B-298233.2,B-298233.3, Sep 13, 2006
Dellew Corporation protests the award of a contract to Defense Contract Services, Inc. (DCSI) under request for proposals (RFP) No. FA4417-06-R-0001, issued by the Department of the Air Force, 16th Contracting Squadron, for logistics readiness functions at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Dellew challenges the evaluation of past performance and the award to DCSI.
We deny the protest.
B-298233.2; B-298233.3, Dellew Corporation, September 13, 2006
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.
Dellew Corporation protests the award of a contract to Defense Contract Services, Inc. (DCSI) under request for proposals (RFP) No. FA4417-06-R-0001, issued by the Department of the Air Force, 16th Contracting Squadron, for logistics readiness functions at
The solicitation, issued as a small business set-aside on
Award was to be made based on initial proposals, without discussions, to the firm whose offer was evaluated as the best value to the government, considering technical factors--mission capability (with two subfactors--quality control plan and transition plan) and past performance--and price. RFP amend. 1, at 5. The mission capability and past performance factors, combined, were equal in importance to price.
Regarding past performance, the RFP instructed offerors to identify past or current contracts (including Federal, State, local government and commercial) for efforts similar in size, scope, type, and complexity to the requirements stated in this RFP. RFP amend. 1, at 4. Offerors were to provide references for all recent and relevant work (up to 10 projects) performed in the last 3 years. References were to rate the contractor's performance as exceptional, very good, satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory in response to seven performance questions, including, for example, how well the vendor met required delivery/performance times, the contractor's standard of workmanship, and its ability to identify and solve problems as they occurred.
The agency received 11 proposals, including Dellew's and DCSI's, by the
DCSI's proposal identified three contracts: one prime contract for warehouse services involving the receipt, storage, duplication, packaging, shipping, and inventory management of electronic education/recruitment materials at Maxwell Air Force Base, and two subcontracts, for (1) base supply services (including material management, systems and materials storage and distribution, missile maintenance material control, hazardous materials management, and fuels management) at Malmstrom Air Force Base, and (2) for the procedures and analysis portion of the Elmendorf Air Force Base supply contract. AR, Tab 7, DCSI Proposal, vol. 2, at 2-9. The agency received three performance surveys for DCSI, with exceptional ratings under all 21 performance questions. All three references selected 1 to indicate that they would definitely award a contract to DCSI today. AR, Tab 13, subtab C, at 1-8.
The agency's technical evaluation panel (TEP) evaluated the proposals, and award was made to DCSI (without discussions) on March 31. This award was challenged in a protest filed in our Office by another offeror. In response, the agency took corrective action, proposing to establish a new evaluation team and reevaluating the proposals; we therefore dismissed the protest as academic. (B-298233,
Dellew contends that the agency improperly employed an unstated evaluation criterion in its past performance evaluation, asserting that there was no requirement in the RFP that past performance include LRS-type contracts.
This argument is without merit. As noted above, the solicitation identified the work as LRS functions, listed five specific LRS functions and specific tasks under each LRS function, and requested that offerors submit relevant past performance information regarding efforts similar in size, scope, type and complexity to the requirements here. RFP, amend. 1, at 4. The solicitation thus clearly contemplated that, in evaluating proposals under past performance, the agency would consider whether an offeror had experience providing the five types of LRS services outlined in the solicitation.
Dellew argues that it should have received a significant confidence rating under the past performance factor; in light of its low price, this would have moved it into line for award. Specifically, Dellew notes that both firms performed base supply subcontracts and contracts to provide services that are part of base supply, and asserts that the reference ratings for its and DCSI's prior contracts are essentially equal. Dellew argues that its receipt of two very good reference ratings rather than uniformly excellent ratings is a slight difference that cannot justify rating Dellew below DCSI. Protester's Comments at 4.
In reviewing protests challenging an agency's evaluation of offers, we will not substitute our judgment for that of the agency regarding the merits of the offers; rather, we will examine the evaluation record to ensure that it was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation's evaluation criteria and applicable statutes and regulations. Coastal Drilling, Inc., B-285085.3,
The past performance evaluation was unobjectionable. Although the SSA commented on Dellew's relatively limited past performance, the record shows that the selection ultimately turned on Dellew's and DCSI's reference ratings. In this regard, while both firms received exemplary ratings, and Dellew emphasizes the similarity in the ratings, the fact is that the ratings were not the same--DCSI's ratings were uniformly excellent, while Dellew received two very good ratings in addition to its excellent ratings. As discussed above, one of Dellew's references also did not unequivocally state that he definitely would award a contract to Dellew again--instead of selecting 1 to indicate that he definitely would award a contract to Dellew today, he wrote in 1.5, indicating that he was less than certain that he would make a new award to Dellew. While these appear to be relatively minor distinctions, there is no basis to conclude that the agency was not permitted to give weight to them in its price/technical tradeoff. As noted above, Dellew's price advantage over DCSI was relatively minor--$24,736--and we think the agency reasonably could determine that DCSI's edge under the past performance factor was sufficient to offset Dellew's price advantage.
Dellew argues that the SSA misread the past performance evaluation results. Specifically, Dellew points to the TEP's summary of Dellew's past performance, which stated, 1 contract not LRS type award. AR, Tab 11, Dellew Past Performance Evaluations, subtab B, at 1. Dellew interprets this notation to mean that the TEP determined that three of its four listed contracts were LRS'related, and that only one was not. Protester's Comments at 2-3. Dellew then points to language in the SSA's Briefing to the Evaluation Team, which reads: Past performance shows 1 contract, however, it is not an LRS type contract. AR, Tab 9, Source Selection Authority Briefing, at 13. Dellew concludes that the SSA based her award decision on incorrect information.
While the language in the agency's various evaluation documents is confusing, the record shows that the SSA was fully aware that Dellew had performed more than one contract, and that she determined that three of Dellew's contracts did not involve the complexity, scope, or type of LRS work required under the RFP. Specifically, as noted above, the SSDD and Post-Award Debriefing set forth the SSA's determination that Dellew did not have much experience with LRS contracts, and had broad LRS experience under only one contract. Dellew does not actually claim that three of its listed contracts were LRS contracts; rather, it merely focuses on the apparent misstatement in the TEP's summary. This is not sufficient to establish that the evaluation was unreasonable given our finding that the SSA's ultimate conclusions in fact are supported by the record. To the extent Dellew believes the agency should have found that three of its contracts were LRS contracts covering the work under the RFP, it has neither identified which of its four contracts it believes are of this type, nor shown where in its proposal it described the work under those contracts as broad LRS work. This argument therefore provides no basis for questioning the evaluation.
Dellew argues that the evaluation documentation in the record is inadequate because the agency failed to provide individual evaluator score sheets. In response, the agency explains that, while the evaluators met, reviewed the offerors' past performance documents, and reached a consensus rating for each offeror, individual evaluation sheets were not required or completed. The lack of individual evaluator documents does not render an agency's evaluation unreasonable per se; rather, we will consider the record adequate if the consensus documents and source selection decision sufficiently document the agency's rationale for the evaluation. Joint Mgmt. and Tech. Servs., B-294229, B-294229.2,
The protest is denied.
Gary L. Kepplinger