In the competitive federal marketplace, businesses are always looking for ways to make their proposals more competitive. With millions of dollars at stake, it is no surprise that some competitors develop clever approaches to give their proposal a competitive edge.
As one competitor recently discovered, however, there is a point where an offer can get too clever, which may result in proposal elimination. Especially when an agency views the clever approach as violating a solicitation staffing requirement.
Ahh, fall. A time for football, hay rides, and returning to campus. Being in a college town, we are always reminded that students are back on campus due to the increased traffic, the homecoming parade, and the increased buzz (no pun intended) around the town. The onset of fall sometimes dredges up unwanted memories about turning in term papers and meeting all the inane requirements insisted upon by the professor.
A recent GAO opinion also brought me back to my college days. Specifically, what happens when the government (kind of like a college professor) sets a requirement for a certain type of file format for a solicitation, but the offeror submits a proposal in a different file format? A recent GAO opinion answers that question in the contractor’s favor–although GAO’s ruling isn’t a blanket permission slip for contractors to ignore file format requirements.