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GAO Decision - Federal Express Corporation (B-401768.2, 1/26/2010)

 

Link to the case:  http://www.gao.gov/decisions/bidpro/4018762.htm

DIGEST (from GAO)

1. Where solicitation established multiple "tiers" with regard to potential shipping volume that could occur, and the record establishes that the agency considered the offerors' proposed prices under each tier, the agency properly focused its price evaluation on offerors' pricing applicable to the shipping volume the agency expected to experience.

2. Agency reasonably complied with solicitation provisions regarding quantification of protester's no-charge value-added services, where it viewed the awardee's proposed prices for the same or similar services as establishing the quantified value for such services and, with regard to a limited number of services that exceeded the solicitation requirements, and were proposed only by the protester, the agency effectively assigned a value of $0.

3. In making its best value determination, the contracting officer properly declined to apply a threshold of savings that a non-incumbent offeror was required to surpass in order to be selected for award.

4. Where offerors' proposals were rated equal with regard to non-price evaluation factors, protester's assertion that a proper evaluation would have decreased, but not eliminated, the awardee's price advantage fails to state a valid basis for protest.

DECISION (from GAO)

Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) protests the General Services Administration's (GSA) award of a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) to United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) pursuant to request for quotations (RFQ) No. QPN-BQV-005 to provide government-wide delivery services. FedEx protests various matters relating to the agency's evaluation of offerors' price proposals.[1]

We deny the protest.[2]

Commentary:  This case is a very interesting read.  We (GSA) apparently performed a very complicated evaluation with GAO agreeing our analysis was reasonable.  For Schedules ordering purposes (and general source selection for that matter), this paragraph is particularly interesting: 

An agency's evaluation of competing proposals and its judgments regarding their relative merits are matters within the discretion of the contracting agency, and our Office will not substitute our judgment for that of the agency. See, e.g., PDI Ground Support Sys., Inc., B-299007, B-299007.2, Jan. 18, 2007, 2007 CPD para. 64 at 4. This principle has specifically been applied to an agency's judgments regarding the value of proposed enhancements that go beyond a solicitation's requirements. See, e.g., The Moreland Corp., B-283685, Dec. 17, 1999, 2002 CPD para. 4 at 7.

So GAO is saying that not only will they not substitute their judgment for CO’s judgment but also they won’t try to second guess how much value we assign to “potential discriminators” where something above and beyond the stated requirements are quoted.  Therefore,  it seems GAO is once again stating their support for the broad discretion of a CO when that CO is making a trade off in a best value procurement.

Another interesting statement is found in footnote [1] of the decision.  GAO states that they are conforming to the term “proposal” while still recognizing that the procurement in question is an RFQ.  Historically, GAO has sometimes pounced on that kind of misuse of terminology to hold a Part 8 Schedule RFQ to the higher Part 15 standards.  In this case, they have left the matter relatively ambiguous.  A reversal in their thinking?  I don’t know but I am crossing my fingers!




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