Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: The Dixon Group, Inc.
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest challenging agency’s exclusion of protester’s quotation from further consideration for a procurement using the General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedule conducted under Federal Acquisition Regulation subpart 8.4 is denied, where the record shows that the evaluation of the protester’s quotation was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s evaluation terms, and where the agency reasonably determined that the protester did not have a realistic prospect of award given its significantly lower technical rating and significantly higher price.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
The Dixon Group, Inc. protested the exclusion of its quotation from further consideration under an RFQ for meeting and technical support services. The agency issued the RFQ to three vendors holding FSS contracts under schedule 541, advertising and marketing solutions. Award was to be made on a best-value basis with technical merit considered significantly more important than price. The agency received two offers, with Dixon quoting $14,292,024 and Palladian Partners, Inc. quoting $6,278,570; the agency’s independent government estimate (IGE) was $3,738,279. Given Palladian’s significant technical advantage and significantly lower price, the CO concluded that Dixon’s quotation did not have a reasonable chance of receiving award and eliminated it from the competitive range.
The GAO found the agency’s evaluation of Dixon’s staffing/management approach reasonable, noting that Dixon’s quotation failed to provide documentation evidencing direct previous experience in providing the services sought and also failed to document the feasibility of successful implementation of the solicitation as required by the RFQ. The GAO also found reasonable the agency’s evaluation of Dixon’s quotation for facilities and resources, noting that the quotation failed to describe the software tool proposed, how it works, and how it would satisfy the requirements of the RFQ. The GAO concluded that Dixon’s exclusion from the competitive range was not unreasonable, pointing out that Dixon’s price was three times the IGE and two times Palladian’s price; its technical score was 20 percent lower than Palladian’s.
Offerors bear the burden of submitting adequately written quotations that comply with all requirements in the RFQ. When preparing a quotation, a firm should make sure it provides detailed explanations for each of its proposals, adequately describing any software tools proposed and how those tools will satisfy the needs of the agency. Failure to provide sufficient detail may lead to the assessment of weaknesses or deficiencies to that firm’s quotation or the exclusion of the quotation from the competitive range.