I’ve spent a good deal of time on this blog discussing practical strategies for Best Value procurements. As the name implies, the goal of every Best Value proposal should be to maximize the benefit your business can provide to the agency. While price is always a consideration, Best Value RFPs present an opportunity to flex and show how you can do it better than anyone else (whatever it is).
Today, we take a look at an instructive example of a Best Value protest and examine GAO’s reasoning for upholding the agency’s award decision.
The procurement concerns a U.S. Army contract for test equipment used on missiles, aircraft, and military ground vehicles. The RFP required offerors to submit a sample device and accessories. The Army then evaluated the device and assigned a technical score based on its analysis.
Following the evaluation, the Army found that three offerors’ technical scores exceeded the baseline requirement – but only one offeror “significantly exceeded” the objective. The Army awarded the Contract to that offeror based on the conclusion that the exceptional equipment would prove more advantageous in terms of meeting the agency’s future demands — in other words, the equipment offered the agency the Best Value.
GAO found the Army’s evaluation reasonable and upheld the award decision. Although the agency accepted the highest-priced proposal, it sufficiently documented its rationale for doing so. Given the awardee’s technical superiority, the Army found the highest-priced proposal “worth the price premium.”
This protest is enlightening because it emphasizes the BEST in Best Value procurements. The Army received three offers that exceeded the RFP’s objective in terms of technical performance. If all offers were relatively equal in terms of technical merit, the agency would have been justified in falling back on price to break the tie.
The awardee did not let price hijack the procurement.
By offering equipment head-and-shoulders above the competition, it proved to the Army that its services are worth the premium price.
Nick Solosky is a Partner in Fox Rothschild’s Government Contracts & Construction Practice. You can reach Nick directly at NSolosky@FoxRothschild.com or 202-696-1460.