B-224804, DEC 19, 1986, 86-2 CPD 689

B-224804: Dec 19, 1986

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IS CONSISTENT WITH THE BID AS SUBMITTED. THE IFB WAS DESIGNED TO PREVENT THE AWARD OF CONTRACTS IN EXCESS OF A CONTRACTOR'S PRODUCTION CAPACITY. THE HIGHEST EPMR WAS 4. BIDDERS WERE GIVEN THE OPTION OF FILLING IN AN MSP SCHEDULE PROVIDING THEIR RESPECTIVE MSP LIMITATIONS OR LEAVING THE SCHEDULE BLANK. IF A FIRM LEFT THE MSP SCHEDULE BLANK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN INDICATING AN MSP OF 5. WE NOTE THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S COLLECTIVE EPMR FOR THE SAME 24 ITEMS IS 26. IF THE GOVERNMENT ORDERED THE MAXIMUM MONTHLY AMOUNT OF ALL 24 ITEMS TOOLMATE WOULD HAVE TO PRODUCE 26. TOOLMATE PROTESTS THAT THE ONLY REASONABLE INTERPRETATION OF ITS BID IS THAT TOOLMATE'S MSP WAS 10. THE FIRM ARGUES THAT GSA'S INTERPRETATION IS UNREASONABLE FOR TWO REASONS: (1) IT NOT RATIONAL TO ASSUME THAT A MANUFACTURER WOULD INDIFFERENTLY BUNDLE 24 SIGNIFICANTLY DISSIMILAR ITEMS (I.E.

B-224804, DEC 19, 1986, 86-2 CPD 689

PROCUREMENT - SEALED BIDDING - BIDS - INTERPRETATION - LINE ITEMS - PRODUCTION CAPABILITIES DIGEST: CONTRACTING AGENCY PROPERLY INTERPRETED BIDDER'S INDICATION OF A 10,000 UNIT MONTHLY SUPPLY POTENTIAL FOR THE 24 BID ITEMS NOTED ON A LIST ATTACHED TO THE BID TO MEAN A 10,000 UNIT POTENTIAL FOR ALL 24 ITEMS AND NOT, AS THE PROTESTER ARGUES IT MEANT, FOR EACH OF THE 24 ITEMS, SINCE THE AGENCY'S INTERPRETATION, NOT THE PROTESTER'S ARGUMENT, IS CONSISTENT WITH THE BID AS SUBMITTED.

TOOLMATE INC.:

TOOLMATE, INC., PROTESTS THE AWARD OF CERTAIN ITEMS TO OTHER BIDDERS UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. FCEN-ST-A6115-S-7-1-86, ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA) FOR RETAINING RING PLIERS. EACH OF THE IFB'S 35 LINE ITEMS CORRESPONDED TO A PARTICULAR KIND OF PLIER, AND THE IFB CONTEMPLATED THE ITEM-BY-ITEM AWARD OF FIRM, FIXED PRICE INDEFINITE QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS CONTRACTS. TOOLMATE, THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER ON 21 OF THE 24 LINE ITEMS, RECEIVED ONLY THREE AWARDS. TOOLMATE CONTENDS THAT GSA IMPROPERLY INTERPRETED ITS BID. WE DENY THE PROTEST.

THE IFB WAS DESIGNED TO PREVENT THE AWARD OF CONTRACTS IN EXCESS OF A CONTRACTOR'S PRODUCTION CAPACITY. THE IFB STATED AN ESTIMATED PEAK MONTHLY REQUIREMENT (EPMR) FOR EVERY PLIER; THE HIGHEST EPMR WAS 4,000 UNITS FOR LINE ITEM NO. 17. TO RECEIVE AN AWARD, A FIRM HAD TO BID THE LOWEST PRICE FOR THE ITEM AND FURNISH A STATEMENT OF MONTHLY SUPPLY POTENTIAL (MSP) EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN THE GOVERNMENT'S EPMR FOR THE APPLICABLE ITEM OR GROUP OF ITEMS. IN THIS RESPECT, THE IFB URGES BIDDERS TO BUNDLE AS MANY ITEMS OR GROUPS OF ITEMS AS POSSIBLE IN SETTING ITS MSP. BIDDERS WERE GIVEN THE OPTION OF FILLING IN AN MSP SCHEDULE PROVIDING THEIR RESPECTIVE MSP LIMITATIONS OR LEAVING THE SCHEDULE BLANK, IN WHICH CASE THE MSP WOULD BE 125 PERCENT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S EPMR FOR THE PARTICULAR ITEM OR GROUP OF ITEMS. FOR EXAMPLE, IF A FIRM LEFT THE MSP SCHEDULE BLANK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN INDICATING AN MSP OF 5,000 UNITS FOR LINE ITEM NO. 17.

TOOLMATE ELECTED TO FILL IN THE MSP SCHEDULE AS FOLLOWS, WITH THE BIDDER'S ENTRIES IN BRACKETS.

TABLE OMITTED

TOOLMATE'S ATTACHED LIST CONSISTED OF A SHEET OF PAPER ENTITLED "G.S.A. SNAP RING PLIERS QUOTE" WITH THE SUBHEADING "ITEM NUMBER," UNDER WHICH TOOLMATE LISTED 24 ITEM NUMBERS. WE NOTE THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S COLLECTIVE EPMR FOR THE SAME 24 ITEMS IS 26,358. IN OTHER WORDS, IF THE GOVERNMENT ORDERED THE MAXIMUM MONTHLY AMOUNT OF ALL 24 ITEMS TOOLMATE WOULD HAVE TO PRODUCE 26,358 UNITS PER MONTH.

GSA INTERPRETED TOOLMATE'S SUBMISSION AS A SINGLE OVERALL LIMITATION APPLICABLE TO ALL 24 ITEMS COLLECTIVELY, I.E., GSA UNDERSTOOD THAT TOOLMATE'S PLANT COULD ONLY PRODUCE A MAXIMUM OF 10,000 ITEMS PER MONTH. AS A RESULT, GSA AWARDED TOOLMATE A CONTRACT FOR ONLY THREE ITEMS BID, WHICH IN COMBINATION HAD AN AGGREGATE EPMR OF 10,000 UNITS.

TOOLMATE PROTESTS THAT THE ONLY REASONABLE INTERPRETATION OF ITS BID IS THAT TOOLMATE'S MSP WAS 10,000 UNITS FOR EACH OF THE 24 LISTED LINE ITEMS. THE FIRM ARGUES THAT GSA'S INTERPRETATION IS UNREASONABLE FOR TWO REASONS: (1) IT NOT RATIONAL TO ASSUME THAT A MANUFACTURER WOULD INDIFFERENTLY BUNDLE 24 SIGNIFICANTLY DISSIMILAR ITEMS (I.E., DIFFERENT SIZES AND TYPES OF PLIERS REQUIRING DIFFERENT TOOLING AND PRODUCTION AND BEARING DIFFERENT PRICES) TOGETHER IN A SINGLE STATEMENT OF ITS PLANT'S MONTHLY CAPACITY; AND (2) IT IS UNREASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT TOOLMATE DID NOT INTEND TO COMPETE FOR ALL 24 LINE ITEMS.

WE FIND NO LEGAL MERIT IN TOOLMATE'S POSITION. AS TO ITS FIRST POINT, THE IFB EXPRESSLY ENCOURAGED BIDDERS TO BUNDLE INDIVIDUAL MSP FIGURES INTO COLLECTIVE FIGURES. THE IFB STATED:

"SUCH GROUPING WILL MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE THE FULLEST USE OF THE PRODUCTION CAPACITY OF EACH SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR. FOR EXAMPLE, IF AN OFFEROR'S PRODUCTION FACILITIES CAN PRODUCE ALL OF THE ITEMS OR GROUPS SOLICITED, THE OFFEROR MAY INSERT A SINGLE OVERALL LIMITATION ON THE QUANTITY THAT HE CAN SUPPLY. OFFERORS ARE CAUTIONED THAT IN ORDER TO QUALIFY FOR AN AWARD, THEIR MONTHLY SUPPLY POTENTIAL (MSP) MUST COVER THE GOVERNMENT'S ESTIMATED PEAK MONTHLY REQUIREMENT (EPMR) FOR EACH ITEM OR GROUP TO BE AWARDED."

THUS, THE INVITATION CONTEMPLATED A BIDDER BUNDLING DISSIMILAR ITEMS UNDER A SINGLE MSP.

CONCERNING TOOLMATE'S OTHER POINT, THERE SIMPLY IS NOTHING ON THE FACE OF THE BID TO INDICATE THAT TOOLMATE DID NOT INTEND TO LIMIT ITS TOTAL LIABILITY TO 10,000 UNITS PER MONTH. THE MSP SCHEDULE ASKED FOR A MONTHLY PLANT CAPACITY FIGURE, AND TOOLMATE PROVIDED A SINGLE UNAMBIGUOUS FIGURE APPLICABLE TO A GROUP OF 24 LINE ITEMS. IF TOOLMATE HAD NOT INTENDED TO BID A LIMITED PRODUCTION CAPACITY OF 10,000 UNITS AND INSTEAD DESIRED TO INDICATE ITS ABILITY TO MEET THE EPMR FOR ALL 24 LINE ITEMS, IT COULD HAVE LEFT THE MSP SCHEDULE BLANK. GIVEN THE STRUCTURE AND INSTRUCTIONS OF THE INVITATION, WE DO NOT THINK IT UNREASONABLE TO ASSUME TOOLMATE INTENDED TO BID ON ANY COMBINATION OF THE 24 LISTED ITEMS THAT HAD AN AGGREGATE MSP OF 10,000 UNITS OR LESS.

IN SUM, WE AGREE WITH GSA'S READING OF TOOLMATE'S BID. THE PROTEST IS DENIED.