Auditing and Financial Management:

Pricing of Commercially Procured Printing

Published: Apr 30, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1980.

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Legislation requires that all Government printing, binding, and blank-book work, except for the U.S. Supreme Court, must be done at the Government Printing Office (GPO), unless otherwise stated by the Joint Committee on Printing. The commercial procurement of printing is allowed if it cannot be accomplished by GPO. The Federal printing program implemented by the Joint Committee is designed to increase the amount of commercially procured printing. GPO uses two types of contracts, one-time and term. To evaluate proposals, GPO includes line items in invitations. On the basis of the bids received, GPO ranks that bidders from low to high based on the average of all line items under the contract. This method of securing the aggregate low bidder may not be the most favorable for any one line item. An individual order should be awarded to the contractor who will deliver the product of the particular purchase order at the lowest cost. The process of selecting the lowest cost for an order is called abstracting. GAO developed and demonstrated to the Public Printer a simple computer program capable of abstracting bids in minutes. GPO accepted the abstracting concept and has installed a computer abstracting system for the term contracts. Several agencies have identified a potential for savings, through various abstracting concepts, for their direct deal contracts. The agencies which have explored this potential have generally made use of computer technology to assist in the process. Based on prior work and current efforts, the abstracting method offers opportunities for savings. The issue is not whether to do abstracting, but who should provide the abstracting service, what tools should be used, and whether it should be provided centrally or on a decentralized basis. It appears that GPO should be the focal point for all abstracting since it has experience and it is working to reduce the cost of abstracting.

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