Insect Shield Manufacturing, LLC
B-408067.3: Aug 8, 2013
- Full Report:
Insect Shield Manufacturing, LLC, of Greensboro, North Carolina, protests the award of a contract to Pine Belt Processing, Inc., of Stonewall, Mississippi, under request for proposals (RFP) No. CT2114-13, issued by the Department of Justice, Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR), for permethrin treatment for Army combat uniforms. Insect Shield challenges the agency's evaluation of proposals and the selection decision.
We deny the protest.
DOCUMENT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
The decision issued on the date below was subject to a GAO Protective Order. This redacted version has been approved for public release.
Matter of: Insect Shield Manufacturing, LLC
Date: August 8, 2013
Protest that an agency improperly evaluated offerors proposals under the past performance factor is denied where the agency reasonably considered the relevance of the offerors respective past performance.
Insect Shield Manufacturing, LLC, of Greensboro, North Carolina, protests the award of a contract to Pine Belt Processing, Inc., of Stonewall, Mississippi, under request for proposals (RFP) No. CT2114-13, issued by the Department of Justice, Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR), for permethrin treatment for Army combat uniforms. Insect Shield challenges the agencys evaluation of proposals and the selection decision.
We deny the protest.
The RFP, issued as a small business set-aside under the streamlined commercial acquisition procedures of Federal Acquisition Regulation Subpart 12.6, provided for the award of one or more fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts for permethrin treatment for Army combat coats and trousers for a 3-year period. Firms were informed that award would be made on a best value basis, considering technical acceptability, past performance, and price. With respect to the past performance factor, offerors proposals were to include Business Management Questionnaires, or references, with information regarding recent and relevant contracts for the same or similar items. RFP at 14-15. Offerors were directed to the agencys website to download the reference forms, on which they would provide information such as dates of award and completion; contract dollar value; percentage of work completed by the offeror; and description of services provided and relevancy of the work. Id. at 15.
Insect Shield and Pine Belt submitted the only two proposals, which were both found acceptable under the technical evaluation factor. With regard to the evaluation of past performance, the agency reviewed four vendor evaluation forms submitted by Insect Shields references, and four evaluation forms (or comments by telephone) submitted by Pine Belts references. Agency Report (AR), Tabs 6, 10, Evaluation Forms. The agency also reviewed one report in the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) for Insect Shield, and one report in PPIRS for Pine Belt. AR, Tab 6, at 10-12; AR, Tab 10, at 5-7. The offerors references and reports reflected the following:
AR, Tabs 6, 10, Evaluation Forms.
The contracting officer, acting as the source selection authority, compared the performance ratings as submitted by their references and, taking into account their evaluations on quality, delivery, and customer service, concluded that both offerors merited an overall excellent rating for past performance. AR, Tab 14, Source Selection Decision, at 8. The contracting officer recognized, however, that there was a significant difference in the size of the contracts the two offerors had performed. Id. The contracting officer concluded that there was some risk in awarding such a large contract to Insect Shield when considering it has not had any contracts in the past close to the estimated size of this requirement, and had not acted as the prime contractor on a contract of comparable size. Id. at 9.
Pine Belts evaluated price ($10,876,200) was lower than Insect Shields evaluated price ($11,185,000). Id. The contracting officer selected Pine Belt for award, citing its excellent past performance rating, technical acceptability, lower price and lower risk to the government. Id.
This protest followed.
Insect Shield challenges the agencys past performance evaluation. The protester contends that UNICOR applied unstated evaluation criteria by improperly considering the size of the past performance contracts and considering whether Insect Shield had performed as a prime contractor, among other things.
Where, as here, a solicitation contemplates the evaluation of vendors past performance, the contracting agency has the discretion to determine the relevance and scope of the performance history to be considered, and our Office will not question the agencys judgment unless it is unreasonable or inconsistent with the terms of the solicitation or applicable procurement statutes and regulations. National Beef Packing Co., B-296534, Sept. 1, 2005, 2005 CPD ¶ 168 at 4; Sam Facility Mgmt., Inc., B-292237, July 22, 2003, 2003 CPD ¶ 147 at 3. A protesters disagreement with the agencys judgment, without more, does not establish that an evaluation was unreasonable. Sam Facility Mgmt., Inc., supra, at 3.
We do not agree that UNICOR applied unstated evaluation criteria when it considered the size of the protesters past performance contracts and whether the protester had performed as the prime contractor. An agency properly may take into account specific matters that are logically encompassed by, or related to, the stated evaluation criteria, even when they are not expressly identified as evaluation criteria. MINACT, Inc., B-400951, Mar. 27, 2009, 2009 CPD ¶ 76 at 3. Here, the RFP specifically stated that offerors were to submit relevant contracts for the agencys past performance evaluation, and requested information (on the business management questionnaires) about the dollar value of the contracts the offeror had listed as references, and the percentage of the work the offeror had performed. RFP at 14-15; AR, Tab 4, Protesters Proposal at 18. In this regard, we think that it is both illogical and unreasonable to presume that an agency will pay no attention to the size and similarity of past contracts in its evaluation, since such factors are germane to the relevance of the past performance information. J. A. Jones Grupo de Servicios, SA, B-283234, Oct. 25, 1999, 99-2 CPD ¶ 80 at 7. Given this, we find the agencys consideration of the dollar value of the contracts and the offerors role (as prime or subcontractor) in performing prior contracts consistent with the past performance evaluation.
Insect Shield nevertheless argues that the agencys past performance evaluation should have taken into account the value of the contracts on a per-year basis, and not merely focused on the total value of the contracts. In this regard, Insect Shield notes that Pine Belts largest contract (for $8.5 million) only amounted to a per-year value of $1.2 million, while one of Insect Shields contracts, which had a value of approximately $1 million, was performed in only 6 months.
While the protester clearly believes its proposed method of comparison to be superior, it has not shown the agencys approach was unreasonable. The protesters contention that the agency should have considered the value of the contracts on a per-year basis constitutes nothing more than disagreement with the agencys judgment. In this regard, we find reasonable the agencys assessment of some risk associated with an award to Insect Shield, based on the low value of Insect Shields contracts (none of which was more than $1.7 million), relative to value of the contract here (approximately $10 million).
Finally, we find no merit to the protesters argument that it was improper for the agency to consider whether Insect Shield had performed as a prime contractor with the government, or as a subcontractor. In this regard, the protester notes that the nature of the services being procured here (a finishing treatment to a garment) means that offerors will for the most part be subcontractors to private industry primes. Protesters Comments at 4. We do not disagree with this general observation, but we note that the record shows that both of these offerors actually have past performance as prime contractors. The question for our Office is whether the contracting officer acted unreasonably in comparing Insect Shields higher price with Pine Belts lower price, and concluding that--based on evaluated differences in their generally excellent past performance (i.e., that Pine Belt has more experience as a prime contractor than Insect Shield)--there is no reason to pay Insect Shields
higher price. While Insect Shield may disagree, its disagreement does not mean the agencys exercise of its judgment in this area was unreasonable.
The protest is denied.
 Permethrin treatment is an application of insect repellant to garments. Protest at 2.
 The RFP did not state the relative weight of the evaluation factors.
 The RFP, as amended, provided for evaluation under the technical factor to be based essentially on whether an offerors product had passed its first article testing. RFP, amend. 1, at 17-18.
 Although the protester complains that the agency did not make multiple awards, the RFP did not require the agency to do so. UNICOR decided not to make multiple awards due to a concern that multiple awardees, using differing methods of treating clothing with permethrin, might produce end garments in slightly different shades of color. AR, Tab 14, Source Selection Decision, at 10.