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GSA eBuy RFQ -- Limited to SIN Vendirs?

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GSA eBuy RFQ -- Limited to SIN Vendors?

I posted a RFQ on GSA e-Buy recently, under SIN 899-1 (Environmental Services), released to all 667 SIN 899-1 schedule contractors (we don't have a preferred source and we're really interested in competition) -- a firm asked me if it could provide a quotation even though its schedule wasn't listed under SIN 899-1 -- I haven't faced this question before, and I can't find a good answer in FAR Subpart 8.4.

Is a RFQ citing SIN 899-1 open to all GSA schedule contractors? Or only those who are listed under SIN 899-1?

This is a requirement for services requiring a statement of work. We wondered among ourselves which SIN to use, and we picked 899-1 because it is the closest match, not for any desire to limit competition or exclude other GSA schedule contractors.

[Oh, my -- I misspelled vendor in the thread title, and I don't know how to correct it!]

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See 8.405-2 ©(4). The ordering activity shall provide the RFQ ....,,,,,to any schedule contractor who requests a copy of it.

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If your RFQ cited a specific SIN, you might have a problem. Is there any reason to restrict it that way? If not, you probably should remove that restriction from the RFQ.

Not only can you normally consider offers from any SIN (if you solicited from just one particular one) but you can consider offers from any Schedule unless you have reasons to strict it that way.

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I agree you have to provide to any Schedule contractor who requests it, but there are other circumstances that may factor in, and without the information I am not sure of how to reply.

For example, did the solicitation state that any offerors must hold 899-1?

Did the solicitation state that all responses must be through the eBuy system? If so, then any contractor that does not have that SIN would not be able to comply as only companies with that SIN awarded will have access to that RFQ in the eBuy system.

Would a company that does not possess that SIN be able to meet the requirements via their Schedule contract? Under the Schedules program, a company can only sell via the Schedule those products/services at the prices/rates approved by the GSA CO. I ask this because if the company does not have 899-1 and you have deemed that Schedule to be the one that the scope of your SOW/PWS falls within, can they fulfill the requirement under whatever Schedule contract they have?

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So, I think the answers are within 8.4, and one of the key items is at what threshold your action is estimated. I have inserted the excerps below, but if your value falls under (3) I don't think you have too provide a copy to someone outside your advertised SIN, but keep in mind that Protest appear on the rise with Schedule Vendors and giving someone a copy may be your best route, just another potential vendor to evaluate if they respond.

8.405-2© has four options to follow:

(1) Orders at, or below, the micro-purchase threshold.

(2) For orders exceeding the micro-purchase threshold,but not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold.

(3) For proposed orders exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold.

(4) The ordering activity shall provide the RFQ (including the statement of work and the evaluation criteria) to any schedule contractor who requests a copy of it

8.405-2© Request for Quotation procedures. The ordering activity must provide the Request for Quotation (RFQ), which includes the statement of work and evaluation criteria (e.g., experience and past performance), to schedule contractors that offer services that will meet the agency’s needs. The RFQ may be posted to GSA’s electronic RFQ system, e-Buy (see 8.402(d)).

8.405-2©(3) For proposed orders exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold. In addition to meeting the requirements of 8.405-2©(2)(i) and (iii), the following procedures apply:

(i) Each order shall be placed on a competitive basis in accordance with ©(3)(ii) and (iii) of this section, unless this requirement is waived on the basis of a justification that is prepared and approved in accordance with 8.405-6.

(ii) The ordering activity contracting officer shall provide an RFQ that includes a statement of work and the evaluation criteria.

(iii) The ordering activity contracting officer shall—

(A) Post the RFQ on e-Buy to afford all schedule contractors offering the required services under the appropriate multiple-award schedule(s) an opportunity to submit a quote; or

(B) Provide the RFQ to as many schedule contractors as practicable, consistent with market research appropriate to the circumstances, to reasonably ensure that quotes will be received from at least three contractors that can fulfill the requirements. When fewer than three quotes are received from schedule contractors that can fulfill the requirements, the contracting officer shall prepare a written determination to explain that no additional contractors capable of fulfilling the requirements could be identified despite reasonable efforts to do so. The determination must clearly explain efforts made to obtain quotes from at least three schedule contractors.

© Ensure all quotes received are fairly considered and award is made in accordance with the evaluation criteria in the RFQ.

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How does your post deal with 8.404(f)?

(f) If the ordering activity issues an RFQ, the ordering activity shall provide the RFQ to any schedule contractor that requests a copy of it.

Desparado, did you read the Decision that Carl referred to above? Do you interpret that to mean that the agency must provide the RFQ to ANY contractor on ANY GSA Schedule?

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In my original post, I outlined the 8.405-2 which is the guide for RFQs requiring an SOW, which is what FAR stipulates as the specific requirement. 8.404(f) is under general requirements of processing actions against a schedule, and I would assume with my experience is not the governing factor once you choose to issue under 8.405-2.

GSA as an entity owns the process for soliciting vendors that are on GSA Schedule contract, each contractor on Schedule is not only assigned a Schedule number but has specific SIN #'s as well, which by contract limit them to what they have provided pricing for. GSA has created "e-buy" for the purpose of streamlining an acquisition professionals time to initiate a requirement from market reasearch through award, by allowing the acquisition professional to choose the schedule and SIN that "best fits the needs of the agency" for the services to be provided. If the vendor does not have that SIN they can not participate. As long as three or more vendors are contacted, competition has been met per FAR.

In my opinion, if using the system as stipulated by GSA for solicitation through award, there is no requirement, nor avenue to send to a vendor who is not authorized on the schedule chosen, and thus that vendor has no "right" to propose as they are not on contract for the specific services.

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Joel -

Yes, I read the decision and a key point was that the RFQ stated that. "The current RFQ limits competition to vendors who hold contracts under

Schedule 84, “Total Solutions for Law Enforcement, Security, Facilities Management, Fire, Rescue, Clothing, Marine Craft and Emergency/Disaster Response,” SIN 246-52 for “Professional Security/Facility Management Services - Including Security Consulting, Training and Facility Management Consulting.”

It was not stated in the question whether JI's RFQ had a limiting statement in their RFQ. I would agree that if JI's RFQ had language limiting who may submit a response, then it stands to reason that any response received from a contractor without that Schedule/SIN would not be accepted. Without such limiting language, I do not believe that specific GAO case would apply for the question cited here.

BZ -

I do not understand how do you interpret that 8.404 not to apply to acquisitions under 8.405-2? I would argue that since 8.404 is the general overall instructions that 8.404(f) does indeed apply. Since the FAR is silent on the eBuy topic but clearly states the language in 8.404(f), I stand by my original position that a copy of the RFQ must be provided. This does not state or imply that a quote received must be accepted and evaluated, merely that they are required to provide a copy of the RFQ.

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