4) Choose to bid opportunities where you know you can meet the schedule
Only bid on jobs where you know the schedule can be met. The GPO makes this process rather simple by providing the prospective bidder with a spec that includes a date the material can be picked up, the number of days a proof can be held by the government, and firm delivery dates and locations. To eliminate guesswork, the bidder can work backwards by first looking at the ground shipment days, and then figure the minimum number of production days. From there, it is just a matter of marrying that job to your known schedule to see if you have downtime. If in doubt about your ability to make the delivery, do not bid.
5) Use Government Print Management to track results and gauge pricing competition
No other market exists where data on the historical pricing by competitors is available. Yet, in the GPO market, some printers make the mistake of not investing the time and resources available to access and digest this valuable information in order to gain a competitive advantage. The most extensive database and archive of GPO jobs is maintained by Government Print Management. Its data includes information on the amount of work obtained by competitors, the exact amount and size of orders placed under term contracts, the amount of and the type of work you produce and from where it is being bought, and historical pricing.
6) Retain good records for use in disputes and invoicing
Keeping good GPO records is required, and indeed wise, to make sure you are able to get the most from your business relationship with the GPO. These items will also be important to making sure you obtain the total payment you expect:
• copies of all correspondence regarding change orders
• copies of all proofs with author’s alterations or change instructions
• shipping receipts, including quantity and jacket or print order number
Good record keeping will assure you not only receive the correct payment, but assure that you receive it 21 days after the delivery date—a very good payment term.
Successful relationships involve a good understanding of the market and the client. This is no different when working with the GPO than it is when working with commercial customers. With a steady flow of government work and the support of a full-service GPO bid services firm, you will develop the GPO as a solid and profitable secondary market.
Before GPO work, a printer can average 2.5 percent profitability on 70 percent production utilization. Add GPO work through the services of a full-service GPO bid services firm to manage the relationship and your bottom line can grow to about 14 percent.
Deborah Snider is senior vice president of Government Print Management, a division of e-LYNXX Corporation. Mrs. Snider is a graduate of Central Penn Business College and has headed Government Print Management and its predecessor since 1984. Government Print Management (www.myprintresource.com/10111504) represents the majority of successful printers that work with GPO. The firm specializes in helping printers to smooth their way to GPO related profitability and is exclusively endorsed by Printing Industries of America. Contact Snider at 888-876-5432 or Deborah.Snider@GovernmentPrintManagement.com.