We make a major IT acquisition at the end of every fiscal year. The equipment is shipped out around the world; both CONUS and OCONUS. Each year the quotes are evaluated on a LPTA basis. The awards go out to multiple vendors based on LPTA. We had one vendor who quoted to all line items, but was not the lowest price on 12 CLINS; the cost difference on the items quoted and the lowest priced was between $1.00 and $50.00. We made four awards versus one award. Can you do a Best Value on a supply buy or must you always use LPTA?
The decision to use the tradeoff process or LPTA is not based upon whether or not one is buying a supply or service. The tradeoff process is appropriate when it is in the best interest of the Government to consider award to other than the lowest priced offeror or other than the highest technically rated offeror (FAR 15.101-1). LPTA, as the name implies, is appropriate to use when the Government can establish a level of technical acceptability for the item. After establishing the level of technical acceptability, it is then in the Government’s best interest to select the lowest price offer that meets the Government’s needs (FAR 15.101-2).
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Therefore, it is conceivable that one could use either process for the procurement of supplies depending on how the Government defines best value. For example, it is conceivable that one may wish to tradeoff longer mean time between failures, lower cost of maintenance, energy efficiency, or a number of other characteristics in lieu of merely selecting the lowest price or most highly technically rated offer. Both methodologies, tradeoff and LPTA, are valid for supplies. The issue really becomes what is in the best interest of the Government.