WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

Blog archive
Nick Wakeman

Artel prevails in SSA bid protest

Artel has cleared the bid protest hurdle and has succeeded in taking away a satellite services contract from Hughes Network Systems.

Hughes was the incumbent provider of nationwide satellite services to the Social Security Administration.

Artel first won the fixed-price contract in March 2014 and Hughes filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office, questioning Artel’s experience. The agency decided to take a corrective action that allowed the bidders to submit revised bids. It would then make a new award.

In May, the companies submitted revised proposals, and Artel again won, and Hughes again filed a protest.

A couple of things are worth noting from the GAO decision.

Artel had a lower score for its past performance – very good compared to exceptional for Hughes. The technical approaches and compatibility with Social Security standards were scored equally for both companies.

On price, Artel came in at $18.5 million, and Hughes at $19.1 million.

Social Security had set up a source selection evaluation board to evaluate the non-price factors in the proposals. The board recommended that the contract go to Hughes.

But the selection authority thought Artel was a better value because its price was lower and because its past performance was still strong enough to give the agency confidence that Artel could meet the requirements of the contract.

In other words, Hughes’ higher past performance score wasn’t enough to overcome Artel’s lower price.

Hughes, of course, protested on these points, saying that Social Security improperly determined best value. But GAO rejected that argument.

But what I really find interesting is what Artel did when Social Security asked for the revised proposals when it took its corrective action.

Hughes only revised its price, but Artel took the opportunity to strengthen its technical proposal, adding more information about the satellite work it had done for the Defense Information Systems Agency, and what its teammate had done for Kroger.

The company grabbed the opportunity to make its proposal stronger and that probably made the difference.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 29, 2015 at 12:24 PM


Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.