Agencies commonly ask offerors to designate a point of contact for communications about the proposal. But what happens if the person the offeror identifies is unavailable when the agency reaches out?
A recent GAO bid protest decision is a cautionary tale and suggests some best practices for offerors.
The GAO’s decision in Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc., B-418946 (Oct. 23, 2020) involved a Navy RFQ seeking two clinical chemistry/immunoassay laboratory analyzer systems and one laboratory automation system, to provide laboratory testing of patient specimens at the Naval hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.
In December 2019, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc. submitted a quotation. In its quotation, Ortho-Clinical identified its Contract Manager as the company’s sole point of contact for any communications regarding the quotation.
The Navy received initial quotations from five companies, including Ortho-Clinical. After reviewing initial quotations, the Navy found that none of them, including Ortho-Clinical’s, were technically acceptable. The Navy elected to open discussions with all five companies to allow them to address the shortcomings in their initial quotations.