Matter of: American Material Handling, Inc. File: B-250984 Date: February 25, 1993

B-250984: Feb 25, 1993

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PROCUREMENT Specifications Minimum needs standards Competitive restrictions Justification Sufficiency Protest challenging specifications for forklift trucks with both front and side loading capabilities as being unduly restrictive is denied where the agency demonstrates that its requirements are reasonably related to its minimum needs. American contends that the specifications are overly restrictive and improperly based on Drexel Industries Inc.'s model R60SL forklift. The RFP was issued on September 4. The forklifts will be used for transporting missile containers and ammunition pallets into and out of their storage bunkers. The specifications included in the RFP for the clean-burning diesel front/side loading forklift were developed as a result of a 1988 procurement in which Drexel successfully manufactured a prototype vehicle in accordance with the Army's specifications.

Matter of: American Material Handling, Inc. File: B-250984 Date: February 25, 1993

PROCUREMENT Specifications Minimum needs standards Competitive restrictions Justification Sufficiency Protest challenging specifications for forklift trucks with both front and side loading capabilities as being unduly restrictive is denied where the agency demonstrates that its requirements are reasonably related to its minimum needs.

Attorneys

DECISION American Material Handling, Inc. protests the terms of request for proposals (RFP) No. DAAE07-92-R-J081, issued by the United States Army Tank-Automotive Command for 6,000-pound clean-burning diesel front/side loading forklift trucks. American contends that the specifications are overly restrictive and improperly based on Drexel Industries Inc.'s model R60SL forklift.

We deny the protest.

The RFP was issued on September 4, 1992, on an unrestricted basis for 76 forklifts. The forklifts will be used for transporting missile containers and ammunition pallets into and out of their storage bunkers. The specifications included in the RFP for the clean-burning diesel front/side loading forklift were developed as a result of a 1988 procurement in which Drexel successfully manufactured a prototype vehicle in accordance with the Army's specifications.

American contends that Drexel is the only manufacturer of a forklift with both front and side loading capabilities as described in the RFP, and that the forklift specifications used by the agency based on Drexel forklift model R60SL are unduly restrictive. American states that if it is permitted to inspect the magazines in which the forklifts will be used and is able to determine as a result that only a front/side loading forklift can meet the agency's needs, it will withdraw its objections to the procurement.

In preparing a solicitation for supplies or services, a contracting agency must specify its needs and solicit offers in a manner designed to achieve full and open competition. 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2305(a)(1)(B)(i) (1988). A solicitation may include restrictive provisions or conditions only to the extent necessary to satisfy its needs. 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2305(a)(1)(B)(ii). We review the record to determine whether the requirement has been justified as necessary to satisfy the agency's minimum needs. RUS Indus., B-247233; B-247234, May 1, 1992, 92-1 CPD Para. 412.

As explained by the agency, the Army's requirement for forklifts is somewhat unique because the missile containers that are being transported are quite large, the doors of the bunkers are quite small, and the space within the bunkers is extremely limited. The agency states that it requires a forklift capable of lifting and moving different sized containers and pallets in areas of limited vehicle maneuverability. The Army states that the use of a front/side loading forklift, with its ability to pivot a load from front to side and points in between, permits the Army to employ a single vehicle which has the capabilities of both a front loading and side loading forklift. The solicited forklift allows a single operator to perform all required tasks, with a minimum of interruption or delay, in an efficient and safe manner, without exposing the loads to damage.

The Army has decided that the best manner in which it can perform its mission to store missiles and ammunition in magazines is to use a front/side loading forklift truck. Instead of rebutting in detail the agency report, American merely responds that it would like to have the opportunity to see the munitions magazine to determine if the specifications actually meet the agency's minimum needs. Since the agency report provides a reasonable, welldocumented explanation for these specifications, and since American has not attempted to rebut the Army's explanation, there is no basis to conclude that these specifications are unduly restrictive. See W.B. Jolley, 68 Comp.Gen. 443 (1989), 89-1 CPD Para. 512.

Concerning American's request that, even if the specifications meet the agency's minimum needs, we investigate to determine whether those needs might be met less expensively by using different specifications, we do not conduct independent investigations as part of our bid protest function. Our decisions are based on our review of the written record which consists of the submissions of the parties to the protest. TSI Microelectronics Corp.--Recon., B-243889.2, Nov. 4, 1991, 91-2 CPD Para. 423.

The protest is denied.