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Nick Wakeman

Tough lessons from Harris' lost bid protest

When you read the Government Accountability Office’s decision denying Harris protest of an Army award to Motorola for land mobile radios, one lesson quickly is made clear – be responsive.

GAO dismissed Harris’ arguments in part because the company wasn’t timely in some of its interactions with the agency.

For example, the company challenged the Army’s decision to close discussions, but the company missed the deadline to challenge that decision by nearly two weeks.

This contract for land mobile radios has gone back and forth between Harris and Motorola. Harris won the first time around, but Motorola protested and won.

Motorola had complained that Harris included Motorola radios in its bid, but Harris didn’t have an agreement with Motorola to use the radios. GAO sustained the protest because the RFP stated that a written agreement was needed.

GAO told the Army to reevaluate, and they did, giving the contract to Motorola. Then Harris protested, and now they have lost.

This should put an end to this protest battle.

But read the decision. It really sounds like Harris wasn’t proactive enough.

For example, GAO describes part of Harris argument as speculation about Motorola’s proposal. Harris expressed doubt that Motorola had written agreements with all of its third party providers as required by the RFP.

But Harris offers no evidence that Motorola lacked written agreements. And the thing is, they could have collected that evidence during the first protest filed by Motorola.

“While Harris was not required to intervene in the earlier protest, if Harris had participated, it would have had an opportunity to review the Motorola proposal as part of the record, and could have advanced any and all challenges to the acceptability of the Motorola proposal at that time,” GAO wrote.

The lesson here: Be responsive and be proactive.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Aug 01, 2014 at 10:29 AM


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