Need for Improvements in the Federal Supply Service's Priority Requisitioning System

PSAD-78-47: Published: Jan 25, 1978. Publicly Released: Jan 25, 1978.

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The Federal Supply Service (FSS) is responsible for the procurement and supply of goods and services to Federal agencies. It maintains a priority requisitioning system in which customers assign a priority designator to each requisition indicating the urgency of their need, and requests are handled according to these priorities.

There was extensive misuse of high priority codes. In a sample of civil and military requisitions in three FSS regions, 79 percent of high priority requisitions sampled had been assigned invalid designators. In March 1976, FSS started using a new computer system, the Central Requisition Router, to determine the most economical depot to handle customer requests. During fiscal year 1977, the system referred 95% of high priority requisitions, which could not be filled by primary depots, to secondary depots at an increase in transportation costs of about $1.06 million. High costs are also incurred by emergency purchases of relatively small quantities of items needed to fill priority requisitions. Delays in processing routine requisitions are caused by the large volume of high priority requisitions being handled. FSS believes that the responsibility for correcting the misuse of high priorities belongs with the requisitioning activities. While GAO acknowledged that the agencies are responsible for assigning priorities, FSS should do what it can to see that agencies comply with the intent of the priority system.

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