GSA Procurement:

Limited Opportunities To Supply More Common-Use Items to Civil Agencies

GGD-86-121BR: Published: Aug 26, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO: (1) studied the purchasing practices of civil agencies to determine whether they are buying items on the open market that they could obtain from the General Services Administration (GSA); and (2) examined GSA actions to respond to the President's Private Sector Study on Cost Control (PPSSCC) recommendation that civil agencies could save an estimated $242 million annually by making greater use of GSA centralized procurement of common-use items.

Civil agencies reported procurements of about $37.2 billion in 1984, of which GAO estimated that 15 percent, or about $5.5 billion, was a potential market for GSA. GAO found that: (1) most purchases were not for common-use items that GSA should have purchased; (2) GSA could have provided few of the open-market purchases in the over-$10,000 market; (3) GSA could have provided approximately 10 percent of the open-market purchases in the under-$10,000 market; and (4) GSA had not completed PPSSCC-recommended studies of agency purchasing practices to determine which items GSA should procure and which items the agencies should procure. GAO concluded that the PPSSCC estimate of savings that would result from civil agencies making greater use of GSA when purchasing common-use items was overstated.

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