A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights a case that is very important to keep in mind when dedicating time and resources to proposals. It is important to comply with the specifications when delivering proposals, as the companies who protested this decision can now attest to. They lost a contract worth millions of dollars because they didn’t comply with the specified page limitations and the GAO’s ultimate decision was, “we deny the protests.”
So what happened?
IMPRES Technology Solutions, Intellisystems, Patriot Comm of Woodbridge, and Ideal System Solutions protested NASA’s exclusion of their proposals for further consideration for award. These companies included “letters of support” pages in the proposal and assumed that they would not count towards the strict 90 page limit imposed by the request.
The solicitation called for an eight-tab Proposal Volume II with a limitation of 90 pages, and specified that “pages submitted in excess of the limitations specified in this provision will not be evaluated by the Government and will be returned to the offeror in accordance with NFS [NASA FAR Supplement] 1815.204-70(b).” When the 60 pages of “letters of support” were included in the final page count, the remainder of the material was not considered.
Because this pertinent material was not considered, the proposal was deemed unacceptable and these companies were excluded from further evaluation. The companies maintained that the “letters of support” were incorrectly included in the page count, as they were extra documents in support of the main proposal and not directly a part of it.
The GAO found nothing improper about NASA’s decision and noted, “as a general matter, offerors must prepare their proposals within the format limitations set out in an agency’s solicitation, including any applicable page limits.” This is crucial information for all potential government contractors to heed – follow the format no matter what.
Proposals take up too much time and resources to have them be excluded for the small details, and as these companies found out, protests of this nature will fall on deaf ears. The guidelines are all plainly laid out for contractors to see, and they should follow them if they want their proposal to be considered. Paying attention to the details at this level is a matter of utmost importance, as demonstrated by this case with NASA.
For more information about proposal compliance or for help writing, contact TargetGov and we’ll see how we can best help you.