Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Proposal evaluation
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: GAO’s protest jurisdiction is limited to a review of the written record for reasonableness and GAO will not, in post-award protest, re-evaluate existing proposals.
The Department of the Army issued a request for quotations (RFQ) for copier machines for Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. The solicitation contemplated the award of a fixed-price contract, using the commercial item acquisition procedures of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 12, along with the two-step sealed bid procedures of FAR Part 14. Step one assessed the technical proposals for acceptability, and step two involved the submission of sealed priced bids by those offerors that had been deemed technically acceptable in step one. Additionally, each vendor had to hold a particular type of Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) and a current General Service Administration (GSA) schedule contract, and the copiers identified by each vendor had to be currently manufactured and actively marketed on their GSA schedule contract.
Following a technical review of the proposals, and a low-price determination, the Army selected Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA, Inc. for the award. Ricoh America’s Corporation protested this decision on three grounds.
First, Ricoh contended that Konica’s copiers were not on Konica’s GSA schedule contract or BPA at the time proposals were submitted. In reviewing the written record, GAO, however, found that Konica’s proposed products were in fact listed on Konica’s GSA schedule contract and BPA at the time of proposal submission. Next, Ricoh alleged that Konica’s copiers were technically unacceptable because they did not possess the ability to scan at a 256-bit encryption level. Again, GAO held that the written record indicated differently and that the 256-bit encryption was not a requirement of the solicitation. Rather, the solicitation required two-factor authentication, which Konica’s machines provided. Finally, Ricoh argued that the Army did not comply with the solicitation in determining technical acceptability. Once again, GAO reviewed the written record and arrived at a different conclusion, finding that the Army had evaluated technical proposals in accordance with the process it set forth in the RFQ and that it had reasonably determined that Konica met the requirements of the RFQ. Accordingly, because the written record reasonably supported the Army’s evaluation and award decision, GAO denied Ricoh’s protest.