More GPO Work to Private Sector Printers or Not?

William Gindlesperger is a nationally recognized entrepreneur, inventor, author and consultant. He founded ABC Advisors and its successor, e-LYNXX Corp., in 1975. Under his leadership, e-LYNXX has grown into the leading print management and procurement licensing firm in North America.

On its Facebook page, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) recently posted: “In the 1960s, the amount of work GPO procured increased as the Joint Committee on Printing redirected printing work handled by federal agencies themselves to GPO for procurement to the private sector printing industry.”

That is actually in compliance with U.S. Code, Title 44—Public Printing and Documents, which states that all federal printing, with a few exceptions, is to be channeled through GPO. If, in practice, this were happening, GPO work awarded to private sector printers would be a boon to an industry that very much needs a shot in the arm.

At one time, more than three quarters of GPO’s print work was awarded to the private sector for an annual revenue flow to the industry that easily exceeded half a billion dollars. With the advent of digital and other technology and the online culture in which we now live, it is understandable that the printing of some documents is falling by the wayside.

Disturbingly, however, the flow of GPO work to the private sector has been dropping steadily over the years. In 2010, the total value of GPO work awarded to private sector printers was $358 million. This year, it appears to be on a course to be less than $300 million. This is troubling because the livelihoods of at least 50,000 men and women are at stake.

In a Comment posted to an article I wrote (“One Bite at the Apple– An Opportunity for the New Public Printer”), Public Printer William Boarman stated, “GPO’s procurement revenue last year was about $500 million, or about 40 percent of these direct obligations, leaving a balance of about $800 million that did not come through GPO. Our sense is that it most likely represents work produced in-house by Federal agencies.

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