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In response, the agency asserts that it reasonably believed that there were vendors that could fulfill the brand name or equal requirement based on market research.
When placing an order under the FSS an agency must conduct acquisition planning. The FAR also provides that prior to placing an order exceeding the micro-purchase threshold but not exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, an ordering activity must: (1) consider reasonably available information about the supply or service offered by surveying at least three schedule contractors through the GSA Advantage!
on-line shopping service, (2) review the catalogs or pricelists of at least three schedule contractors, or (3) request quotations from at least three schedule contractors. Here, the agency reviewed multiple schedules based on historical information and requests from current vendors in accordance with FAR 8.404(c)(1). The agency also determined that while not all brand name items were available on the vendors FSS contracts, equivalent products may be available to meet the agencys needs for some items. Based on the results of the market research the agency requested quotations from multiple schedule-holders in accordance with FAR 8.405-1(c).
While the protester disagrees with the agencys conclusions, we find that the agency had a reasonable belief that vendors could offer brand name or equal items to meet the agencys needs.
Phoenix primarily contends that the agency failed to comply with FAR subpart 8.4 procedures when issuing the solicitation.
As noted above, the RFQ established that the agency would evaluate whether (1) the proposed pricing was realistic for the requirement; (2) the pricing reflected a clear understanding of the contract requirements; and (3) the pricing included all requested services. Additionally, the RFQ advised vendors that the agency might find a quotation unacceptable if the proposed prices were found to be unbalanced (i.e.
Millenium Corp., Inc., B-412866, B-412866.2, June 14, 2016, 2016 CPD 168 at 7.
For FAR subpart 8.4 acquisitions that require a statement of work, such as this one, FAR 8.405-2(f) specifically requires documentation of the rationale for any tradeoffs made in the selection.
Phoenix asserts that the only schedule on which an agency may purchase herbicides is schedule 73, with the product service code (PSC) of 6840--pest control agents and disinfectants. We find no basis to sustain the protesters allegations. B-414743: Aug 30, 2017)Here, the RFQ provided for award to be made on a best-value basis.
Where an acquisition conducted pursuant to FAR subpart 8.4 provides for award on a best‑value basis, it is the function of the source selection authority to perform a price/technical tradeoff to determine whether a quotations technical superiority is worth its higher price.