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GSA schedules program today mirrors that of 1979

A new historical artifact may prove that the government's history has made a full circle in 31 years, or government's history has not moved in that time.

In a speech Nov. 2, Steve Kempf, commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, said the small piece of GSA history had come across his desk recently. And 31 years later, it still rings true. In fact, it mirrors today’s procurement world. The one big, big difference is that sales numbers were a slightly smaller than today’s $46 billion sales figure.

Introduction to 1979 Federal Supply Service Strategic Plan

Over the years, the Federal Supply Service of GSA has been a dynamic governmental organization providing consolidated procurement, storage and distribution of supplies to federal agencies around the world.

This vital effort has and continues to save American taxpayers millions of dollars each year. The volume of FSS business has expanded at a rapid rate and is currently $3.5 billion annually.

Unfortunately, resources and procedures did not keep pace, and this perpetuated an operating philosophy, which was more concerned about getting the job done than how it was done. The overall operating philosophy was directed toward sales, volume and giving the customers what they wanted and often this was done without regard to cost effectiveness and good, sound business principles.

Similarly, satisfying external pressures became a high priority. There was also a lack of progressive training and upgrading of supply and business procedures, and there as a strong trend toward bureaucratic institutionalization. Thus, the supply system became over- and under-stocked, institutionalized and overlaid with inefficiencies.

Kempf had just one thing to say after reading it.

“I don’t know if things have changed or gotten better,” he said.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Nov 02, 2010 at 9:24 PM

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