Government Misunderstood Technical Proposal

An evaluation and source selection decision were unreasonable because they were based on erroneous conclusions regarding the technical features of the protester’s proposal. The protest arose from a best value request for proposals for a real time location system. After evaluating the final proposal revisions submitted by the three competitive range offerors, the government found two features of the awardee’s proposed solution— “single active tag technology” and “infrastructure and tag agnostic” open system architecture—merited the cost premium associated with its $200 million proposal. The evaluators had assigned the awardee’s proposal significant strengths for both of these features, but they did not identify these as strengths in the protester’s proposal. The protester argued its $157 million proposal offered the same features and the selection decision contained fundamental errors.

Misevaluation

The Comptroller General sustained the protest, finding the government misevaluated the protester’s proposal. With respect to the single active tag technology feature, the government maintained the protester did not offer a complete solution, but the government misunderstood the protester’s proposal. A review of the record showed both the protester and the awardee included a single active tag technology solution in their proposals. Similarly, the record supported the protester’s assertion that it also offered an open architecture platform that was infrastructure and tag agnostic. Thus, the government unreasonably assigned a significant strength only to the awardee for this feature. Further, the government may have assigned the protester’s proposal a weakness in a third area without identifying a similar weakness in the awardee’s proposal.

Inaccurate Selection Decision

The Comptroller General also concluded the original selection decision relied on a factually inaccurate characterization of the relative number of strengths and weaknesses in the two proposals. The decision provided that the awardee had a superior number of strengths and significantly fewer weaknesses as compared to the protester. However, the evaluation record showed the protester’s proposal had more strengths than the awardee’s proposal—the protester had 7 significant strengths and 36 strengths, while the awardee has 5 significant strengths and 28 strengths. The record also showed the protester and the awardee had a comparable number of weaknesses—the protester received nine weaknesses and five significant weaknesses, while the awardee was assigned seven weaknesses and five significant weaknesses. Moreover, the selection decision did not discuss the qualitative differences between the strengths in the two proposals. The Comptroller General recommended the government reevaluate proposals, engage in discussions if necessary or advisable, and make a new source selection. ( IBM Corp., U.S. Federal, 28 CGEN ¶114,038)