B-203357.2, MAR 25, 1983

B-203357.2: Mar 25, 1983

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IT IS THE OFFEROR'S RESPONSIBILITY TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PROPOSAL IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS. 2. OFFEROR OF UNACCEPTABLE PROPOSAL IS NOT PROPER PARTY TO QUESTION REDUCTION IN ORDERS TO BE PLACED UNDER CONTRACT. DCI'S FIRST-STEP PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED AS UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE THE EVALUATORS FOUND THE PROPOSAL WAS DEFICIENT AND INCOMPLETE IN ADDRESSING THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS. DCI RECOGNIZES THAT OUR OFFICE WILL NOT EVALUATE PROPOSALS. DCI ASKS ONLY THAT WE DETERMINE WHETHER THE INFORMATION THAT WAS NOT FURNISHED WAS REQUIRED BY THE LRFTP. ONE OF THE DEFICIENCIES THE EVALUATORS FOUND WAS THAT DCI FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR VALIDATION (PERFORMANCE OF OPERATING AND MAINTENANCE PROCEDURES TO CONFIRM THEIR TECHNICAL ACCURACY AND ADEQUACY).

B-203357.2, MAR 25, 1983

DIGEST: 1. IN SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL TO THE GOVERNMENT, IT IS THE OFFEROR'S RESPONSIBILITY TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PROPOSAL IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS. 2. OFFEROR OF UNACCEPTABLE PROPOSAL IS NOT PROPER PARTY TO QUESTION REDUCTION IN ORDERS TO BE PLACED UNDER CONTRACT.

DATA COMMUNICATIONS, INC.:

DATA COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (DCI), PROTESTS THE REJECTION OF ITS PROPOSAL AS TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE UNDER UNITED STATES ARMY COMMUNICATIONS- ELECTRONICS MATERIEL READINESS COMMAND (CECOM) LETTER REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS (LRFTP) NO. DAAB07-81-R-0890, THE FIRST STEP OF A TWO- STEP FORMALLY ADVERTISED INDEFINITE QUANTITY FIXED-PRICE CONTRACT, FOR 43 DIFFERENT TYPES OF MAINTENANCE SUPPORT DOCUMENTATION (SOFTWARE).

WE DENY THE PROTEST.

DCI'S FIRST-STEP PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED AS UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE THE EVALUATORS FOUND THE PROPOSAL WAS DEFICIENT AND INCOMPLETE IN ADDRESSING THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS. DCI DISAGREES WITH THE REJECTION. DCI RECOGNIZES THAT OUR OFFICE WILL NOT EVALUATE PROPOSALS. DCI ASKS ONLY THAT WE DETERMINE WHETHER THE INFORMATION THAT WAS NOT FURNISHED WAS REQUIRED BY THE LRFTP.

THE EVALUATORS FOUND DCI'S PROPOSAL DEFICIENT AND INCOMPLETE IN A NUMBER OF RESPECTS. ONE OF THE DEFICIENCIES THE EVALUATORS FOUND WAS THAT DCI FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR VALIDATION (PERFORMANCE OF OPERATING AND MAINTENANCE PROCEDURES TO CONFIRM THEIR TECHNICAL ACCURACY AND ADEQUACY). THIS FINDING WAS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT SPECIFICATIONS REQUIRE THAT THE CONTRACTOR WILL VALIDATE BUT THAT THE PROPOSAL INDICATED IN PART THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL PERFORM VALIDATION. DCI CONTENDS THAT IT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN RULED DEFICIENT ON VALIDATION SINCE THE GOVERNMENT SPECIFICATIONS INDICATE IT IS THE CONTRACTOR'S RESPONSIBILITY.

HOWEVER, IN SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL TO THE GOVERNMENT, IT IS THE OFFEROR'S RESPONSIBILITY TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PROPOSAL IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENTS. IN THIS REGARD, THE PROVISION IN THE LRFTP ON EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS ADVISED OFFERORS THAT "THE GOVERNMENT EVALUATION WILL BE LIMITED TO THE INFORMATION PROVIDED AND NOTHING WILL BE ASSUMED." FURTHER, THE EVALUATION PROVISION INDICATED THAT PROPOSALS WOULD BE EVALUATED FROM THE STANDPOINT OF "UNDERSTANDING. EXTENT TO WHICH THE PROPOSAL DEMONSTRATES A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF ALL TECHNICAL FACTORS INVOLVED IN PERFORMANCE." FINALLY, THE EVALUATION PROVISION IN THE SECTION ON "COMPLETENESS" STATED THAT EACH PROPOSAL WOULD BE RATED "STRICTLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS WRITTEN CONTENT" AND THAT AREAS NOT SPECIFIED IN THE WRITTEN PROPOSAL WOULD NOT BE ASSUMED. THEREFORE, NOTWITHSTANDING THE GOVERNMENT SPECIFICATIONS REQUIRED THE CONTRACTOR TO PERFORM VALIDATION, DCI WAS REQUIRED TO MAKE IT CLEAR IN ITS PROPOSAL THAT IT WOULD PERFORM IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENT. DCI COULD HAVE ACHIEVED THIS CLARITY BY INDICATING THAT DCI WOULD PERFORM ALL VALIDATION AND BY AVOIDING ANY SUGGESTION THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD PERFORM VALIDATION.

ANOTHER DEFICIENCY THE EVALUATORS FOUND WAS THAT DCI FAILED TO DEMONSTRATE AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT WAS REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH FURNISHING A REPAIR PARTS AND SPECIAL TOOLS LIST (RPSTL) PAGE. THIS FINDING WAS BASED ON THE FACT THAT DCI FAILED TO INCLUDE ILLUSTRATING IN THE ESTIMATE OF HOURS FOR THIS ITEM. DCI CONTENDS THAT ILLUSTRATING WAS NOT REQUIRED FOR THIS ITEM SINCE ONE PLACE IN THE LRFTP SPEAKS OF THE RPSTL PAGE AS BEING 40 LINES.

HOWEVER, THE LRFTP STATEMENT OF WORK DEFINES RPSTL AS INCLUDING ILLUSTRATIONS. THUS, DCI WAS REQUIRED TO INCLUDE ILLUSTRATING AS PART OF THE WORK EFFORT FOR RPSTL.

THE FOREGOING ARE ILLUSTRATIVE OF SOME OF THE DEFICIENCIES CECOM FOUND IN THE DCI PROPOSAL. ON THE BASIS OF OUR COMPARISON OF THE ABOVE DEFICIENCIES AGAINST THE LRFTP, WE CONCLUDE THAT DCI FAILED, AT LEAST IN THESE RESPECTS, TO FURNISH INFORMATION THAT WAS REQUIRED BY THE LRFTP FOR A PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF ITS PROPOSAL.

DCI ALSO CONTENDS THAT THE EVALUATION WAS DEFECTIVE BECAUSE THE EVALUATORS DID NOT CONSIDER PAST PERFORMANCE AS REQUIRED BY THE LRFTP. THIS CONTENTION IS BASED ON STATEMENTS MADE BY CECOM DURING THE COURSE OF THE PROTEST THAT EXPERIENCE AND CAPABILITY ARE FOR CONSIDERATION IN MAKING AWARD FROM AMONG THE ACCEPTABLE OFFERORS IN THE SECOND STEP OF THIS TWO- STEP PROCUREMENT.

HOWEVER, THE CECOM STATEMENTS APPARENTLY ARE ADDRESSED TO EXPERIENCE AND CAPABILITY IN THE ORDINARY SENSE OF OFFEROR RESPONSIBILITY, SINCE THE LRFTP PROVIDED FOR THE EVALUATION OF PAST PERFORMANCE IN THE FIRST STEP AND THE RECORD INDICATES THAT DCI'S PAST PERFORMANCE WAS CONSIDERED IN EVALUATING ITS PROPOSAL IN THE MANNER PROVIDED IN THE LRFTP. MOREOVER, THE AREA OF MANAGEMENT/PAST PERFORMANCE IS IDENTIFIED IN THE EVALUATION FACTORS AS THE LEAST IMPORTANT FACTOR. THE FACT THAT AN OFFEROR MIGHT RATE HIGH ON THIS FACTOR WOULD NOT PROVIDE A BASIS FOR QUESTIONING AN AGENCY'S REFUSAL TO ACCEPT AN OTHERWISE UNACCEPTABLE PROPOSAL.

DCI HAS ALSO QUESTIONED THE ISSUANCE BY THE AGENCY OF $6 MILLION IN ORDERS UNDER ANOTHER CONTRACT WITH ONE OF THE OTHER OFFERORS. DCI CONTENDS THAT THE ORDERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLACED INSTEAD UNDER THE CONTRACT TO RESULT FROM THIS PROCUREMENT. HOWEVER, SINCE DCI'S PROPOSAL IS UNACCEPTABLE AND DCI THEREFORE DOES NOT STAND TO OBTAIN AN AWARD, IT IS NOT PREJUDICED BY ANY REDUCTION IN ORDERS AND IT IS NOT A PROPER PARTY TO QUESTION THE REDUCTION.