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thecontractingguy

Evaluating for GSA BPAs and Orders

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FAR Part 8 is pretty vague on best value evaluations and awards. Does best value evaluations on FAR Part 8 ordering require the CO to list the order of importance for the evaluation factors in solicitations? If so then tradeoffs can come into play if you award not based on what your evaluations factors are setup as.

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What do "you" mean by best value? I assume you are using a different definition than best value at FAR 2.101.

If you are simply talking about evaluating price and other than price related factors remember FAR 8.404( a ) states that Part 15 doesn't apply so the requirement to state the relative importance is not necessarily required.

Truthfully, I think it depends on how you go about ordering. If you treat it like a formal Part 15 RFP you will be held to that a standard. I'm adding a reference to support my assertion - Labat-Anderson, Inc., B-287081; B-287081.2; B-287081.3, April 16, 2001.

For the most part ordering off of GSA is similar to ordering off an in-house IDIQ. Follow the rules of the contract, in this case FAR 8.4, and keep it simple and cost effective.

Take that vagueness as a call to be pragmatic pursuant to FAR 1.102-4( e ).

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My question is how can you not list what is significantly more important factors in your riddle? Just saying that an award will be made for the offer representing the best value doesn't tell the vendor how they will be evaluated. How is that dealt with? Just saying best value means that I can determine what I want best value to mean when I evaluate offers.

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Just saying best value means that I can determine what I want best value to mean when I evaluate offers.

What would be wrong with that?

What you buy under GSA FSS contracts are supposed to be commercial items and services. That being the case, the expectation is that contractors will offer what they have to sell. You decide what's most important to you after you've seen what's available and understand the differences among the various products and services being offered. Just like you do when you buy a car. You might start out thinking that one thing is most important, only to discover that offers don't differ much on that basis and that something else is really more important.

In any case, while you don't have to disclose relative importance, that doesn't mean that you can't. If you think it would be useful, then do it.

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contractingguy:

My post to your initial question wasn't intended to be a riddle, but thanks for the banal remarks.

To answer your follow-up question on how it can be done see FAR 13.106-1( a )(2), which reads in part: Solicitations are not required to state the relative importance assigned to each evaluation factor and subfactor, nor are they required to include subfactors.

Are you representing the Government or a contractor?

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If you want to, you may choose to turn your FAR Subpart 8.4 acquisition into a FAR Subpart 15.3 acquisition. You may make it as complicated as you want to, and you can show the relative order of importance of all your evaluation factors and subfactors.

Or, you can keep it simple, and do it as FAR Subpart 8.4 contemplates, by simply sharing the factors that you plan on evaluating (see FAR 8.405-2( c )), and then selecting the best value quotation for award (see FAR 8.405-2( d ).

It seems to me that if you're doing a FAR Subpart 8.4 acquisition, you ought to follow FAR Subpart 8.4 procedures.

The requirement to list factors in relative order of importance comes from FAR 15.304( d ). However, FAR 8.404( a ) says FAR Part 15 does not apply to orders under schedules.

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Just because you identify what is important and their relative importance so that proposers can better understand your needs and desires doesn't turn a Part 8 procurement into a Part 15 effort. If the nature of the procurement is such that vendors sell various versions of products or services and/or can provide optional features, they would like to know what the customer wants.

If I were the customer, I wouldn't want 30 or 40 vendors providing me a price list to have to calculate each price with the features I select nor would I want them guessing what I want.

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Joel,

A contracting officer can avoid your problem without listing the relative order or importance of evaluation factors.

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How do you handle "discussing" flaws in the proposal when soliciting on GSA without turning it into a FAR Part 15 negotiated procurement? Is it ok to evaluate quotes by documenting strengths, weaknesses and deficiencies? If not, how do you evaluate the quotes?

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Consider Intelligent Decisions Inc., B-274626, Dec. 23, 1996:

Since we have concluded that this acquisition was an FSS buy, IDI's allegations that the agency held improper discussions with WIN and impermissibly allowed WIN to "revise its price and technical solution" are without merit.

Quotations in response to an RFQ that reflect FSS contract prices are not offers that can be accepted by the government. Rather, they are informational responses that indicate the products on the FSS that vendors would propose to meet the agency's requirements and the prices of those products and related services that the government may use as the basis for issuing a delivery order to an FSS contractor. Crown Furniture Mfg. Inc., B-225575, May 1, 1987, 87-1 CPD ¶ 456. Thus, vendors responding to an agency's request for quotations for products on an FSS do not submit offers that define exactly what the vendor would supply at what price; that already is defined by their FSS contracts. Since such requests are merely intended to identify suitable products available on the FSS, the agency can seek additional information from vendors after the submission of quotations. Monroe Sys. for Business, Inc., B-271136, May 17, 1996, 96-1 CPD ¶ 242; Hugo Heyn Co., B-255329, Feb. 15, 1994, 94-1 CPD ¶ 113. Therefore, to the extent the agency needed clarification of whether WIN's quotation included, for example, the cost to provide the Windows 3.1 license, the agency properly could contact WIN and obtain the information it required. We think DOJ's requests for additional information were proper in the context of an FSS buy and we have no basis to object to the agency's actions.

Also consider ViON Corporation, B-283804.2, Jan. 24, 2000:

ViON argues that it improperly was treated in a disparate manner during the course of the procurement; while PTO engaged in what ViON describes as extended discussions with EMC, it afforded ViON only a single opportunity to respond to PTO’s requirements. ViON concludes that the agency failed to conduct a “fair and equitable” competition. Protester’s Comments, Nov. 22, 1999, at 16, 24.

This argument is without merit. Agencies properly may place an order under the FSS without meeting any of the usual statutory and regulatory requirements associated with conducting a competitive procurement, because the award of an FSS delivery order, by statutory definition, satisfies the requirements for full and open competition. 41 U.S.C. § 259 ( b )( 3 ). When awarding an FSS delivery order, agencies instead are governed by FAR subpart 8.4, which sets forth the requirements for issuing an FSS delivery order. Interpreting these procedures, we have noted that where an agency is making a purchase from the FSS, it is not required, for example, to engage in “equal discussions” with FSS vendors; rather, it may solicit information from only one vendor--without affording another FSS vendor a similar opportunity-- to clarify the terms of that vendor’s FSS contract. Intelligent Decisions, Inc., B-274626, B-274626.2, Dec. 23, 1996, 97-1 CPD ¶ 19 at 7.

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