Thursday, July 25, 2013

Proposal Adequacy - What Can Happen if You Don't Comply with Instructions

Last week we posted a four part series on the importance of ensuring that proposals comply with solicitation requirements, Table 15-2 of FAR 15.403, and other instructions. These are important issues and failure to comply can and probably will affect your chances of winning whatever contract you're bidding on. Lest you under-estimate the importance of complying, consider these recent appeal cases decided by the Comptroller General.

1. Compuline claimed that the Government did not reasonably evaluate its proposal. The Government argued that Compuline's proposal was appropriately rejected because it did not include some of the most basic information required by the RFP.

The Comptroller General (CG) evaluated the evidence and denied Compuline's appeal. The CG found that the Government appropriately rejected the proposal. Among other omissions, Compuline did not provide a required management or staffing plan, key personnel, past performance references, nor a cost proposal. In addition, the proposal did not follow the format required by the RFP.

2. Herman Construction submitted a proposal in PDF format when the solicitation very clearly required Excel format. Herman argued that PDF was an acceptable substitute for Excel. The CG did not sustain Herman's appeal because it deviated from clearly written solicitation instructions.

3. SMI challenged the Government's determination that its proposal was technically unacceptable. The CG looked at the evidence supporting the Government's action and sided with the Government. It found that SMI failed to provide a complete and realistic plan for satisfying performance objectives and that its proposal did not identify a plan and otherwise failed to address most of the requirements.

4. LC objected to the Government's evaluation of its proposal arguing that its proposal provided the Government with sufficient data and detail to demonstrate that it was technically capable of performing the contract. The CG looked at the evidence and found that LC had failed to demonstrate an acceptable technical approach in its proposal. LC insinuated that the Government was pretty dumb for not knowing the latest technology for producing the product. Had the Government understood, it would have properly evaluated the proposal (good way to win friends).

The CG sided with the Government stating, in effect, that LC's failure to comply with the requirements of the solicitation was reasonable grounds for rejecting the proposal.

These are just a few recent examples of cases where contractors failed to comply with the regulations and requirements and where their appeals were not sustained. It pays to follow instructions.

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