GSA shutting down distribution centers
- By Diane Frank
- Mar 21, 2000
The General Services Administration on Monday announced it will close the
Federal Supply Service's distribution centers and transition the procurement
of products and services to the online e-commerce system, GSA Advantage.
GSA originally decided to close the distribution centers — which offer
commonly ordered office supplies, paper products and packaging materials — last July after a steady drop in sales. GSA buys the products in bulk
and then ships them to federal customers from warehouses and customer supply
centers across the country.
The sales drop comes as more agencies turn to local outlets and the
World Wide Web sites of commercial office supply stores. In October of last
year, after protests from several labor unions, GSA commissioned a study
from the Logistics Management Institute to determine the most cost-efficient
and -effective way to meet customer agency needs.
"The LMI study shows that GSA can generate savings for its customers
and maintain current service levels by reducing the number of distribution
centers, improving their efficiency and partnering further with the private
sector to supply items federal customers buy from GSA today," GSA Administrator
David Barram and FSS Commissioner Frank Pugliese said in a joint statement.
In April 2001, GSA will close the Palmetto, Ga., and Fort Worth, Texas,
centers and the forward supply points in Franconia, Va., Chicago, Denver,
and Auburn, Wash. GSA will keep centers in Burlington, N.J., and Stockton,
Calif., open longer to absorb the extra work.
To transition customers to the electronic shopping offered on GSA Advantage,
FSS created a new organization, the Supply Business Line, led by Woody Landers,
the current FSS assistant regional administrator in Ft. Worth.
"FSS will continue to be the dependable source of services and supplies
both during and after this transition is complete," Barram and Pugliese
said. "In fact, customers will be offered new and better products and services
from FSS based on enhancements underway for GSA Advantage and new commercial
FSS has also created a Business Planning Unit, to be led by John Roehmer,
the current assistant commissioner for distribution management. The Business
Planning Unit will help the service identify, analyze and plan for future