Planning Systems, Inc.

B-292312: Jul 29, 2003

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Planning Systems, Inc. (PSI) protests the Department of the Navy's award of a contract to International Business Machines Business Consulting Services (IBM) pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. N00140-03-R-L803 to perform various information technology support services at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. PSI protests that the agency improperly rated IBM's proposal as technically superior to PSI's proposal, and that the agency failed to perform a proper cost realism analysis.

We deny the protest.

B-292312, Planning Systems, Inc., July 29, 2003




DOCUMENT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
The decision issued on the date below was subject to a GAO Protective Order. This redacted version has been approved for public release.
Decision

Matter of:

File:

Date:












DECISION

Planning Systems, Inc. (PSI) protests the Department of the Navy's award of a contract to International Business Machines Business Consulting Services (IBM) pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. N00140-03-R-L803 to perform various information technology support services at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. PSI protests that the agency improperly rated IBM's proposal as technically superior to PSI's proposal, and that the agency failed to perform a proper cost realism analysis.

We deny the protest.

BACKGROUND

The RFP was published on November 22, 2002, seeking proposals to provide system maintenance and resources to design, develop and implement improvements to an enterprise information system at the U.S. Navy Submarine Maintenance Engineering Planning and Procurement Activity, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.[1] Agency Report, Tab 1, RFP, at 14. The RFP contemplated award of a cost plus fixed fee contract for a 1-year base period and four 1-year option periods, required offerors to submit separate technical and cost/price proposals, and established the following technical evaluation factors, listed in descending order of importance: technical approach, personnel resources, management plan approach, corporate experience, past performance,[2] and participation of small businesses and small disadvantaged business entities.[3] Offerors were advised that the combined technical evaluation factors were more important than cost/price. Agency Report, Tab 1, RFP, at 59. With regard to cost/price proposals, offerors were required to propose, for each contract period, a –complete and detailed price/cost breakdown,— including –labor rates and hours, burden rates, material lists and costs, travel charges, and 'other direct costs.'— Agency Report, Tab 1, RFP at 58.

Four proposals, including those of PSI and IBM, were submitted by the January 31, 2003 closing date. The agency evaluated each proposal and established a competitive range consisting of three proposals, including those of PSI and IBM; thereafter, discussions were conducted with the competitive range offerors and those offerors were invited to submit final revised proposals (FRP).

Each competitive range offeror timely submitted its FPR, and these submissions were subsequently evaluated. [4] The final technical evaluation results with regard to PSI's and IBM's proposals were as follows: [5]



IBM

PSI

Technical
Approach


[deleted]


[deleted]

Personnel
Resources


[deleted


[deleted]

Management
Plan Approach


[deleted]


[deleted]

Corporate
Experience


[deleted]


[deleted]

Past
Performance


[deleted]


[deleted]

Small/Disadvantaged
Business Participation


[deleted]


[deleted]

Overall
Rating


[deleted]


[deleted]




[6]

[7]

Id.





[8]









[9] Id.

Abt Assocs., Inc. Ogden Support Servs., Inc.



Datum Timing, Div. of Datum Inc.








[1] The services to be provided include relational database administration support, object oriented analysis and design, maintenance of an information system architecture and network, programming, business analysis and system analysis, design, information assurance, communications, programming and development services. Agency Report, Tab 1, RFP, at 14. The project will result in, among other things, –a single Business process for assigning maintenance and execution information to [a] ship's configuration data supported by a single information system,— and –[a] single database/data warehouse for material, job completion, and cost feedback information.— Agency Report, Tab 1, RFP, at 15.
[2] Corporate experience and past performance were of equal importance. Agency Report, Tab 1, RFP, at 59.
[3] Specifically, the RFP provided for consideration of the extent to which a proposal contemplated participation of small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, historically black colleges/universities and minority institutions. Agency Report, Tab 1, RFP, at 59.
[4] The proposal of the third competitive range offeror is not relevant to any of the protest issues and, accordingly, is not further discussed.
[5] In evaluating technical proposals, the agency used an adjectival rating system using the terms –highly acceptable,— –acceptable,— –unacceptable [but capable of being made acceptable],— and –unacceptable [not capable of being made acceptable without extensive changes].— Agency Report, Contracting Officer's Statement, at 10. Only the –highly acceptable— and –acceptable— ratings were used with regard to IBM's and PSI's FPRs. –Highly acceptable— was defined, in part, as –meets and exceeds the desired performance and the excess is beneficial to the Navy.— Id. –Acceptable— was defined, in part, as –meets all of the requirements specified in the RFP.— Id.
[6] The agency explains that RAD/JAD techniques reflect a proven methodology that accelerates application development and reduces risk by compressing the analysis, design, build and test phases into a series of short, iterative development cycles. Agency Report, Tab 34, at 2.
[7] The specified labor categories were: project manager; senior database administrator/database specialist; senior systems architect/programmer analyst III; senior programmer analyst/database programmer II; and network specialist. Agency Report, Tab 1, RFP at 56.
[8] In connection with PSI's initial proposal, [deleted] had submitted a [deleted] asking that [deleted]. Agency Report, Tab 24, at 10.
[9] PSI's entire comments on the agency report consist of a four-page submission, much of which repeats background information and assertions that PSI presented in its protest.

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