Some Things to Watch Out For When Technology & Innovation Outweigh Price in Procurement

technology outweighs price

In the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress placed serious limitations on the Government’s use of Lowest Price, Technically Acceptable (LPTA) procurements. As a result, we should be seeing the Government issue more RFPs in which technology and innovation outweigh price. In these instances, contractors can seek a higher price but are expected to show substantial technological advantages. Two recent protests cases out of GAO illustrate the principles of technical proposal evaluation when technical factors are more important than price, and demonstrate the potential cost/technical trade-offs under these circumstances.

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Recent Protest of Army Acquisition Has Big Implications for Future Corrective Actions

Army LPTA

Often regarded as one of the simplest acquisition methods, Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) procurements award the contract to the offeror that both meets an agency’s technical requirements and offers the lowest price. Yet when the Army set out to acquire a replacement for an existing Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract through an LPTA procurement, things got complicated. In fact, a whopping 21 companies ended up protesting at GAO. When the army tried to correct the problematic procurement with corrective action, the original awardees took the case to the COFC. But it didn’t end there, and the case eventually made its way to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). The zigzagging case sets a precedent for whether an agency must narrowly tailor corrective action to fit a procurement’s perceived flaw or if the corrective action need only be rationally related to that flaw.  Continue reading “Recent Protest of Army Acquisition Has Big Implications for Future Corrective Actions”

A Federal Appellate Court Ruling Has Big Implications for Contractors with Commercial Technologies Hoping to Compete for Government Contracts

The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) requires that Federal agencies seriously consider whether existing commercial items will meet their acquisition requirements before seeking to develop new technologies. In a recent case, Palantir Technologies protested when the Army failed to consider commercial technologies for its second-generation Distributed Common Grounds System (DCGS-A) intelligence system. Read on to learn why the COFC’s ruling may set a precedent for more protests from commercial vendors.

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Pay Attention to these 7 Changes from the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

Last month, the President signed Congress’ FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, calling for a host of adjustments to the rules of Federal procurement. Each year the NDAA updates programs and policy initiatives, often in response to complaints from either the Executive Branch or industry. Most updates will make their way into the FAR or the DoD FAR supplement. What follows is an overview of the most important changes you’ll want to know about.

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5 New Rules for GAO Protests You Should Know

By Coolcaesar at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15856701

On May 1, 2018 the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which hears and decides the majority of federal bid protests each year, made some important rule changes. Some of these changes can have significant implications for lawyers and the contractors they represent. Read on to learn more about the most important rule changes, and how they might affect you if you find yourself in a GAO protest.  Continue reading “5 New Rules for GAO Protests You Should Know”

Skeptical of a Competitor’s Technical Evaluation? How One Company Succeeded at GAO

A competitor protested when an Energy Department (DoE) contract awardee proposed an unusual plan for processing radioactive liquid waste. Given the apparent riskiness of the winner’s proposition, it’s not surprising that GAO sustained the protest. What is surprising (and remains a mystery) is how the agency assessed the winning proposal’s technical approach as sound. Read on to learn how one protestor succeeded because of an agency’s murky evaluation.

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When An Agency’s Solicitation Excludes You From Competing: How One Company Fared at GAO

A pair of large contracts for administrative services with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are great but two pairs are better. In a recent case, National Government Services, a company holding multiple contracts with CMS, protested when agency rules prevented them from competing for several more. Ultimately, the agency was able to successfully defend the limitations written into their solicitation, and the case provides a template for other agencies that may find themselves in similar circumstances.

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What RAND’s New Study Reveals, and Implications for Contractors

When DoD sought restrictions on bid protests, Congress had them commission a study to prove their case. DoD then hired the RAND Corporation to study bid protests during the 9-year period from 2008-2016. The study indicates a significant increase in the number of bid protests over that time period. That trend alone bolsters the DoD’s case. But a further look at the extensive data from RAND’s study suggests otherwise, and provides critical insights for Defense contractors.

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What if There’s a Disagreement Within an Agency as to Who Should Win a Contract Award?

It’s not unusual to have disagreements within an agency as to who is the best offeror. Sometimes an agency’s Source Selection Evaluation Board (SSEB) is at odds with its Source Selection Authority (SSA). Although the SSA (who is often the Contracting Officer) ultimately decides who wins the contract, there are limits to SSA’s ability to reject an SSEB’s advice.

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When Offering a Low Cost Is Detrimental, and a Different Way to Show Technical Acceptability

It sounds simple. In Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) procurements, the agency determines the best value proposal by identifying those that are technically acceptable and then selecting the one with the lowest price. But there’s a wrinkle when this technique is used for a cost-reimbursement contract. Smartronix’s recent protest at GAO illustrates that proposing the lowest cost doesn’t always win you the contract, even when you’re technically acceptable. Specifically, contractors if the proposed cost is too low, the Government can adjust it upwards. Read on to learn more about this problem and how to avoid it.

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