NAICS code appeals can be powerful competitive weapons–either shrinking or expanding the competitive playing field if they are successful. Sometimes, simply filing a NAICS code appeal can convince the procuring agency that the wrong NAICS code was assigned, leading to a successful outcome before the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals even has the opportunity to rule on the merits.
That is what happened in NAICS Appeal of Sea Box, Inc., SBA No. NAICS-5385 (2012). That NAICS code appeal case involved an Army solicitation for 500 storage containers to be distributed over a period of 45 days. FedBizOpps listed the solicitation’s NAICS code as 481112 (Scheduled Freight Air Transportation), with a corresponding 1,500-employee size standard.
Sea Box, Inc., filed a NAICS code appeal with SBA OHA, arguing that the correct NAICS code was 332439 (Other Metal Container Manufacturing), with a corresponding size standard of 500 employees.
Apparently, Sea Box’s NAICS code appeal got the Army’s attention. The Army notified SBA OHA that it agreed that the designated NAICS code was inaccurate, and stated that it would re-solicit the procurement under a different NAICS code. Sea Box “won” its NAICS code appeal without even waiting for a SBA OHA decision (SBA OHA dismissed the appeal as moot, because Sea Box had achieved its goal).
From the decision, it is not clear whether Sea Box made any efforts to convince the Army to change the NAICS code before filing its NAICS code appeal. Perhaps it attempted to do so, but did not have any luck until it filed the NAICS code appeal itself. In any event, the Sea Box decision is a good reminder that NAICS code appeals can achieve their aims in different ways.