GSA Procurement:

Quality Assurance for Common-Use Items Should Be Improved

GGD-87-65: Published: Jun 29, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Supply Service's (FSS) Quality Approved Manufacturer Agreement Program (QAMA).

GAO found that: (1) none of the federal facilities that it visited reported all identified quality defects to the GSA complaint system; (2) although the complaint reporting instructions appear in federal regulations, the GSA supply catalog, and other publications, supply personnel were unaware of the reporting procedures or found them confusing; (3) the reporting instructions were incomplete, inconsistent, and difficult to understand; (4) administrative contracting officers (ACO) did not determine whether agencies received acceptable replacements for defective items; (5) warehouse surveillance to identify defective items was not always timely; (6) contractors' quality control systems did not always meet minimum federal requirements; and (7) preaward surveys did not always include contractors' past quality performance histories.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA plans to follow its internal procedures.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should direct quality assurance groups to accept only those quality control systems which meet the provisions of Federal Standard 368A.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA changed its procedures to require quality investigations to be completed within 2 workdays. GSA assigned full-time quality assurance specialists to the warehouses.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should: (1) direct quality assurance groups to perform warehouse surveillance as soon as possible, when defective items are identified; and (2) provide better control over defective items being held on administrative hold in FSS warehouses. One alternative would be to physically separate defective items from items without defects.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA issued an instructional memo to its regions.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should reinforce the requirement for ACO to monitor contractors' replacement efforts until the agencies receive a satisfactory replacement.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has written one procedure for reporting quality complaints and incorporated it into its catalogues and market letters to federal agencies.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should: (1) standardize the complaint reporting procedures contained in the Federal Property Management Regulations, GSA supply catalog, assistance guides, newsletters, and single award schedules; (2) provide reporting instructions that let agencies know where to submit complaints; and (3) disseminate complaint reporting instructions to federal agencies and instruct the agencies to provide these instructions to their supply personnel.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA issued additional instructions requiring the review of performance history files prior to preparing preaward surveys.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should develop procedures to ensure that: (1) all complaints received by contract management divisions are recorded in performance histories; and (2) details on past performance are included in preaward survey reports.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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