Contract Conditions and Specifications Unduly Restricting Competition

GGD-81-39: Published: Feb 12, 1981. Publicly Released: Feb 12, 1981.

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GAO addressed the restrictive conditions and specifications in U.S. Postal Service solicitations and contracts and their impact on Postal Service relationships with private industry, competition, and cost. The review discussed the Postal Service's formally advertised fixed-price contract for corrugated mail trays and sleeves to cover them in transit.

GAO found that: (1) the solicitation permitted bidding only by firms which could furnish all production requirements to all postal regions located throughout the United States; (2) the contract currently requires the corrugated trays and sleeves to be cut with a specific type of cutter; and (3) the contract requires the tray and sleeve be made from a very strong corrugated product.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should direct the involved Postal departments to develop a solicitation which should at least resolve current restrictions by allowing multiple awards for different geographical areas.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The testing of alternative tray configurations is dragging on and on. If it results in a change, this will be phased in very slowly with minimal savings potential. Thus, any change will be at least 4 years after the report, with insignificant dollar value and with increasingly less obvious connection to the February 1981 recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should direct the involved Postal departments to develop a solicitation which should at least resolve current restrictions by permitting material which provides the best tradeoff between strength, durability, weight, and cost. In addition to the current test program, industry should be asked to propose other new materials configurations which meet Postal needs.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should direct involved Postal departments to develop a solicitation which should at least resolve current restrictions by deleting the requirement for any specific type of cutter.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

 

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