Everyday shoppers know that buying in bulk saves both time and money, and the government has a similar responsibility to use its buying power to get the best value for the taxpayer. As part of the Administration’s efforts to increase the use of strategic sourcing and save money, GSA is working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and partner agencies to create 10 new government-wide strategic sourcing solutions for a range of commonly purchased products and services – such as cleaning products, tools, and wireless devices – over the next two years. As a key member of OMB’s new Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council (SSLC), which was announced in a recent memorandum by OMB Deputy Director for Management Jeff Zients, GSA is taking a lead role in developing these solutions to bring common sense improvements to the acquisition process.
At a time when every federal agency is feeling the effects of tightening budgets, GSA’s mission to deliver value to our partners and the American taxpayer is more important than ever. This is why, over the next two years and beyond, GSA will lead the way to this approach. GSA expects this effort to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by delivering better value to agencies; to increase the percentage of dollars going to small business; to increase green buying; and to make it easier for federal agencies to comply with all of the spending rules.
We already know that this approach works. GSA has helped agencies save nearly $300 million through several strategically sourced contracts, including: office supplies, domestic package delivery, telecommunications expense management services, and print management.
The Administration is firmly committed to increasing small business participation in federal contracts and GSA takes this commitment seriously in all its business practices, especially those supporting strategic sourcing initiatives. For the past two years, the agency has exceeded its small business procurement goals, receiving an A+ rating from the Small Business Administration (SBA), signifying that the agency is creating excellent opportunities for small businesses across the socioeconomic spectrum.
For example, prior to the office supplies effort, small businesses were receiving 66 percent of GSA’s office supply business. Through significant outreach to the community and a targeted effort to remove barriers, GSA ensured that small business could compete head-to-head against some of the largest office supply firms in the country. It worked. Now, more than 76 percent of the dollars that went through the office supply strategic sourcing contract went to small businesses – an increase of 10 percent. GSA is committed to maximizing small business opportunities as much as possible, and we will continue this commitment in each of these 10 new strategic sourcing initiatives. Additionally, GSA is fully committed to supporting AbilityOne, a program ensuring opportunity to blind and disabled Americans, and has carefully built this commitment into its strategic sourcing vision.
The agency is aggressively moving forward with its new initiatives. We recently held a government-wide kickoff for two of its teams, janitorial and sanitation supplies, and maintenance, repair, and operations supplies. Cleaning products are a perfect example of how we can create these savings. In fact, the federal government spends more than half a billion dollars a year on cleaning products through nearly 4,000 contracts with 1,200 different vendors. And sometimes agencies pay varying prices for the same product. For example, we’ve seen where one agency pays $32 for a case of paper towels, while another agency paid $61 for the exact same product. By implementing strategic sourcing methods we can greatly reduce this variance, increase efficiency, cut costs, and increase the participation of small businesses and AbilityOne organizations. Meanwhile, the wireless and software teams are well underway. This effort is a collaborative approach, and these teams include agency experts, including acquisition professionals from the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and other key agencies.
In today’s fiscal environment, GSA recognizes that strategic sourcing is a key way to save money and deliver better value. In the months ahead, GSA will move forward quickly to work across government, streamline agency procurement operations and drive needed savings.