Need for Benchmarking the GPO Evident from Interquest Forum Keynote

Acceptability of the printed piece rarely seemed to be the issue. The often unspoken issue was that delay of payment is among the few recourses available to clients who are unhappy with GPO’s customer service. While Boarman mentioned numerous examples of satisfied federal clients in his address, it seems the underlying current included the opposite sentiment as well. This is no game. It must be corrected.

Where can the large and unique GPO go to get a candid, constructive critique on any of its systems, procedures or processes such as customer service? Printers of all sizes in the private sector turn to benchmarking their peers and, specifically, often the recognized leaders at performing nearly identical processes.

Who Could the GPO Benchmark Its Processes Against?

One of the difficulties for all print managers—inplant and private sector alike—has always been to find credible feedback sources, i.e., same or extremely similar process(es) to compare, measure and observe firsthand for the purpose of self evaluation and improvement.

Before proceeding with a potential “who,” it is vital for the GPO staff, management team and operators to acknowledge:

  • we’ve got a problem,
  • others seem to have resolved similar problems, and
  • what can I learn from other practitioner(s)that can be applied in our operation to help improve our situation?

If this basic human buy-in is not confirmed, much time and effort will be wasted when the participants submit their final report saying, “These guys aren’t like us at all and therefore their solutions won’t solve our problems for these many reasons.”

For years, the “I’m unique!” excuse seemed to hold water for the GPO print procurement entity as no one else was buying hundreds of millions of dollars a year in printing throughout the country. That is up until now.

Innerworkings, founded during this past decade, has grown to be purchasing over $600 million annually of printing and graphic services for hundreds, if not thousands, of corporate clients. Among its several distinctive competances is a proprietary software system, trademarked as PPM4, that allows clients to interface via an Internet browser with well-written specifications and ultimately access to thousands of printers.

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