. ALSO, ACCORDING TO THE NAVY, FEL WAS ASSIGNED THE FULL 50 POINT MAXIMUM ACHIEVABLE WEIGHT FOR SUBMITTING THE LOWEST COSTS. FINALLY, AS FOR FEL'S ALLEGATION THAT THE NAVY DID NOT GIVE FULL CONSIDERATION TO THE EVALUATION AND AWARD FACTORS CONTAINED IN THE RFP, THE NAVY STATES THAT THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION WAS IN FACT CONDUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVALUATION CRITERIA ESTABLISHED IN THE RFP, AS AMENDED, AND WEIGHTS ASSIGNED THERETO.

THIS OFFICE HAS STATED THAT WHEN A POINT EVALUATION FORMULA IS TO BE USED, SOUND PROCUREMENT POLICY DICTATES THAT OFFERORS SHOULD BE INFORMED AS TO THE EVALUATION FACTORS AND THE RELATIVE WEIGHT OR IMPORTANCE TO BE ATTACHED TO EACH FACTOR. 50 COMP. GEN. 788, 792 (1971); 49 COMP. GEN. 229 (1969), AND CASES CITED THEREIN. THE RECORD OF THE SUBJECT PROCUREMENT INDICATES THAT PROSPECTIVE OFFERORS WERE GIVEN "THE BROAD SCHEME OF SCORING TO BE EMPLOYED" AND "REASONABLY DEFINITE INFORMATION AS TO THE DEGREE OF IMPORTANCE TO BE ACCORDED TO PARTICULAR FACTORS IN RELATION TO EACH OTHER." SEE B-180245, MAY 9, 1974. THE SUBSTITUTED SECTION D-1 OF THE RFP STATED THAT EQUAL IMPORTANCE WOULD BE PLACED UPON THE TECHNICAL AND COST PROPOSALS, AND WITHIN THE TECHNICAL PORTION, EQUAL IMPORTANCE WOULD BE ASSIGNED TO FACTORS SET FORTH IN SECTIONS D-1.1.1 AND D-1.1.2. THE LATTER TWO SECTIONS PROVIDED A SUFFICIENT LISTING OF THE FACTORS WHICH WOULD BE CONSIDERED IN EVALUATING THE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS, AND SECTION D- 1.2 CONTAINED DETAILED INFORMATION CONCERNING THE COST FACTOR. ALTHOUGH IT MAY HAVE BEEN MORE APPROPRIATE FOR THE SOLICITATION TO HAVE EMPHASIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF "MATH SIMULATION" AS AN EVALUATION FACTOR, AS CONTENDED, WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT ANY DEFICIENCY IN THIS RESPECT HAD A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE COMPETITION. THUS, WE BELIEVE THAT THE RFP STATEMENT OF THE EVALUATION CRITERIA ADEQUATELY INFORMED OFFERORS OF THE ACTUAL EVALUATION FACTORS TO BE USED AND OF THE RELATIVE WEIGHTS ATTACHED TO EACH FACTOR.

AS FOR FEL'S CONTENTION THAT THE NAVY DID NOT GIVE FULL CONSIDERATION TO THE AWARD FACTORS LISTED IN THE RFP, IT IS OUR BELIEF, BASED UPON OUR REVIEW OF THE RECORD PRESENTED, THAT THE NAVY FOLLOWED THE EVALUATION FACTORS AS OUTLINED IN THE RFP IN THEIR EVALUATION OF THE PROPOSALS. THIS CONNECTION, WE HAVE STATED THAT QUESTIONS OF TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY OF PROPOSALS ARE PRIMARILY FOR THE DETERMINATION OF THE PROCURING AGENCY, AND SUCH A DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY OUR OFFICE UNLESS IT IS CLEARLY SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN UNREASONABLE. B-171349, NOVEMBER 17, 1971. AFTER REVIEWING THE RECORD, WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE DETERMINATIONS REGARDING THE FEL TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WERE UNREASONABLE. FURTHERMORE, IN A NEGOTIATED PROCUREMENT A CONTRACT NEED NOT BE AWARDED TO THE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE OFFEROR. FACTORS OTHER THAN PRICE MAY BE CONSIDERED AND GIVEN APPROPRIATE WEIGHT IN THE EVALUATION AND THE RESULTS OF A TECHNICAL EVALUATION MAY BE CONSIDERED CONTROLLING WHERE ONE PROPOSAL IS TECHNICALLY SUPERIOR TO A LOWER PRICED BUT TECHNICALLY INFERIOR (ALTHOUGH ACCEPTABLE) PROPOSAL. B-171349, SUPRA.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.