[Protests of Air Force Contract Award for Hard Disk Subsystems]

B-258554.4,B-258554.5,B-258554.6: Jun 6, 1995

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Two firms protested an Air Force contract award for hard disk subsystems and associated technical manuals, contending that the Air Force: (1) improperly made award to the awardee based on its accelerated delivery schedule; (2) unreasonably evaluated the first protester's technical proposal; (3) used unstated evaluation criteria in its evaluation of the awardee's bid; (4) made an unreasonable cost-technical tradeoff decision based on erroneous information and failed to justify the awardee's price premium; (5) failed to hold meaningful discussions; and (6) should have used sealed bidding procedures. GAO held that the Air Force: (1) reasonably determined that the first protester's accelerated delivery schedule was unrealistic and that its bid contained a number of other weaknesses; (2) properly considered the awardee's relationships with its vendors, since bidders were required to describe their purchasing systems and how they would minimize lead times; (3) reasonably determined that the awardee's significantly superior and less risky technical proposal justified its higher price; and (4) properly conducted meaningful discussions with the second protester. GAO also held that the: (1) first protester untimely filed its protest of the Air Force's alleged failure to hold meaningful discussions with it more than 10 days after it knew the basis of protest; and (2) second protester untimely filed its protest of the sealed bidding procedures after bid opening. Accordingly, the protests were denied.

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