June 04, 2013

Best Value / Technical Trade-Off competition

15.403-1(c)(1)(i) allows for a competitive award to the offeror proposing the solution that is the "Best Value" to the Government. While this is often interpreted as a lowest price award, that's not the requirement. A Best Value "technical trade-off" award can be made when: 

(a) The solution requires a nonfungible technical approach. In other words, the technical requirements of the solution are specialized to the point where a delivery made in the ordinary course of business would not be sufficient to meet prime contract requirements. With services this usually comes up with solicitations for SMEs. For items it can mean anything from specialized technical specifications not met by ordinary COTS products to rush delivery requirements not met by typical respondents;  

(b) All offerors are put on notice that factors other than price will be evaluated and those general evaluation criteria are communicated to all offerors. This should be accomplished in the solicitation. The solicitation does not have to communicate the weight accorded to each evaluation criteria, but it should give the offerors some idea as to the prioritization given to each criteria; and 

(c) Price should be a significant evaluation criteria. Usually "significant" means 20% of the overall score possible in the evaluation. So on a scale of 100, "lowest price" should get at least 20 possible points. 

Best Value/Technical Trade Off allows Operations personnel to determine the awardee based primarily on technical considerations. This counteracts the usual Operational resistance to competitive procurements that "procurement chooses the winner", which unironically, is the way it's supposed to work. Nevertheless ... 

Documentation requirements for Best Value/Technical Trade-Off procurements: (a) Written Bid List; (b) solicitations sent to offerors which include clear communication of evaluation criteria; (c) Bids from all offerors; (d) Price Analysis Template completed and fully executed prior to award; (e) Bid Evaluations completed by Operations (Technical Grades) and Procurement (Price); and (f) Bid Matrix comparing total scores and determining the winner.