Monday, February 4, 2013

The Importance of Drafting Well-Written Proposals

A recent bid protest decision by the Comptroller General illustrates the importance of ensuring your proposal narrative is complete and accurate and complies with solicitation requirements. Usually offerors get only one chance to make the BQ (best qualified) list and that is why first impressions are extremely important.

In the latest illustration of this fact, LC Engineers' (LC) bid for cable assemblies was thrown out of competition because it was rated technically unacceptable. LC protested the Navy's action stating, among other things, that the Navy didn't understand or make an effort to understand its proposal. The Comptroller General disagreed and did not sustain the protest.

With respect to the technical approach, the solicitation instructed offers to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the SOW (Statement of Work) and applicable drawings and to describe their methodology, techniques and process for manufacturing the cable assemblies. Offerors were informed that the agency would evaluate the extent to which the offeror's proposal demonstrated the firm's understanding of, approach to, and ability to meet the solicitation requirements.

The Navy gave LC's submission an unacceptable technical rating based on its judgment that the proposal contained two deficiencies and a number of weaknesses. Specifically, the Navy found that LC failed to demonstrate an understanding of and adequate approach to performing the requirements. LC's proposal contained errors and missing performance steps and testing requirements. Additionally, LC did not appear to have sufficient personnel to perform the contract and that insufficient hours were included in some requirements.

LC protested, maintaining that its proposal provided the Navy with sufficient data and detail to demonstrate that it was technically capable of performing the contract. The Comptroller General, in such protests, does not re-evaluate proposals. It limits itself to examining the record to determine whether the Navy's judgment was reasonable and in accord with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement laws and regulations.

Here, the Comptroller General found that the record showed that the Navy reasonably evaluated LC's proposal as unacceptable. LC failed to demonstrate an acceptable technical approach in its proposal. It failed to adequately describe its manufacturing process and the narrative contained errors and missing performance steps. The Comptroller General agreed with the Navy that LC failed to demonstrate the viability and effectiveness of their techniques.

You can read the entire decision here.

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