OMB, GSA to reteach feds' printing behavior

Federal officials are nudging agencies to think broadly and conservatively before pressing the print button on their computers.

The Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative program has awarded blanket purchase agreements to 11 companies with the hope that agencies will use the agreements to save money on printing along with managing the costs of scanning, copying and faxing documents.

Federal officials say the new print management program could possibly save $600 million during the next four years because of its lower costs compared with other federal contracts that provide similar services. Through strategic sourcing, agencies have an option to buy in bulk from the 11 companies at lower rates.

“For too long, the government has purchased as if it were hundreds of medium-sized businesses, rather than the world’s largest purchaser,” said Dan Gordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. “We are pushing agencies to work together and leverage their spending.”

Before agencies warm up their printers, officials also want agencies to understand the effects of printing.

The FSSI Print Management program will drive federal sustainability through a set of guidelines named “Seven Steps to Lowering Print Costs Within 90 Days.” Alongside the guidelines, the General Services Administration also plans to launch the “PrintWise” campaign this fall.

“This initiative not only improves the way agencies buy and manage their print and copy devices, it addresses how to change printing behavior and more efficiently use those devices,” said Martha Johnson, GSA administrator.

In the PrintWise campaign, officials want agencies to print in black and white, not color. They want them to print on both sides of the page and print with the most efficient fonts in the draft mode.

The officials also want to remove personal desktop printers.

Officials say government could save $330 million if agencies would change their printing habits before they press the print button.

GSA awarded the BPAs to 11 contractors including six large firms:

  •  Canon USA
  • Konica Minolta
  • Lexmark
  • Ricoh
  • Sharp
  • Xerox

And five small businesses:

  • ABM Federal
  • ASE Direct
  • Cannon IV
  • CTI
  • PrinTree

This is part of the White House’s Campaign to Cut Waste. Vice President Joe Biden is holding regular meetings with Cabinet officials to discuss waste-cutting measures.

“The print management initiative is one more step in the right direction,” Gordon said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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