Numbers Add Up to Bidding for GPO Work Being Worth the Effort

CHAMBERSBURG, PA—Feb. 14, 2012—The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) awarded more than 16,000 jobs (also called jackets) in the $1,000 to $10,000 per job range in 2011, totaling almost $30 million to private sector printers. Close to 2,000 jobs in the $10,001 to $100,000 per job range—totaling more than $50 million—were awarded. The majority of printers that win these jobs are small- to mid-size businesses, many with 20 employees or fewer.

There also is tremendous opportunity for printers capable of handling GPO’s million-dollar-plus jobs, which often are multiyear programs. Examining GPO data back to 2006, on jobs won at the $1+ million level, there has been an average of only four bidders per job. These jobs averaged $3 million.

Although the GPO has more than 10,000 printers that have been qualified for its print supplier network, fewer than a couple thousand win any work whatsoever during the course of the year. This past year, more than 1,770 print suppliers obtained at least one GPO job. However, the majority of the $305 million in work went to several hundred printers.

Competitive bidding data regarding one-time GPO jobs over the past six years is quite revealing. On average, jobs received one to four bidders when bidding time was three to 24 hours; three to six bidders when bidding time was 48 hours; and five to 15 bidders when 72 hours or more was allowed in the bidding process. Bidding for very large dollar volume jobs garnered four to 15 bidders.

Program bidding is even less competitive. While these term contract solicitations are frequently on the street for three to four weeks, bidders usually number two to six participants. This small number of bidders is due to a combination of a lack of printers who want to commit their equipment for a year or more and a very real inability to understand the GPO’s award procedures for program bidding.

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