SHARP CORP:SUES WA STATE OVER BID PROCESS

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SHARP CORP:SUES WA STATE OVER BID PROCESS

 user 2006-02-20 at 10:12:00 am Views: 50
  • #14025

    Sharp sues state over bid process
    Company wasn’t picked to supply office equipment
    OLYMPIA
    - Electronics giant Sharp Corp. has filed a lawsuit in Thurston County
    Superior Court alleging the state unfairly awarded a bid to supply
    office equipment to state agencies.
    The lawsuit names the state Department of General Administration as a defendant.
    In
    October, Sharp claims it bid on the estimated $20 million to $30
    million annual contract to supply office equipment, including copiers;
    machines that copy, scan and print; and fax machines.
    Later, the
    company alleged that the scoring of its proposal was “administered in
    an arbitrary and capricious manner,” saying a passing score was given
    only to those proposals that went above and beyond what the request for
    proposal stated.
    “If Sharp had known that it was expected to offer
    services beyond what was required, it could have done so. But it did
    not know this,” the company said in its lawsuit.
    The company added: “Sharp was given a failing score even though its proposal was fully responsive to the RFP’s requirements.”
    IKON
    Office Solutions of Malvern, Pa., was selected as the winning bidder,
    while bids submitted by Konica/Minolta, Panasonic, Ricoh and Xerox also
    were rejected, according to the lawsuit.
    Sharp’s Seattle attorney,
    Karl Oles, said the company seeks an injunction to prevent the state
    from signing a contract with IKON.
    IKON is pleased to be chosen, spokeswoman Wendy Pinckney wrote in an e-mail to The Olympian.
    “IKON
    has been a business partner of the state for well over a decade, and we
    look forward to serving as its sole-source provider of document
    management solutions, including multifunction copiers, fax machines and
    related services and supplies,” she said. “We are confident in the
    quality of our proposal and anticipate a timely and successful
    resolution of the pending matter.”
    Sharp Electronics Corp. of New
    Jersey has 22 locations in the state that offer Sharp products,
    including Capital Business Machines of Olympia, according to co-owner
    Dean Hartman.
    IKON has offices in Bellingham, Bellevue, Lacey and Seattle, according to its Web site.
    Hartman
    said Sharp has had part of the state office equipment contract since
    1992, which has meant “millions” for his business. Though the contract
    has yet to be officially awarded, Hartman said he has had to lay off
    one staff member. He said more staff cuts could follow.
    A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s office said the bid that was awarded is an attempt to cut costs.
    “We believe this contract would save the state lots of money,” said Kristin Alexander.
    The
    state projects savings of $6 million in the office equipment contract
    for this biennium, according to state Department of General
    Administration spokesman Steve Valandra.
    Valandra said awarding the
    apparent bid to IKON is part of a larger strategy to cut costs through
    a program the state started last year called “Smart Buying.”
    Instead
    of awarding a bid based on cost alone, Valandra said other factors will
    be taken into consideration to cut into the $4 billion the state spends
    annually on goods and services.
    “Quality of service gets factored in as part of the criteria of evaluating bids,” he said as an example.
    The state has targeted $50 million in savings this biennium as a result of the “Smart Buying” program, Valandra said.
    A hearing on Sharp’s lawsuit is scheduled for Feb. 17 at Thurston County Superior Court.
    If the judge rules against Sharp, the company then has to decide whether to appeal the ruling, Oles said.