GSA shutting down distribution centers

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

partnerships."

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

business opportunities.

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