Government Operations:

Government Printing Costs and Printing Management at Five Selected Departments

T-GGD-89-34: Published: Jun 28, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 1989.

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GAO discussed five agencies' annual printing costs and printing management. GAO found that: (1) the five agencies managed about one-third of the $1.14-billion volume of printing procured through the Government Printing Office (GPO); (2) the federal printing cost reporting form focused on agency printing plant costs, but did not capture many printing overhead costs; (3) total federal printing costs are higher than reported, because some costs are not required for budgetary information reporting; (4) agency printing cost accounting procedures and the types of printing included under central management oversight varied widely; (5) the Departments of the Treasury and Transportation procured 90 percent of their printing through GPO, while the Departments of Agriculture, the Navy, and the Air Force procured about two-thirds to three-fourths; (6) all the agencies had printing policies and procedures and some form of central printing management oversight, and collected cost information on their printing activities; (7) all five agencies had criteria for deciding whether to do printing in-house or procure it through GPO, while three agencies did some printing in-house to keep utilization levels high in their plants; (8) although all of the agencies had cut back their in-house printing since a 1983 OMB study, most believed that the study did not focus correctly on their printing needs; and (9) the five agencies were integrating electronic publishing into their operations. GAO believes that Congress may wish to consider requiring better cost accounting for agency printing costs and a better definition of printing.

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