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In a best value procurement, being roughly as good as the competition and offering a slightly lower price doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win the contract. Such was the case for DynCorp, which offered a lower price and a comparable CPARS score to the incumbent, L-3 Communications. When DynCorp lost the re-competition for Air Force logistics support, they protested at GAO. But savviness on the part of the agency saved the award. To read the full article, visit Petrillo & Powell's Patterns of Procurement.
Nash & Cibinic in February talked about combining source selection procedures. In the recent case linked here, K-MAR B-411262, the Air Force's approach to best value is interesting. One the one hand the AF told offerors that past performance, evaluated qualitatively not pass/fail, is significantly more important than price. On the other other hand the AF essentially stated it would rank-order proposals by price and then evaluate past performance of only the lowest priced proposal and if that offeror was rated substantial confidence for past performance then the evaluation process would stop. The Air Force did just that and K-MAR protested because its proposal and its past performance wasn't considered. Protest denied. In a footnote the GAO notes that K-MAR failed to protest the RFP's evaluation scheme prior to the deadline for proposals. What if K-MAR had timely protested the RFP's best value evaluation process, do you think the GAO would have sustained that protest? Is it wise to use this AF approach that past performance is more important than price but then not consider other offerors' past performance? http://www.gao.gov/products/B-411262,B-411262.2#_ftnref5
Bending the Cost Curve: "A targeted initiative that can be accomplished within current Air Force budget programs" and "different than past initiatives in that the Air Force is looking at very specific, albeit large, programs": http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123974. Excerpts: 1. The initiative aims to improve dialogue with industry, “so we can better understand how processes, procedures, and some of the choices we make can inadvertently contribute to rising costs, the stifling of innovation and slow processes." 2. "We think that by gathering data from a range of sources, it should be possible to identify instances where small changes in capability have large impact on cost." 3. “Under our new PlugFest Plus approach, we will put in place a mechanism whereby a vendor could walk away with a contract just a few weeks after an event." 4. “What we’re really after here is a data-driven approach to spending.”