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9/22/2011
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GSA Aims To Cut $600 Million In Printing Costs

Agency awards 11 contracts to help feds cut printing costs and energy usage as part of the Obama administration's Campaign to Cut Waste.

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The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) to 11 government contractors in an effort to lower federal agencies' printing costs to the tune of $600 million over the next four years.

The GSA's move under its Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Program is part of the Obama administration's Campaign to Cut Waste, a broad effort to eliminate wasteful spending across the federal government.

Under the FSSI Print Management program, the GSA awarded blanket purchase agreements to the following contractors to encourage the feds to practice more sustainable printing behavior: ABM Federal, ASE Direct, Cannon IV, Canon USA, CTI, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, PrinTree, Ricoh, Sharp and Xerox. Five of the 11 are small businesses.

In addition to saving agencies millions in printing costs, the Print Management program itself is expected to save taxpayers $330 million, according to the GSA.

Federal procurement officials have been working with the GSA, which acquires products and services for federal agencies, to reduce its spending in a number of areas to meet the goals of the Campaign to Cut Waste, said Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Dan Gordon in a statement. Print management is another area in which the feds can see substantial savings through more careful spending, he said.

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Twenty-four federal agencies worked together to design the BPAs exclusively to create a more energy-efficient printing process through the government. The BPAs also offer agencies lower prices than other printing contractors currently offer as well as help them identify savings through the use of more efficient printing, faxing, and copying devices, according to the GSA.

They also will offer agencies access to more cost-effective printing and faxing machines and provide services to assess the products they're already using in their printing processes. The goal is for all printers and fax machines to meet Energy Star standards, accept 100% recycled paper and 50% post-consumer content, and come preset with default settings for energy and cost savings.

The assessments also will look for ways agencies can lower cost and improve their overall environmental performance in this area, according to the GSA.

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BobCarnie
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BobCarnie,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/9/2012 | 7:24:10 PM
re: GSA Aims To Cut $600 Million In Printing Costs

GSA never introduced an alternative to FSSI (Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative). This procurement theory
actually denies 17,000 companies from selling to the federal government., hence leaving only 10 or 15 companies per schedule selling items to Uncle Sam. Via Economics 101 past experiences, a handful of companies vs 10,000s of vendors only creates in time price fixing and oligopolies & monopolies.

I strongly believe GSA should modify existing software to control buyers rather than eliminating competition via the FSSI procurement program. If buyer breaks protocol hence buyer would be disciplined. This software project can be done without additional funding. GSA, DoD & NASA can prioritize this software project via existing employed Software Engineers. It takes the will and priority to make this happen.

From what I can see there are some really big holes in the procurement process.

1) Via this GAO report http://www.gao.gov/products/GA... most purchases were made outside of GSA procurement web site www.gsaadvantage.gov. A solution to this problem would be take away the buyers PHYSICAL credit card and store the credit card information online via www.gsaadvantage.gov Again this can be done with no additional funding. Amazon.com is a perfect example. I know the government is not a company but I am certain GSA has great software engineers to accomplish this task via a top priority and no additional funding software project. For open market purchases buyer currently utilize fbo.gov and/or other existing procurement sites. The same projects can be accomplished via these sites.

2) An independent software company should be allowed to screen scrape information from gsaadvantage.gov to prove selected FSSI Vendors "DO NOT" offer the lowest prices/ best quality.

3) Via Vendor uploads develop back end software to monitor and reject outrageously priced items. Example a $25,000 toilet seat or $5,000 hammer. Statistical databases exist via the free market to determine low / high prices per item hence halting outrageously priced item(s) uploaded to gsaadvantage.gov. GSA software engineers would need to create software to utilize this database.

4) I believe various government buyers have different volume purchase requirements. FSSI is not a one size fits all solution. Example many government buyers have less than a $3,000 requirement. Internet purchasing may be more advantageous for this type of purchase. Example open competition via gsaadvantage.gov

5) GSA claims its employees are overworked and can no longer handle additional and/or existing vendors. All existing employee manual operations should be analyzed via GSAG«÷s Software Engineers to automate current manual human labor. It may be possible to handle unlimited vendors and buyers once this project is completed. Each new additional GSA Human assignment should be analyzed by software engineers for possible automation.

6) I strongly believe an independent software company should be allowed to give alternative 21st Century solutions versus FSSI.

7) There will be very little motivation for these very few FSSI vendors to vigorously compete via price / best quality. All prices are available via gsaadvantage.gov and each vendor will easily identify competitors.

8) Reduce the number of schedule solicitations. Currently GSA claims it costs $3,000 per year, per contract to maintain each contract and numerous GSA employees. There are 40 solicitations (GSA and VA). The solicitations should be consolidated down to a handfulG«Ųwith a goal of a single solicitation (contractors could then choose to consolidate their contracts or maintain separate contracts depending on their business models). The current structure of the schedules often forces companies to submit multiple offers for multiple contracts when a single contract would be more efficient. Consolidating solicitations allows companies to efficiently and effectively consolidate contracts rather than having multiple contracts across schedules and business lines. This approach would provide the opportunity for contractors and GSA to reduce costs associated with seeking, obtaining and managing multiple schedule contracts. It is an opportunity to leverage contractor and GSA resources through a more efficient structure. Consolidating schedules would lead to a more efficient and effective platform for market research by customer agencies. Also all human manual work should be analyzed via GSA software engineers for automation and efficiency.

9) It is this writer's belief FSSI is nothing similar to Corporate volume purchasing.
Example lets take Walmart. They currently have 66,000 vendors and counting each day. FSSI eliminates virtually all competition with possible oligopoly price fixing. Keep in mind all vendor prices are available via gsaadvantage.gov Giving very few companies exclusive selling rights via a long term contract and eliminating competition is not the answer. Why have 1,000s of existing GSA software programs go to waste monitoring a few vendors. GSA needs to enhance existing software to truly and easily maintain a vigorous open competitive market via existing web sites (gsaadvantage.gov and other existing procurement sites). Programmatically controlling the buyer via software is the 21st solution.

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