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Comparing prices during trade-offs when TEP is a bad idea)


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1) Agency is developing a solicitation (or 'fair opportunity') for a multiple-award IDIQ.  Commercial.  Well over $5.5 million.  Trade-offs evaluation of some type (God willing, it won't be FAR 15 in all but name).   FFP.  

2) The requirement is partially performance based, so offerors can propose alternative technical solutions - with very different pricing arrangements.  For example:

  • Offeror 1 proposes FFP $/Yr for unlimited use of Services A & B. 
  • Offeror 2 proposes $/Minute of Use for A,  $/User/Month for B, with tiered volume discounts.
  • Offeror 3 proposes to sub A&B to Offeror 1, but is somehow cheaper than Offeror 1.
  • Etc.

3) We know our specific requirements will change over time, and so there are lots (lots) of options.   The options have complicated interactions I don't understand.   Exercise Option #1 and you must also exercise Option #2, you can't exercise Options 3 or 4.  .  But you can exercise Option # 2 without #1.  Etc.

4) Yes, I would like to not do it like this, and have raised all the obvious objections, but its going to happen regardless.  My colleagues and I are well aware of what a mess this will be.

5) 'Total Evaluated Price' is a bad idea.

  • My agency almost always uses 'Total Evaluated Price' - just summing up the price of the order inclusive of all options - when conducting trade-offs.  Is A or B cheaper?  Just compare their TEPs.
  • In this case,  naively determining a 'Total Evaluated Price' inclusive of all options is incoherent.  
  • Comparing two incoherent TEP is even worse.

What to do?





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It sounds like you will not be able to split this into smaller, more manageable chunks.  Can you pick the most likely scenario, evaluate those options, and force the requiring activity to provide sole source justifications for deviations?  I assume they are foisting this on your office somehow, so you should inflict as much suffering upon them as you can.


Looking forward to hearing better responses that this, just getting the ball rolling.  Best of luck to you, General.

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The situation isn’t unlike what agencies face with buying IT such as cloud services.  That’s because companies have mostly unique ways of packing and pricing their firings.  A common approach is require submission of unit pricing and then havecompanies propose against a government defined situation over the contract life using their individual unit prices with the RFP defined assumptions.   This allows companies to stick with their standard ways of doing business and propose against a common defined solicitation baseline.  The government then carefully analyzes each contractors approach against their pricing.  This is tricky because the companies may use completly different approaches that each other.

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