Private Sector Printers Perform US Government Printing Office Work

Just the word “taxes” conjures up images of government waste and mismanagement. That’s what the media highlights and that is the public impression. However, there is an exception to this general perception — the public-private partnership between the U. S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and private sector printers. This is the federal government’s most competitive, most successful purchasing program ever, and it has a record of saving taxpayers money.

Historically, GPO has bought about three quarters of all federal printing from private sector printers. Some 10,000 printers from throughout the United States are registered to do work with GPO. They are mostly small businesses with about 25 employees and revenues in the $4.5 million range, and 85% of the GPO jobs that they win are for less than $3,500 a job.

GPO awards work to the private sector through a competitive bidding process that encourages low prices that result in savings for taxpayers. More times than not, deep discount bids are submitted to fill production downtime. These are periods when printers have no work scheduled for their key commercial accounts, and they are common occurrences since roughly 30% of a typical printer’s schedule is held for commercial work that does not materialize. When downtime is filled, revenues contribute to a firm’s overall profitability. Printers that develop the government as a secondary market and strategically and consistently fill downtime, even with deep pricing discounts are able to increase their bottom line annual profitability from a national average of less than 3% to more than 10%.

For GPO, and ultimately the taxpayer, impressive savings occur when the competitive bidding numbers are compared to what it would have cost on a market price basis:

• In Columbus, Ohio, savings of $19,196, or 53% on an order of 225,000 4-color inserts.
• In Oklahoma City, savings of $3,012, or 72% on 500 copies of a 218-page book.
• In Washington, D.C., savings of $11,317, or 42% on an order of 301,500 5-part carbonless forms.
• In Dallas, Texas, savings of $78,491, or 32% on an order of 174,940 sets of 15 tab dividers.
• In Washington, D.C., savings of $18,214, or 30% on 1,100,000 envelopes.
• In Seattle, Washington, savings of $56,303, or 35% on 40,000 copies of a 434-page book.
• In Atlanta, Georgia, savings of $10,684, or 38% on 12,516 copies of a 100-page book.
• In North Charleston, South Carolina, savings on a single contract of $15,042, or 36%.

According to GPO, “when agencies fail or refuse to use our services, as they are required to by law in Title 44 of the U.S. Code, taxpayers take a beating and government information becomes hard to find. We’re here to save money and protect public access. That’s the job we do best, as our record shows.” GPO Deputy Public Printer of the United States Robert T. Mansker made that statement in 1998. 오피

Unfortunately since the 1990’s, there has been a decline in work moving through GPO to the private sector. In 1992, the total dollar value of work awarded by GPO to private sector printers was just over $500 million dollars. During the following six years prior it was in the $380 million to $390 million range. Last year the total was $425 million. This is a considerable decline when you consider even mild inflation. and not a favorable trend to the private sector.

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