Bid Rejection Protest

B-204998: Apr 6, 1982

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A firm protested the rejection of its proposal under a request for proposals (RFP) for toggle switches issued by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The procurement was conducted in accordance with uniform procedures relating to parts procurement for military equipment. The RFP restricted the procurement to two types of approved switches and advised that the switches would be evaluated for approval. The protester proposed to supply an unapproved switch, and DLA asked the protester to furnish detailed technical data to allow for evaluation of its switch. During this time, the contracting officer was notified that the stock position of the item had become extremely low and that even an immediate award would not alleviate this problem for several months. When the contracting officer inquired into the evaluation status of the protester's switch and learned that a decision on the switch's acceptability had been made, nor did a decision appear imminent, he concluded that an immediate award to another offeror was necessary. The protester argued that excessive time been taken to evaluate the switch, and that if a determination had been made earlier, a critical supply situation could have been avoided. The protester also asserted that DLA acted improperly by not attempting to expedite the evaluation earlier. GAO held that since the RFP specifically informed offerors that alternate items would require evaluation, the protester was clearly on notice that the required approval procedures might require more time than was available prior to a contract award. DLA informed GAO that such an evaluation is a time-consuming process, and the time it took to evaluate the protester's switch was not unusual. GAO found that, under the circumstances, an immediate award was indeed necessary, and there was nothing on the record to suggest a deliberate delay to avoid an award to the protester. GAO held that the DLA rejection of the protester's proposal was proper. Accordingly, the protest was denied.