Management Improvements Essential for Key Automated Systems at the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service

T-IMTEC-90-13: Published: Sep 18, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 18, 1990.

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GAO discussed the escalating costs and schedule delays for the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service's (ASCS) Grain Inventory Management Systems (GIMS) and Processed Commodity Inventory Management System (PCIMS). GAO noted that: (1) poor planning, insufficient requirements analyses, and faulty contract management kept ASCS from timely and developing the systems, staying within cost estimates, and meeting important user needs; (2) some legislative factors outside ASCS control also contributed to the difficulty in developing the two systems, but they were not the principal causes in the systems' cost growth and schedule delays; (3) the installed GIMS did not meet some important inventory management needs that were deleted in 1985 to conserve contract funds; (4) ASCS incurred about $5 million in direct costs for in-house programmer staff and obligated about $1 million for another contractor to continue developing and modifying GIMS; (5) in May 1990, ASCS planned to request the General Services Administration's approval of about $258 million in additional procurement authority, but ASCS did not formally submit the request; (6) most ASCS county offices lacked staff with highly technical computer skills; and (7) about 12 percent of county office minicomputer disk capacity maintained unnecessary files that could be deleted or offloaded to other storage devices.

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