An Opportunity To Continue Increasing Competition and Saving Money on Large Postal Service Procurements

GGD-82-67: Published: Sep 2, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 2, 1982.

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GAO reported on large and repetitive open-market purchases of essential commodities made by the Postal Service's Procurement and Supply Department. The report focused on unduly restrictive contract conditions which have limited competition and increased procurement costs.

GAO found that solicitations which appeared to be competitive were often unnecessarily restrictive, thereby limiting competition. Some restrictions involving contract conditions, which could not be met by most companies and did not involve the physical product being purchased, were those placed on production and delivery schedules, plant location, and size of company. Others involved contract specifications, such as a certain composition configuration or even the manufacturing process, when an adaptation or selection of existing products would have been satisfactory. GAO concluded that adequate market research could provide a better knowledge of industry capabilities and limitations, enabling the Service to make better use of available commercial products and reduce costs.

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 provide for increased supervisory reviews of procurements to ensure that contract requirements consider commercially available products and recognize the industrial capabilities and limitations concerning the product being purchased.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

  2. 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 provide for continuing comprehensive reviews of procurements that will identify restrictions to competition and work with Federal and private sector experts to develop less restrictive and costly alternatives.

    Agency Affected: United States Postal Service

 

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