Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Technology Advancement Group, Inc.
Agency: United States Marine Corps
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protest of an agency’s evaluation of the awardee’s proposed fixed prices is denied where the evaluation was reasonable and in accord with the solicitation’s evaluation criteria.
- Protest that awardee’s price proposal was unbalanced is denied where the agency reasonably determined that the awardee’s pricing was not unbalanced and did not, in any event, pose unacceptable risk to the government.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Technology Advancement Group, Inc. (TAG) protested the award to Trimble Federal Navigations Solutions Group of a contract for 20 Global Positioning System-Survey (GPS-S) systems and associated support, such as logistics and maintenance, repair and/or replacement of the systems, and parts. Award was to be made on a lowest-price, technically-acceptable basis considering technical, management, past performance, and price evaluation factors. With regard to spare parts CLINs, offerors were to provide a list of recommended spare parts that might be ordered to cover the complete GPS-S system, with a separate price for each orderable item. Offerors were not required to break out the various elements that would go into their unit prices for CLINs 8-11 for contractor logistics support.
TAG argued that Trimble failed to provide for spare parts in its proposed prices for CLINs 8-11, and that this constituted a failure to conform with a material requirement of the solicitation. However, the GAO agreed with the agency that Trimble had affirmatively committed to providing spare parts under CLINs 8-11, as required by the RFP. The GAO also disagreed with TAG that the agency was required to perform a detailed cost analysis under the RFP, pointing out that the RFP only provided that the agency use one of several methods to determine whether prices were reasonable. Finally, the GAO rejected TAG’s argument that Trimble’s pricing was unbalanced, noting that the agency considered the higher pricing by Trimble for certain CLINs and determined that the higher pricing reflected its technical approach.
Agencies are required to conduct pricing or cost analyses in concordance with the terms of the solicitation. So long as the agency’s evaluation is reasonable and consistent with the solicitation, the GAO is unlikely to question its evaluation. Although offerors may be required to provide detailed price information with embedded formulas as necessary to support each of the CLINs in the solicitation, the agency may only analyze whether the overall pricing is reasonable. Disappointed offerors should always request a debriefing, and carefully consider whether the agency’s evaluation was in line with the terms of the solicitation, before deciding to protest an award.