TLP: If You Time Your Shopping Right, You Can Get Those Appetizer Samples
Here's a project for the federal government that cost-conscious consumers have figured out how to manage without any prodding other than from their own budgets: get a Costco or Sam's Club membership.
The Washington Post:
The Washington Post:
Agencies will be encouraged to use "blanket purchase agreements," getting savings for taxpayers by banding together to buy things in bulk, purchasing officials said at a hearing of the Senate's subcommittee on contracting oversight.Can it really matter if the drones at HUD have the same desks and file cabinets as their counterparts at Interior or Defense? And everybody loves a good deal on Post-It Notes.
Under new acquisition guidelines, government purchasing officials have established 12 new acquisition procedures that will apply to every agency. They could save about $200 million in the next four years, according to officials at the Office of Management and Budget.
The federal government spends more than $500 billion a year buying goods and services. With that kind of purchasing power, said Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.), the subcommittee's ranking Republican, "you expect to get a break and get the best bang for your dollar. The federal government should be receiving the best prices in the marketplace, but unfortunately that's rarely the case," he said.
Daniel Gordon, head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said the handling of interagency contracts has improved, but he agreed with some of the criticism leveled by lawmakers. "We have much more work to do in terms of leveraging the government's buying power," he said.
A study released in April by the Government Accountability Office found little oversight and accountability on about $60 billion worth of interagency contracts that many agencies use.
The auditors raised concerns about duplication, noting that "many of the same vendors provided similar products and services on multiple contracts." They said that the problem led to cost increases for "both the vendor and the government" and resulted in "missed opportunities to leverage the government's buying power."