GPO Can Improve Traffic Management Practices

LCD-80-37: Published: Feb 28, 1980. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1980.

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A majority of the Government Printing Office's (GPO) printing and binding services are performed by commercial firms. Transportation costs for the outside procurements are often not shown separately, but indications are that they are sizable. GAO reviewed the traffic management practices in GPO.

GAO found that GPO could have realized large savings in transportation costs by taking advantage of special Government transportation rates. Also, GPO sometimes relied on incorrect or outdated rate tenders in routing its traffic. One of the primary reasons that GPO had not been obtaining the lowest transportation rates was that it was not aware of the transportation costs being paid by its contractors. It used free-on-board (FOB) destination delivery terms, when a better procurement method would have been to require that bids be submitted on both FOB destination and FOB origin (GPO would arrange the transportation) bases. Almost all of the Government bills of lading issued by GPO were for small shipments. Through experience, Government agencies have found that it was less costly to use commercial forms for small shipments. Another problem with the Government bills of lading concerned those in the hands of contractors. GPO handed out 18,000 blank accountable forms to contractors in fiscal year 1978. Several thousand of these were unaccounted for as of December 1979. GAO felt that GPO should give greater consideration to transportation factors when making procurement decisions.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Public Printer should: (1) issue regulations requiring that bidders on procurement contracts submit their bids on both FOB destination and FOB origin bases; (2) make the transportation cost analyses needed to identify the lowest overall transportation costs and take the steps required to obtain these lowest costs; (3) take full advantage of section 10721 rates; (4) make sure up-to-date rate tenders are used; (5) require the use of commercial bills of lading on small shipments; and (6) adopt measures that will improve accountability controls over blank Government bills of lading in the hands of contractors.

    Agency Affected:


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